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5 Ways to Be More Frugal

5 Ways to Be More Frugal

ARE YOU FRUGAL?

Being frugal and saving money isn’t rocket science; it just takes some planning and budgeting. And maybe even some creativity! If you’re not frugal but would like to be, keep reading!

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1. Stop wasting your money.

We all have a budget (hopefully!) but are you spending money on things that you never use? Do you have a gym membership for $80 per month that you never use? Cancel it today. Or do you spend $500 per month on eating out? Start cooking your meals at home today. Do you spend $400 per month on groceries then eat dinner out at restaurants and spend another $100? Stop wasting your money.

2. Focus on your priorities and financial goals.

Are you spending money on things that aren’t even important to you? Consider your priorities and spend money on things that matter instead. Do you have a family and small kids? Then your spending should reflect this. Or are you trying to finish college debt free? Make that a financial goal.

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3. Make friends with people who are frugal.

If you wish you were more frugal but don’t know what to do, find some new friends. You don’t have to get rid of your current friends either! You probably have at least one frugal friend who can give you advice on becoming more frugal. Share frugal ideas. Share Groupon deals. Buy groceries in bulk to save money and share the extra items. Have a house party and tell your friends to bring their own appetizers. You might be surprised at how many of your friends are looking for ways to be more frugal too! Your friends might even inspire you to be more frugal.

4.Think about money in terms of long term costs.

Would you still buy something if you had to pay for its yearly costs all at once? Instead of thinking about what you can afford each month and living paycheck to paycheck, consider the long term costs. Do you spend $110 per month on your new iPhone 5S? Okay, maybe that’s in your budget, but would you still spend the money if you had to pay the $1329 upfront? Do you even realize that you’re spending $1320 every year just to have an iPhone? Do you spend $250 per month for your cable TV so you can have 400 different cable TV channels? Would you still pay that much for cable if you had to pay $3000 all at once? I know I would not even consider paying $3000 just to watch TV at home.

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5. Don’t wait until the last minute–plan ahead.

If you wait until the last minute, it will almost always costs you more money. Planning ahead is one of the easiest way to be more frugal. Plan ahead and make your lunch at home for the next day. Plan ahead and go to the grocery store with coupons. And don’t wait until the last minute for birthdays or holidays either. Waiting to buy a Halloween costume until October 30th will certainly cost more money than buying a costume online today. Waiting to go shopping for Christmas gifts on December 24th will certainly cost more money (and more stress!) than if you go shopping on Black Friday.

Being frugal does not mean that you can never spend money; it just means that you spend your money wisely instead of blindly.

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Try these 5 ways to be more frugal and you might be surprised by how much money you save each month!

What could you do with another $100 or $500 each month?

Do you WISH you were more frugal?

What are you doing to become more FRUGAL?

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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