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The Ultimate Frugal Living Guide: 18 Tips for Extreme Penny-Pinching

The Ultimate Frugal Living Guide: 18 Tips for Extreme Penny-Pinching

When it comes to spending less and saving more, there are many ways to get financially fit, but some are much easier to accomplish than others. We’ve put together the ultimate frugal guide for people who are excited about saving money and really want to do whatever it takes to whip their finances into shape. Check it out below.

1. Dry your clothes on a line.

I know, I know. There’s this thing called a dryer that someone invented. Lucky us! However, you can save around $100 a year or more if you hang your clothes up to dry on a line. If you don’t have a yard, you can hang them up in your apartment too.

2. Wash dishes by hand using one sink-full of water.

Some people say washing dishes by hand costs just as much as running the dish washer, but if you use just a minimal amount of water, you’d be surprised at how much you save.

3. Make your own laundry detergent.

Did you know that you can actually make your own laundry detergent? It’s really awesome because you can see exactly what goes into it, which creates a healthier environment in your home.

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4. Take public transportation.

Gas and parking passes get so expensive, especially if you use your vehicle every single day. Do some research to find out how much your local bus or subway costs. You might be surprised at how much you save. Also, ask around your work to see who might want to share a ride with you.

5. Make every gift you give.

With the popularity of websites like Pinterest, there is no shortage of ideas for handmade gifts. All you have to do is search for crafts or gift ideas, and you’ll have hundreds of awesome tutorials and ideas at your disposal.

6. Travel in-state.

Everyone always travels to different states or countries, but I bet you’d be surprised at how much fun you can have within a 200-mile radius from where you live. That way, you can save on hotel costs and maybe learn something new about your community along the way.

7. Give up your smart phone.

I know—these days, smart phones might seem like a necessity, but I lived without one for almost two years and I was amazed at how relaxed and rejuvenated I felt after giving it up. You can also save hundreds of dollars a month on your cell phone bill. If you really, really want to save money and penny-pinch, this is the way to do it.

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8. Become a coupon expert.

You’ve probably seen the TV shows about extreme couponers, and that can be you too! All it takes it a little bit of time and practice to learn about couponing. You can save hundreds of dollars on groceries this way, so it’s definitely worth the time you put into learning about it!

9. Get a roommate.

Maybe you didn’t have a good experience with roommates in the past, but you can’t deny that having one cuts down on costs dramatically. For the most benefit, ask your roommate to split all bills with you, including electricity and water, so that they will be respectful about their usage.

10. Grow your own food.

Think of how much money you’ll save if you grow your own tomatoes or herbs. Plus, you’ll have awesome, fresh-tasting veggies to put in your dinner, which is great for both your wallet and your waistline.

11. Patch up your own clothes.

You don’t have to buy a sewing machine to do this: all you need is a few pieces of scrap fabric and a needle and thread. It will only cost you a few dollars. Plus, you can watch tutorials like this one on YouTube that explain the process in just a few minutes.

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12. Use the Internet from your local library.

If you are really strapped for cash, you can use your local library for Internet access. They are usually open every day, and the librarians are so helpful if you have any questions.

13. Give up cable.

Today, you can catch all of your favorite shows on your computer, so there is no reason to pay $100 a month for cable. Plus, watching TV takes up valuable time that you could be using to hustle and make some money.

14. Use cards or board games as your main entertainment.

You don’t have to spend $20 per person to go see a movie. Playing board games with a handful of friends actually makes for a really fun night—just try it and see. I think you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive and how fun a game night in can be.

15. Cook more meals at home.

Eating out is definitely a drain on your budget. If you start to cook in more, you can save hundreds of dollars a month.

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16. Shop at thrift stores.

You can buy all your clothes and furniture from a thrift store. I always say that it’s amazing what people will give away! You can definitely find designer duds if you look hard enough. Also, be sure to go on 50% off days if your local store has them!

17. Clean with vinegar.

Vinegar can be used to clean just about anything. You don’t have to spend any more money on expensive products. All you need is an old rag and a vinegar/water mix to make your house sparkle.

18. Unplug everything when you leave the house.

Our very last tip is to unplug all electronic devices when you leave the house. Although it might take up some time and only save you a few dollars, this is a must for those of you who want to live the ultimate frugal living.

Of course, these aren’t the only ways that you can save money and live better, so please share your tips with us in the comment section below!

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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