Most people want to obtain some level of financial freedom in their lifetime. When you spend less, you have more to show for your own hard work. Once that money is out of your hands, your financial power dwindles. Obtaining the cheapest car insurance that meets your needs, as well as giving up cable, eating out, and opting out of brand names, will cut costs and give you more choices.
Cut Down on Fixed Expenses
Everyone has monthly expenses that are a part of life – rent or mortgage, taxes, car payments and insurance, cell phone bills, etc. There are certain bills that we are stuck with and can’t do anything about. But there are some we can shop around for cheap rates, as well as some we can eliminate entirely. Not only can you negotiate and research the lowest priced options for fixed expenses, you can also take a look at your monthly bills and come clean with yourself about what you don’t need. Gym membership? Netflix subscription? If you can live without them – and find cheaper alternatives, you can put that extra cash toward paying off a real debt.
Curb the Impulse Buying
We live in a world that teases us with items we think we need. Repeated commercials and ads on your computer, phone, and television wear away at your resolve until yes – you are fully confident that you need to buy those bright red cowboy boots. $109 later you’ve got boots sitting in the back of your closet and good money evaporated from your savings.
Start today by saying no to impulse buying. Avoid the mall and those “cute” downtown shops. Unsubscribe from marketing emails and delete social media apps from your phone so you aren’t bombarded with temptation.
Check Prices Everywhere
If you’re in the market for a big ticket item, the frugal lifestyle dictates that you spend some time searching for the best price. That “Buy it now” button is one of convenience and, let’s face it, a bit of laziness. By checking prices at other stores for televisions, laptops or other furniture or electronic devices you could be looking at saving yourself 10-30%. The same is true for items such as insurance.
Pay Down Your Debts
Financial freedom doesn’t necessarily come from making a lot of money. It definitely helps and you’re one step closer but it mostly depends on what you do with the money you earn. If you are spending and borrowing the same as someone who makes twice your annual income, you’re not in a better financial position at all.
Take a look at what debts can be paid off to earn that financial freedom. Car loans and mortgages tend to be high-interest and fiscally exhaustive. Work on those first (put that gym membership money toward an extra car payment) so your money isn’t all going to interest.
When you do pay something off (like your car) avoid the temptation to take on another debt (like a brand new car). Instead, the frugal life encourages finding a reasonably priced used car with good gas mileage. Your bank account will be happy you made the sacrifice!
Buy Second Hand
Living a frugal lifestyle means looking at your life and deciding where you can cut back and make alternate choices. Buying clothes from thrift shops and consignment stores will allow you the freedom to get what you want for less. There are online apps that offer items for free in your community as well as items from estate and yard sales that you can acquire for mere pennies on the dollar.
Purchasing reusable items will also get you many uses out of it instead of having to buy brand new over and over again. Think about purchasing a water bottle (canister) and rechargeable batteries. Save the best food containers from takeout instead of using aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Cook at Home
Eating at restaurants is more costly than it has ever been before. Spending upwards of $100 for just two people is not unheard of – and what do you have to show for it? Sure, you’ve got the memory of the evening but cooking at home is less expensive, healthier, and when you cook together you’re creating intimate memories you won’t get from eating out.
If you are someone who eats out a lot, cut back by 25-50% to lower your risk of heart disease, clogged arteries, and obesity. Ultimately, eating in and cooking fresh will save you money on future medical bills.
Regardless of how much money you make per year, living frugally doesn’t mean living a bland life. When you choose to take proactive steps toward reusing, buying gently used items for less, shopping around for better prices and staying healthy, the frugal lifestyle rewards you with a better life and more financial freedom.