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These Money Saving Tips Will Make You Live Frugally

Remember money saving tips before you shop.

Remember money saving tips before you shop. (Photo courtesy of Roberto Verzo in Flickr)

If you are living on a tight budget, you have to live frugally.  To live frugally, you have to develop patterns of thinking that makes you a money saver.  You have to change the way you feel about spending and saving.  You have to condition your mind to be creative and resourceful about getting the most benefit from the least use of your financial resources.

Below are general money-saving tips to help you develop a frugal living mindset without sacrificing your quality of life.  Take heed of them often.  Your reward will be having less stress about money, and having savings to prepare you for a bright future:

  1. Before buying, see if you can use it up, wear it out, clean it up, make do, or do without.
  2. Make a list of everything you own. Not only will this make you see everything that you already have, but this will also make you aware of what you bought but are barely using or not using at all. Doing this will help you avoid the same purchasing mistake in the future.
  3. Before considering buying an item, ask yourself: Can you borrow? Can you rent? Do you really need it?
  4. Before buying, ask yourself these questions first: Can you find it cheaper elsewhere? Do you have something similar at home that you can still use?   Will you actually enjoy it?  Is your actual enjoyment of the item worth the price? What are the flaws of the item? Is the price of this item worth the extra benefit I will get from it? Create your own “Should I buy this?” test.
  5. Make it tougher to spend. Plan to pay in cash and bring only that amount. Shoppers who pay in cash spend 10-35% less. Also, using cash makes your spending “visible” to you, as you see money actually leaves your wallet. Using credit card feels like you are not spending “real money” although you know that you are.
  6. Know your spending triggers and avoid them.   These are situations where you are psychologically predisposed to overspend without second thought.   This includes dating, entertaining in your home, and going on vacation.
  7. Before buying, ask yourself if buying the sale item makes sense. Even if it is on sale, you do not save if you buy it and don’t really need it.
  8. Write down each thing you want to buy and don’t look at it again until 30 days later. Or enforce a one day wait for every $100 you plan on spending on some non-essential items. This will enable you to avoid impulse buys and realize that the merchandise you think you must have now are really unnecessary.
  9. Buy stuff that will help you earn more than the cost of the stuff itself. For example, elegant business clothes are worth buying if they will help you make a good impression on an interview to land a job.
  10. If something you bought before is worn out, it probably has held greater value than the newer items in your home.   Use this as an indicator of a purchase that is worth the price.
  11. Do not buy out of emergency, especially if it’s a big purchase, like a car or a refrigerator. Give yourself time to research and think it over.


  13. When shopping for standard items (clothes, sports equipment, older games, etc.), start by shopping used.
  14. Log every purchase that is discretionary (those that you do not really need). Seeing the list of your non-essential purchases will keep them in check.
  15. When shopping, look, don’t touch.  Touching makes it difficult to resist buying.
  16. When holiday shopping, set a budget you can’t bust. Plan a specified amount to buy gifts, and once the budget is reached, you’re done.
  17. Buy things out of season for big savings, such as Christmas decorations after Christmas, jackets in summer, beach towels in winter, etc.
  18. Do holiday shopping right after the holidays. Most people use this technique for Christmas, but it works for every holiday. Wait until about two days after a holiday, and then go out shopping for items you need that are themed for that day. For example, get a Mother’s Day card for next year the day after Mother’s Day or a Halloween costume for next year’s Halloween.
  19. Be aware that even though you are not spending too much money on big purchases, you may be spending too much money on many little purchases.
  20. Be aware of stores and vendors tricks to get you to buy – like offering discounts from a regular price that is inflated, putting a product beside a similar product that is priced way higher so you think the lower priced product is a great deal, putting an end date to a sale to make you buy on impulse, and offering you a low-priced product but upselling you more products so you can take full the benefit of the first product you bought.
  21. If you find yourself engaging in shopping as “therapy” when you had a bad day or is depressed, consider switching to a physical exercise routine to get the same rush, get healthy, and save money.
  22. Avoid television.   Studies show that the more television you watch, the more money you spend. Television also creates a longing for expensive items that only the very rich can afford, setting the middle class up for disappointment and debt.
  23. Swap services with friends and neighbors who can do things you can’t.
  24. Visit the thrift shops frequently (Goodwill, hospital auxiliary, etc.). Find many good and useful items for just a couple of dollars. Watch out for days that they hold sales event. Again, buy only what you need.
  25. Learn about the many bargains at “no frills” discount stores.
  26. Limit yourself to a weekly cash allowance for your treats – pizza, ice cream, McDonald’s or whatever it is that you crave.
  27. Check a store’s online price before you go in to the store when making purchases. Often, the online price is cheaper than the store price. See if the store can match their online price. Check websites that help make you save money.
  28. If you have a problem with making impulse purchases online, make it harder to do by unsubscribing to merchants’ newsletters and not saving your credit card or Paypal information in the merchants’ sites.
  29. Buy electronics and technical gadgets only when you need it. It generally gets cheaper the longer you delay, or the capabilities get more advanced.
  30. Don’t be an early adaptor of new technology. Value to price proposition improves over time because new products have more advanced features.
  31. Look for refurbished tech products that come with warranties.
  32. A smaller home is easier to take care of and heat. Having a small home can save you money on maintenance and other utility cost. It also provides a more relaxing lifestyle
  33. Rent out unused space in your home. Do you have an extra bedroom that’s not being used? Rent it out.
  34. If something’s broken, give a fair shot at repairing it yourself before replacing it or calling a repairman. Get a handyman’s book or advice from the internet and give it a shot yourself.
  35. Do some basic home maintenance on a regular schedule. Instead of just waiting until something breaks, develop a monthly maintenance schedule where you go around your home and perform a bit of maintenance where it’s needed. Although this takes you just an hour or two a month, it will keep things from breaking down and help you see problems before they become disasters.
  36. Check all monthly bills closely, including your bank balance. Big companies can and do make mistakes.
  37. Keep all your receipts for more expensive things (gadgets, furniture, etc.) in an organized folder or filing cabinet. You will be happy to find them when something breaks or you require a warranty repair.
  38. When you are buying with a rebate offer, make sure you remember to mail the rebate requirements. Online merchants do this promotion because they are betting on you to forget applying for the rebate.
  39. Watch out for gimmicks like leases, unnecessary add-ons, and extended warranties. Think about the consequences, do the numbers, and look for alternatives.
  40. De-clutter.   Reevaluate the stuff in the rooms in your house. Go into a room and go through every single item in it. Do you really need that item? Keep fewer things.       A house that’s more orderly actually helps you remember where the things you use on a regular basis are.
  41. Don’t throw away anything that is still useful. Save everything for a future garage sale.
  42. If you live in a house with a lawn, cut your own lawn. It is great exercise and saves you about 20 bucks a week in general.
  43. Remember that you can save a lot of money in many cases just by asking. More businesses than you may think are interested in keeping customers and will offer you discounts to make sure you stay with them.
  44. Develop a hobby. You will save money you spend on leisure activities like eating out and going to the movies.
  45. Replace expensive hobbies with cheap ones, or better yet, figure out a way to make extra money doing what you love to do.
  46. Start a garden. Gardening is an inexpensive hobby if you have a yard. Just rent a tiller, till up a patch, plant some plants, keep it weeded, and you’ll have a very inexpensive hobby that produces a huge amount of vegetables for you to eat.
  47. Don’t be a collector, unless you make money from your collection. Being a collector will tempt you to spend money to complete your collection.
  48. Stop auto-spending through magazine subscriptions, monthly charges, and other automatic debits. Start auto-saving instead. Sign up for direct deposit and autosave programs with your bank.
  49. Increase the amount of your automatic saving as your income goes up.
  50. Save your loose change. Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund
  51. Time is money. Evaluate whether what you are doing now is worth your time.  Maybe it is cheaper to hire somebody else to do it, and use your time in another activity that will bring you more money.
  52. Don’t let your savings go idle. If you have saved more than enough for 3 to 6 months worth of emergency savings, consider moving some of the excess to investments that yield a higher return.
  53. Find out about all of the benefits of your job. Most people aren’t even aware of all of the benefits available to them. Spend some time with an HR person to discuss the benefits available to you – you might be surprised at what you might find.
  54. Learn to budget your income. Among other benefits, it gives you control over your money. To take the pain out of budgeting, use a regular Excel spreadsheet or free websites like   If you can afford software, use Quicken or Microsoft Money.
  55. Develop the mindset of spending less than what you make. Or better yet, get used to having a lifestyle that is lower than that of your income level.
  56. Spend time doing free, non-material things that make you happy like a day in the park, camping with friends, go on a hike. This will make you realize that you don’t always have to spend or buy things to make you happy.
  57. Get into the habit of turning the money you save into making more money. Set your mind towards investing, but make sure you pay off your high interest loans first, among other things to consider before investing.
  58. Keep in mind the quote by Warren Buffet: “If you by what you don’t need, soon you will have sell what you need.”

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