Frugal living is a way of life. Though this may be something that people trying to cut down on their extravagance may want to do, some people have no choice other than to adopt a frugal lifestyle. If you are one of the latter set, here is some info you can certainly put to good use.
Living on the cheap is easy to do if you follow a few simple rules.
Master the “Ten Second Rule”
Whenever you pick up an item, take ten seconds to think about whether or not you really need it. This method can help prevent impulse purchases.
Prepare Meals at Home
Dining out is costly, and can be unhealthy. Invest in a quality cookbook and make sure your pantry is stocked with staples.
Try using generic instead of store brands for products you use the most. Many times you will find the only difference is in the advertising.
Shop for Holiday Items After the Holiday
Most holiday merchandise is drastically reduced in price during this time to make room for new inventory.
Remove Stored Credit Card Numbers Online
Having the convenience of click and buy increases the amount of purchases you make.
Wash Your Hands
Aside from proper hygiene, clean hands reduces rates of illness which, in turn, reduces medical bills.
Cut Entertainment Costs
Swapping items such as books and DVDs on the internet is a great way to get new-to-you items at little to no cost. Try sites like http://www.paperbackswap.com.
Turn Off the Lights
Spending one minute turning off the lights before a two hour trip can result in savings of up to $50.
Make Meal in Bulk
Freezing extra quantities of food is an easy way to make a quick meal in the future. Buying recipe items in bulk also saves money.
Give Up Expensive Habits
Cigarettes and alcohol are not only unhealthy, they are also costly habits to maintain.
Couponing in good, but in moderation
Couponing is a great way of saving money, but it can lead people to frantic saving - well almost. It may look like saving to the extreme "couponer" but if it prompts you to buy truckloads of stuff just so that you can avail the discounts it's more of a money waster. Extreme couponing mania can develop into an addiction over a period of time. It's better to think and save.
Water is healthy for you, and drinking a glass before meals makes you feel fuller which results in eating less.
Clean Out Your Closet
Take items that no longer fit, or that you no longer wear and sell them at a consignment shop.
Call Your Credit Card Companies
Most companies are willing to negotiate lower interest rates for those with good credit scores.
Invite Friends Over
Entertaining at home is always less costly than entertaining at a public venue.
Make a Grocery List
Make a list and stick to it. You're less likely to toss unnecessary items in your cart if you have a plan.
Follow the “30 Day Rule”
Consider all big-ticket item purchases for thirty days before making the purchase. Odds are, you'll find an alternative, or realize you don't truly need it.
Make Gifts at Home
Homemade gifts are not only more sentimental, they are also cheaper. A gift basket can be assembled with items found at dollar stores.
Utilize Customer Rewards Programs
Even if you rarely shop at the store, if the program is free to join you will save money every time you shop there.
Use Online Money-Management Software
Many of these services are free, and it's easier to manage your budget if you're aware of what you spend and where you spend it.
Sign up for Ebates
http://www.ebates.com is a website that offers a percentage back of what you spend on all online purchases at selected merchants.
Invest in a Home Gym
You don't need a $1,000 piece of fitness equipment to tone up at home. Visit a discount store like WalMart and purchase a fitness ball, a set of hand-weights and a fitness DVD. Your total cost will be less than one month of a gym membership.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
You will greatly reduce your utility bills in this way.
The best tip of all is to not give up. If you make a mistake and fall off the budget wagon, don't beat yourself up. Analyze your mistake and how you can improve in the future.