Any number of life circumstances can lead a person to falling into a tight financial spot. Maybe you got hit with a series of hefty and unpredictable expenses, or are just beginning to handle your own money for the first time.
While some financial troubles may extend beyond the benefits of a few quick tips and tricks, if you’re in a place where you’re looking to be more mindful with your spending, check out these changes you can make to be a frugal spender.
- Create (And Stick To) a Budget
Creating a budget is just part of Frugal Spending 101. Consider how much you currently pay each month for your apartment or rented home, how much money you’ll need to set aside for groceries, gas for any vehicles, as well as other non-negotiable monthly bills. Create room in your budget for an emergency fund, and for any larger purchases you know you will be making in the near future.
Creating a budget can be tough – and sticking to it even tougher. But tough times call for even tougher measures, and organizing a structured budget can be essential to helping you map out how exactly you need to be handling your limited financial resources.
- Be a Money-Mindful Shopper
Whether you are a coupon pro already or are entirely new to the money-saving game, the truth is that you will need to be smarter with your spending to make it through this period. The siren call of any preferred high-end brands – at the grocery store or staring wistfully at a Pottery Barn – can wait.
Once you’ve managed to map out a budget, you’ll need to make sure you’re actually paying attention to prices. For instance, maybe your last apartment had bed bugs and you’re now in the market for a new mattress. But particularly when it comes to regular spending, pay attention to the prices of your groceries or other usual household item purchases. Opt for brand name products. Be on the lookout in newspapers or online for coupons to save on those favorite brands you can’t give up.
- Be On The Lookout For Online Deals
While you should definitely pay attention to any relevant shipping and handling costs, there are a number of miscellaneous deals you can find online that will beat in-store prices.
Additionally, online deals roll in and out all the time, so if you are looking to buy an affordable yet stylish watch or save on some new kitchen products, be sure to check your favorite online stores regularly for the latests deals and promotions.
- Be Frugal With Your Entertainment Costs
We all know how cool is to have the freedom to stream the best shows online. ‘DVD player and chill’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it. But even buying the latest coveted video-game, or going out to eat with friends on a regular basis can really start to add up, and as disappointing as it may be in the short run to pass up on a weekend bar crawl, it’s even more depressing to find yourself in debt.
Get creative with what you can do to have fun without the spending. Challenge your friends to some free online games, or dust off your DVD player and set up your own movie night at home with your favorite flicks.
- Use Cash for Daily Expenses
Admit it, it’s easier to whip out a credit or debit card in line for groceries than fumble in your wallet for cash. But in some cases, maybe that’s the point. While you may not be able to pay cash for larger living expenses and other hefty bills, keeping your cards stowed away for daily purchases forces you to think more about what you are spending.
- Work on Paying off Any Debts
While this tip doesn’t exactly scream ‘money-saving’, this is an important one. Maybe you weren’t able to find the best student loans when you were in school and are facing the consequences now.
Whatever the case, high interest rates from credit card debt, for instance, will eat up your budget over time. In the long-term setting aside money to work on paying your debts is important, and it will eventually free up your budget for less dire and dreary spending.
- Adopt a 24-Hour Rule for Non-Essential Spending
Before making any non-essential purchases, take twenty-four hours to consider your decision. An online shopping spree at your favorite online clothing outlet or Etsy store may seem appealing at the time, but forcing yourself to really consider how that purchase will benefit you and/or your current financial situation may be even more appealing.
Besides, you can always add an item to your online shopping cart or wish list and return to it later – and hopefully with a clearer mind.