In this new economy, most everyone is starting to rethink their lifestyle, budget, and overall financial goals. For some people, it’s been a complete reset. New industry, new position, and new home. With the entire family affected by how money is spent, I started thinking about ways we and many others have changed how we spend.
It is becoming cool to be frugal and cost-conscious. This is why I believe “Frugality is the New Black”. Part out of necessity and part of financial wisdom, we have simply looked for things we can reduce or outright eliminate. It is in that spirit, I am introducing my first guest post by Greg Finch. While I could have researched and crafted a list, why not enlist an expert. It also help that Greg is also a close personal friend so I trust his advice.
Guest Post by Greg Finch
Frugal: This word has always meant “Cheap” to many people. In the recent months this word has become very hot again! But the word frugal continues get a bad rap like the word diet. Both carry a negative connotation.
I much prefer viewing both frugal and diet as more of a change in a way of life. Choice to improve your life is the name of the game. Being frugal does not mean cheating yourself out of life’s pleasures. It simply means being SMART about what and how you spend your money!
Here is my definition of the word frugal: The ability to make a smart financial decision in how you spend your hard earned money taking advantage of every possible opportunity available to you! Here are 10 quick tips on being frugal without drastically changing your life:
10 Tips To Become More Frugal
- Use a “24” hour rule- before you make a purchase. Most purchases are based on emotion and not logic. Give yourself a chance to really think about a purchase. In many cases you will determine if the purchase is necessary or just frivolous spending. This process will save you Thousands in a year!
- Grocery Shopping- Coupons are very hot right now and available everywhere. Start clipping your way to big savings. Find coupons in your local Wednesday and Sunday newspaper. Rather click than cut visit these websites for coupons: http://wwww.couponmom.com, http://www.couponcabin.com, http://www.coupons.com, http://www.Alice.com
- Homeowners and Auto insurance – Have you shopped your insurance company lately? You can save hundreds a year by shopping your coverage. Push for reduced coverage based on lower housing value. Increase your deductible for both auto and home. Ask for package discounts when combining the two. Your savings will be hundreds per year!
- Television, phone and internet – Are all or part of these services necessary? Many homes today have dropped the landline phone opting to use their cellular phone. Do you REALLY watch all of your premium TV channels…request a reduced package based on your needs. Bundle your services for greater savings.
- Dry Cleaning – Stretch out your trips to the dry cleaners: If you want to reduce the number of items that you send out for dry cleaning, consider your clothing purchases more thoroughly prior to purchase. Technology has kept up with consumer demand, and there are many clothing items on the market that can be machine washed but that look very presentable and dressy. Some sweaters that have labels requiring dry cleaning can sometimes be washed by hand.
- Don’t buy, Rent – Almost everything out there can now be rented. Too often we make a purchase spending hundreds on items that are used once or twice. Renting can save you thousands in a year (and lots of closet space!). Tools http://www.hotfrog.com, designer clothing http://www.weartodaygonetomorrow.com or http://www.Avelle.com
- Do it your self – There are so many projects around your house or auto that you can maintain or repair yourself. Before calling the repair man see if you can make the repair, use the internet for repair advice or visit your local home improvement center.
- Want luxury goods at up to 75% savings – Shop online…there are countless websites that will save you hundreds and even thousands per year depending on your purchase. Check out these sites: http://www.Gilt.com, http://www.OneKingsLane.com, http://www.EditorsCloset.com, http://www.HauteLook.com
- Entertain yourself for free -Why not try any of these activities? Read a book or two, but pick them up at the library. Or if you’re in the mood for a movie, borrow from your friends’ collections. And best of all, play with your kids and spend time with the family by painting or drawing with them, visiting the playground, taking nature trips and building sandcastles on the beach (granted you need a beach nearby to be able to do that).
- Use credit card rewards programs – If you can pay off your monthly bill in full every month. Put all your expenses on a Discover credit card for the cash back rewards as an example. This way, you rack up the 1% cash back and buy gift cards for holiday presents. Plus there are some added bonuses a cardholder receives: rewards gift cards may actually be valued at a higher price than what one ends up spending for them in “cash back dollars” (e.g. get a $25 gift card for $20 in cash back dollars). Many credit cards offer rewards programs but you MUST do your homework. Don’t get caught trying to save money by charging frivolous things or get trapped in a high annual fee with high interest rates.
Being frugal is about recognizing the things that TRULY matter in life! Appreciate what you have, enjoy all of life’s precious moments and you will realize that there is so much more out there. It’s not about the physical property you may own…its more about what you do in your life. Think about your fondest moments. Are they from the physical things you have bought or the amazing memories you have shared with family and friends? Think about it!
About Greg Finch
My name is Greg Finch. I am married with two children, and I have been in your shoes. I changed my life around with the discovery of how to break free from the stranglehold of credit cards and mortgage payments. Bottom line, I eliminated my financial debt worries, and for the first time, I understood what true freedom really means
What are your thoughts on this topic?