At 18 years, we have the whole world ahead of us. We are just getting started, and we tend to feel immortal. We have time to experiment. Time to make mistakes, learn from them, and bounce back. This is also the best time to start being frugal.
When we adopt a frugal lifestyle at 18, we create a habit that will allow us to become financially free in years to come. Here are some of the best frugality tips people have for an 18-year-old living on their own for the first time.
1. Learn To Cook
Learning to cook at home will help you save a lot. Eating out daily can cost a fortune in the long run. Download recipes online or watch YouTube videos to learn how to cook decent meals that won’t make you think you are missing out.
2. Buy Stuff From Yard Sales
If possible, avoid purchasing things you need new. Go to thrift stores or yard sales and look for classic stuff that will save you money. You can ask your family members to gift you stuff they no longer use.
3. Get Quality Cookware
If you take the time to buy quality cookware, you will save yourself a lifetime of stress. Some utensils and cookware are made to outlive us. Go to your city’s restaurant and buy affordable plates, glasses, bowls, and other durable cooking utensils.
4. Keep Track of Your Spending
When you know where every penny you have goes, you can make informed choices about future purchases. This goes a long way in helping you cultivate a frugal behavior. Use an app like Mint, Quicken, or a spreadsheet to keep track of these expenses. Categorize everything – rent, food, entertainment, and other expenses you have.
5. Do Not Buy Cheap Just for the Sake
Cheap can be expensive in the long run. Buy something because you find value in it and not because it is cheap. This applies mostly to products you use daily. Buying something cheaply that will break down and replacing it again soon may be more expensive in the long run.
6. Buy Affordable Furniture
You can get great quality furniture at a great price on Facebook Marketplace. Many people looking to upgrade or replace their furniture sell off their old ones at great discounts. These may need a little love (paint, refinishing, etc) to turn them into masterpieces you will love. You can also check out Buy Nothing Facebook groups near you, where people post stuff they want to get rid of for free.
7. Do Not Keep Up With the Joneses
Do not try to impress or keep up with your peers. Do not start your life in debt by accumulating stuff you do not need just to look cool among your friends. You better save up and pay cash for such items.
8. Have an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is important as a contingency plan for when things go bad. You never know when that will happen, and it is good to stay prepared. It is easier to solve problems with cash than with credit when such emergencies come.
9. Do Not Use Delivery Services
If you can help it, avoid delivery services because they are a money pit. It soon turns into an addiction you may not afford. Many young people are in massive debt as they try to justify spending hundreds or thousands of dollars per month on delivery services they cannot afford.
Take out 20% of whatever you make and invest in something that gives you cash flow. You may choose to invest in long-term stocks that have a compounding effect. If you start early, you will have a considerable amount tucked away within several years.
11. Live Life
Go for things that give you joy and truly matter to you. Concerts? New shoes? Fancy cheese? Travel? Whatever brings value to your life is worth investing in. Do not ignore those things. Have fun and enjoy life, but do not overindulge.
12. Control Your Expenses in Winter
Watch your thermostat in winter, as a few degrees can make a difference in your heating or cooking bills. Plan, layer up, and find ways to keep the bill from skyrocketing in winter.
13. Learn To Say No
Do not be quick to agree to what everyone asks of you. People could waste your time, money, or energy. Do not be pressured to go partying and spend too much on booze. Do not loan people money. Do not let people stay with you, and do not let people manipulate you.
14. Learn To Make Do With Less
Ask yourself if you need to buy that thing before making a purchase. Always work with what you have and avoid getting into unnecessary debt. Be creative.
15. Make More Money
At 18, you are young and probably not making much because you do not have experience. Focus on investing in yourself so that you can scale up and start making good money in your 30s or 40s when you have the in-demand skills and experience.
16. Do DIY
Get a basic tool kit to help you fix things around the house. This will save you money you would have spent on a professional. Do basic repairs and simple installations yourself. YouTube is a gold mine for tutorials on how to do a bunch of things around the house.
17. Utilize the Library
Many public libraries partner with the Libby app, which gives you free audio and e-books! Some also work with Hoopla (TV shows, movies, and more e-books) or Kanopy (foreign films, documentaries, and indies) for free. Use a browser extension called Rakuten that gives you cash back for every online purchase.
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