A person who is struggling went online and said he had issues sticking to a budget and hence could not be frugal. He added that he was lucky to have money stashed away and a solid emergency fund, but he did not have the amount he would have wanted because of his lavish spending habits.
He tried being super frugal but would always give up along the way. He wanted tips from other Reddit users on how he could make frugality a lifestyle.
Other users chipped into this conversation with tips and hacks that worked for them. Here are some of the best tips for someone struggling with frugality.
Wait Before Buying Things
A user urges the OP to wait 24 hours before buying anything, “Start by making yourself wait to buy the things you don’t need. Wait 24 or 48 hours and think about it. Most times, you won’t be as excited about the purchase as you thought you’d be anyway.”
Develop Control Over Your Choices
“Being frugal is all about choices, and you can develop more control over your own choices. It’s important to build in a small “want” budget so that you still enjoy rewards as you develop your decision-making. Then it remains free will CHOICES rather than money-saving PENALTIES. Making the odd “bad” decision doesn’t invalidate all your other, “better” decisions. Making frugality a challenge, rather than a punishment, can really help alter your mindset,” illustrates another user.
Differentiate Between Needs, Wants, and Likes
When you do, you will know where to spend and where not to, “I also think it’s important to differentiate between needs, wants, and likes. You can like something without even wanting or needing it.”
Learn When Not To Be Frugal
Sometimes, it is good to spend money; as one user points out, “Learn when to not be frugal; money is earned for spending at some point. Buying a friend a meal is living; traveling with your parents is living. Cut corners where you can.”
Take Note of Your Spending
When you do so, you will know where your money goes, “Handwrite every single penny you spend out; it will really make you take note of what you waste your money on.”
Budget Your Fun
“This is where most people struggle. Budget your restaurant/drinks outings, budget coffee, and budget hanging out with friends. Whatever the costs are, decide what is appropriate so you can focus on how much you’re willing to spend per month on those trips,” explains another user
Use Actionable Steps
One Reddit user had 4 actionable tips for anyone struggling with frugality, “Frugality is a mindset and is, therefore, a skill. Skills require practice. So, where to start is similar to skill:
- Start small
- Start slow
- Start with something you enjoy and know well
- Allow yourself to fail….”
Use Cash for Purchases
You will feel more closely attached to cash than a card, “Buy things with cash whenever possible, not with the card. When you pay with a credit/debit card, you’re one step removed from the process, and you don’t actually see the money leaving your account, so it’s easy to spend more than you planned. But paying with cash means the money is actually leaving your hand, which makes your purchases weigh on you more heavily, which makes it harder (at least for me) to spend so extravagantly.”
Have a No-spend Month
Try not to spend anything for a month and see the difference, “Just stop spending money for a month! Don’t purchase anything for a while! Then, when you do feel like you need/want something, ask yourself if this is a need or a want. If it crosses the line into a “need,” then spend 24-48 hrs doing some research on the best item to buy that will last a while. To me, being frugal is buying an item that I’ll be keeping for a long while (2 or more years).”
Frugality should not be a punishment, “Reward yourself for hitting goals in your budget. Saved money eating in rather than getting takeout? Treat yourself to a yummy ingredient for your own kitchen that you can make a meal with. Saved money on your monthly entertainment? Treat yourself to a movie night or dance party. Remember, saving, not spending, is spoiling yourself.”
“Start small. Examine what you’re buying, and see if there’s a cheaper alternative. For example, If you buy Starbucks coffee every morning, switching to McDonald’s coffee would be the first step,” explains another user
Identify Your Spending Triggers
When you learn what they are, find ways to cut them out, “Figure out what thinking patterns are causing you to spend. It could be that your body/mind is addicted to that dopamine hit you get when you buy something new. Could you replace that habit with something free? Bubble baths, exercise, dancing, etc. Replacing the habit will be much easier than eliminating a bad one.”
12 Frugal Hacks That Make All The Difference
A Reddit user who started the frugal journey with his wife a couple of years ago wanted to know the frugal hacks people had that made all the difference.
According to the OP, shopping grocery sales every week and planning their meals helped cut their bill from $250 to $100 per week. Other users shared their stories about frugal hacks they had that made some difference in their lives. Here are some of the best ones.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.