15 Ways To Be Frugal Without Being Miserable

With the economic recession right now, there is no better way to keep going than to be frugal and save money. It is one of the best ways to ensure you achieve your long-term goals, clear your debts, and live a comfortable retirement.

Are you looking for ways to be frugal and save money? These 15 tips are great ways to get you started. Read on.

1. Create a Budget

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The first step in living a frugal life is creating a budget and sticking to it. It will help guide your spending and saving habits. Create a budget that will help you monitor how your money flows in and out. 

Frugality is all about living below your means. This is difficult to do without visualizing how your money flows.  With a budget, you can have a clearer picture of what you can afford and cannot and have a clear sense of direction toward your financial goals. 

2. Cut Unnecessary Expenses

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If you can do without it, then it should go. 

Start by listing fixed expenses such as rent, mortgage, installment loans, or car payments. 

Then write a list of variable expenses such as groceries, electricity, water, and clothes. Find ways to keep the variable expenses at their lowest. 

Next, find expenses you can altogether avoid and let go of them. These include cellphone insurance coverage expenses, food delivery fees, avoidable bank fees, and credit card interests.

These expenses often seem small but quickly add to huge chunks of money. 

3. Cook at Home

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The cost per plate will always be expensive for eating out. Besides, you will have to spend more tipping the servers or the delivery guys. 

To get back the money and the convenience they offer, restaurants charge as high as 300% markup on the items they serve. This means a meal costing you $15 at a restaurant can be as low as $5 if you select the ingredients and prepare them at home. 

At a glance, it may appear like just a few dollars. But if you do it frequently or have a family, it quickly adds up. 

4. Plan Your Shopping

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For starters, have days when you go to the grocery store. Popping in anytime often means coming out with something you did not need. 

Before your grocery shopping day, do some stock-taking.  Write a list of items that have run out and those that are running low. Those that have run out will be your top priority, followed by those you still have in low amounts. 

If you are doing weekly grocery shopping, ensure a set budget and stick to it. 

5. Shop Smart

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Sales are great ways to save money if the item is on your shopping list. If you find an item on sale and it is not on your list, buying it would not be a smart move. However, if it is a really great offer, consider buying it and letting go of another item on your list. You will then have to create your recipes around the time bought. 

Ensure to tick off items you have already picked to help stick to your grocery list. 

Secondly, consider frozen and canned options. They are often equally nutritious but cheaper. 

If you have the space, you could buy bulk for items you use often. Don’t buy bulk items you do not use; it would be a waste of money if they go bad. 

Also, use your coupons and take advantage of grocery store loyalty points. They are other small things that count in the long run. 

6. Use Public Transportation or Carpool

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With the high fuel prices now, there is no better way of saving on commuting than using public transport or carpooling. 

Studies show that using public transport can help you save up to 4 times the money you use in your car. 

Besides fuel costs, you will save money on car maintenance and parking fees. 

7. Save on Utilities

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Some house utilities you can save on include electricity, water, cable TV, telephone, and the internet. 

The most expensive options for the internet and phone packages don’t always mean reliability. Look at the other cheaper options; you could easily find a better bargain for your money. 

Cutting your cable TV will be a great money-saving tip if you spend most of your screen time on a streaming service. 

Find ways to lower your electricity bill, such as taking short hot showers, switching off lights, using a programmable thermostat, and lowering your thermostat settings.

8. Negotiate Bills and Expenses

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You can negotiate medical, wireless telephone, cable or satellite, rent, and internet bills. 

Services’ sales representatives are often in a position to give you better bargains to keep you from shifting to their competitors. 

Put your negotiation skills together and call your service provider; you could get a better package at lower costs. 

9. Buy Used Items

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Go for used electronics, clothes, toys, books, cars, and tools. 

Buying pre-owned items will save you loads of money. Just be sure to inspect them well to ensure they are of good quality before purchasing. 

Go for gently used items for the best bargain. 

Facebook Marketplace, your local town’s Facebook groups and subreddits, eBay, and Decluttr, would be good places to look for items you need. 

10. DIY Projects

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DIY repairs are a great opportunity to save money. 

You can do simple plumbing or HVAC repairs in your house just by using information from the internet. For instance, changing your air conditioner or furnace’s filters is something you can do by following easy instructions. 

Other things you can do on your own include mowing your lawn, painting your walls, landscaping your yard, growing your vegetables, crocheting or hand-making toys for your children, and basic car maintenance such as oil changes. 

11. Cancel Unused Memberships

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If your bank constantly gets hit by one subscription after the other, you may want to cancel those you don’t use. 

While shopping memberships may save you money in the long run, you certainly don’t need them all year round. Also, you don’t need to have memberships from different grocery stores. Consider selecting one that works best for you and canceling the others. 

Other frequently unused memberships you should consider canceling include gym membership, streaming services, cloud storage, music platforms, games, and other paid apps. 

12. Plan Affordable Entertainment

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Living frugally is often mistaken for living a boring life. You, however, can still find affordable entertainment options and live your life to the fullest. 

For instance, instead of paying museums, find their free days and visit on these days. You could also go to free museums, zoos, and aquariums. 

Also, consider renting movies from your local library, hiking, camping, organizing cookouts with friends, volunteering, visiting farmer’s markets, and cycling around the city. These are great ways to have fun freely or on a budget.

13. Save Windfalls and Bonuses

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It could be from an inheritance, winning a lottery, significant raises, or getting great bonuses from work. 

This is money that you did not have on your budget, so it should not go to running your household’s day-to-day expenses. 

Do not upgrade your living immediately. Keep the money away as you find a better way to use it. 

You could pay your debts, boost your emergency fund, start investing, and fund your retirement. 

 Whatever direction you take, resist the urge to splurge the newfound money. 

14. Set Financial Goals

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The objective behind being frugal is to save your money for something that matters to you. 

Is it a house or car you want to buy? Are you setting up a retirement fund? Or maybe saving up for your children’s college? Or maybe to clear your debt? 

Always have long-term and short financial goals. They will give you a sense of direction and keep you on track to achieving your goals. 

15. Automate Savings

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Saving money is something many people struggle to do. If you have problems keeping some money away, automating your savings is a sure way to go. 

Schedule automatic transfers from your checking account into your savings account. 

Making this process automatic ensures you actually save the money you planned to. 

We all know how tempted one can become when we see the money available in our checking accounts. Save yourself the temptation and set up an automated saving plan. 

Living Frugally

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Living frugally is now more important than ever. One sure way to achieve your financial goals is to pick up and embrace frugal living tips that work for you.  Start by planning to direct your money to courses that matter to you. Then create a budget and stick to it, always grab opportunities to save money, and let go of unnecessary expenses. It is typically a gradual process that adds up to a financial goal you have.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.