Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Perfectly Practical #96 - 10 Baby Steps to Frugality

You've seen the first four posts in this series and now you are fired up on how to be frugal. 

There are so many aspects of life that need can be frugal-ized:  clothes, cars, gas, household goods, gifts, etc.  Where do you begin? 

First of all, the number one rule that encompasses everything ever in life is don't panic.  You don't have to change everything all at once.  Little consistent changes will make the most impact over time.

Here are 10 mostly painless baby steps to get you started:

1.  Turn off what you aren't using - That means lights, computers, anything that sucks down electricity and teach your kiddos (and spouse) to do the same.

2.  Pack lunches for work/school - If everyone's lunch costs $15 a day for a family of four (your numbers may be more or less) and you decided to pack your lunches, it would cost you around $25 a week.  That's an $50 savings per week or $2600 per year!  Depending on where you are in your journey towards debt-freedom, that could pay off a credit card, be a great start on an emergency fund, be put into an IRA account, pay for the taxes and insurance on your house, or pay for a vacation.  Think about this, if you put that savings directly onto your mortgage every month for a year, will save around $7,503 in interest.  That's 3 times your $2,600 investment with a guaranteed return!  If you continued this trend for the life of the mortgage, you could potentially save around $ 46,700 on interest alone not to mention the years you will take off your mortgage.  (Thanks Cricket for running figures for me.)

3.  Combine your trips - Run as many errands as you can in one car trip to save gas and time.

4.  Use coupons - You don't have to be an extreme couponer to see the savings by using coupons.  When you see those little slips of paper just think of them as cash.  Really, they are even better than cash because in Texas, they come off of your total pre-tax and when you go to a store that doubles/triples that $.35 coupon = $1.05! 

5.  Don't buy "dry clean only" clothes - If you do buy dry clean only clothes, wear them more than once before you have them dry cleaned again.

6.  Go meatless -  One day a week, choose a vegetarian option for supper.  Or choose to use meat as a seasoning rather than the main course.

7.  Make a plan, stick to the plan - That means a budget, a grocery list, etc.  If you don't tell your money where to go, it will tell you where it's going.  If you don't make a grocery list, you'll buy anything that sounds good at the moment.  Make a plan and stay focused.

8.  Go out to eat less - Make going out to eat a treat instead of the norm.  Everyone will appreciate it more and so will your pocketbook and waistline.

9.  Rejoice in small victories - Don't be too hard on yourself, spending habits, like all habits, die hard.  If you followed your plan, used your coupons, and saved 30% at the store, that is fantastic!  Before, you were willing to pay 100% and now you only paid 70%!  Next time, you can try for a savings of 35%.  Remember, these are baby steps.

10.  Don't buy stuff -  That's pretty self-explanatory.  But just in case, here is a little video to get the point across:




This is the last part of this series on frugality.  If you missed one, here are the others in the series:

Part 1:  So, You Want to Be Frugal
Part 2:  Frugal vs. Cheap
Part 3:  Simple Does NOT Necessarily Mean Easy
Part 4:  Thrifty is NOT the Same as Settling for Less

This is part of Works for Me Wednesday.

4 comments:

  1. Oh my! My sides hurt from laughing! Believe it or not I've actually talked to people are just like the video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad I could make you laugh. :) It's funny (yet sad) because it's true.

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  2. aaahhhh, budget busters. 10 simple things to do (or not do) yet most people can't seem to do (or not do) them. One woman at a time, we'll break through those brick walls of frugal misconceptions. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems like the simple stuff in theory is always the hardest stuff in practice.

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Your turn! Let me know what perfectly practical comments you have.

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