10 Ways To Be More Frugal When You’re Used To Spending Recklessly
March 6, 2016 12:00 AM EST | 7 min read
Everyone wants to have more money, but very few people can get a raise whenever they ask for it.
Many Americans are spending more money every month than they are making.
Instead of putting yourself farther into debt, making a few simple frugal choices, you can boost your bank account to new levels.
10 Ways To Be More Frugal When You’re Used To Spending Recklessly
Cash envelopes are one of the best ways to make sure that you don’t overspend on items that tend to break your bank.
Putting your weekly or bi-weekly allowance of groceries, or “fun money” in an envelope forces you to think about purchases and be frugal.
If you have $200 in an envelope marked “Groceries”, you are only allowed to use that money for groceries and nothing else.
If you get to the end of the month, and there is nothing left in the envelope, then it’s time to look in your pantry and refrigerator to see what already there.
Using the cash envelopes works well for groceries, dining out, entertainment, clothes, and anything else you could typically overspend on.
Money Saving Apps
There are several apps that can make being frugal as easy as glancing at your smartphone.
With all the advances in technology, saving and managing your money has never been easier.
Apps like Level Money, Mint and Personal Capital allow you to check your accounts and track your spending in a matter of minutes.
These apps will breakdown your spending into categories like food, gas, clothes, etc., which is eye-opening for many consumers that don’t know where their money is going.
Apps like Acorns will even automatically set aside a small portion of cash to save based on your spending and income.
Coupons are the staple of frugal spending.
Many people turn their nose up at coupons, thinking they are a waste of time, but they can add up to significant savings.
Contrary to popular belief, there is a right and wrong way to use coupons.
One of the biggest mistakes when a consumer begins their “frugal spending journey” is to start using coupons, but to buy items they normally wouldn’t, just because they have a coupon for it.
When using coupons, only buy things that you need.
Don’t get sucked into the couponing euphoria and start buying items because you can buy them 85% off.
Look for a grocery store near you that offers double or even triple coupon values.
Depending on your local grocery store, they may even accept other grocery store’s coupons as well.
Shop the sales papers
Before you head to the store, spend a couple of minutes reading the sales paper.
Plan your weekly meals around what’s on sale in the paper.
Many stores will have certain meats on sale that you can use for a couple of dinners.
If you’re looking for new shoes or clothes, compare prices in the sales paper and look for additional savings.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you time in the store.
Websites like ShopLocal.com allows you to browse through just about every stores sales paper without having to have them mailed to your house.
Depending on how much extra room you have in your pantry or freezer, stocking up on food is a great way to stop recklessly spending at the grocery store.
Buying a lot of staple items when they are on sale is a great way to ignite your frugal living experience.
Stocking up on items when they are on sale or seasonal items can save you money throughout the year as you use them.
What’s one of the best ways to make sure you save money instead of spending it?
Automatically deposit it, so you never see it.
If you paycheck is automatically deposited into your bank account, you can have the bank take out a portion of every check to go straight into a savings account.
Stop touching the thermostat
This is one of the easiest ways to stop spending recklessly, and you can do it from the comfort of you own home.
Turning the thermostat down (or up depending on the season) can save you hundreds of dollars on your electricity bill every month.
Instead of running the heat every night, bundle up under a blanket or put on a warm sweater and enjoy your extra money.
If the temperature becomes too much to bear, instead of turning the thermostat, grab a small fan or heater.
Fans and smaller heaters are much cheaper to run than using an air conditioning or heating system.
Don’t buy full price for anything new.
Anything from books, movies, cars, clothes, or electronics, buying anything used will save you an enormous portion of your budget every month.
Instead of going to traditional bookstores, go to thrift stores, used book stores, or buy used books online.
Typically buying used books will save you 50% or more.
Whatever you plan on buying look on sites like Craigslist.com for a used version of it.
More than likely you will find whatever you’re searching for at a fraction of the cost.
Water, water, and more water
Aside from being good for your body, drinking water is great for your wallet as well.
When you go out to eat, choosing water can save you $3 or $4 versus drinking a glass of soda.
It will save even more if you’re choosing water instead of an alcoholic beverage.
If you have a family that includes children, drinking water can save you as much as $20 every time you go out to eat.
Even at home, drinking water can save you money.
Instead of paying for the soda, lemonade, or your favorite beverage, drinkwater. As an additional bonus, the more water you drink, the less likely you are to get sick.
Making homemade food and goods can save thousands of dollars every year.
Instead of buying cleaning supplies, ordering take-out food, or buying gifts, spend some time making them to save you money.
There are hundreds of simple recipes on Pinterest that can help you get started on making your meals instead of going out.
You don’t have to spend hours every night making dinner.
There are thousands of meals that you can make in less than 30 minutes that will save you $10 – $15 every night (most of them are healthier than what you would eat at a restaurant).
For many recipes, you can even prepare them the night before to save even more time.
Instead of buying laundry detergent, you can make your own at a fraction of the price with only three simple ingredients (Borax, washing soda, and a bar of soap).
You can create a grime and scum destroying cleaning supply with nothing more than baking soda and water.
Making your cleaning supplies will only take around 30 minutes, which is about the same time you would spend going to the store to buy them.
Being frugal when you want to spend recklessly
Using a few of these simple tips can give your bank account the boost that you’ve been wanting.
While living frugal isn’t always the “fun” thing to it, it’s often the “smartest” thing to do.
You don’t have to completely change your lifestyle to be more frugal and rein in your reckless spending.