Frugality gets a bad rap. I’m guessing that it’s because being frugal is often confused with being a miser. You know, those people who won’t spend money on anything. Those people who drive 5 miles out of their way to get gas for 3 cents less per gallon. Those people who take their dates to a restaurant during half price happy hour and will only let the date order appetizers. You know the ones.
Then, there is also the misconception that frugality doesn’t matter. Some bloggers are notoriously anti-frugality and argue that saving a little money here and there really doesn’t matter. Instead, they’re proponents of growing your income so you don’t have to pinch pennies.
While growing your income is certainly an important component of becoming wealthy, frugality can be a nice complement to that. Especially when you’re young and just beginning your career, frugality can help you get ahead when you’re still working on growing your income.
But don’t be put off by the idea of frugality. You can implement frugal strategies into your life easily.
1. Always use promo codes
More and more people are buying online. When you’re checking out, you’ll usually see a small box asking if you have a promo code.
Don’t have a promo code? No problem. Just open a new window and do a quick search on the Internet. You’ll find a code at least 2 out of 3 times.
I bought checks online last week, and my total came to $21.36. I searched for a promo code and entered it. The promo code waived my shipping cost and gave me a hefty discount. My final total was $6.32. I saved $15.04 for a two-minute search on the Internet.
Is $15 going to make me wealthy? No, but by implementing this strategy over and over again, I’m consistently keeping more of my money in my pocket.
2. Buy used
You can have as many things as the Jones’, but if you’re buying used, you’re saving serious money.
In her new book, Wealth Building for the Financially Illiterate, Barbara Friedberg says to go ahead and give into your desire to buy a luxury car if you want one, but always buy used. This same principle applies to other purchases that you make like clothes and furniture.
Our kids are so rough on our furniture that we’ve been buying used. However, the quality difference between used and new furniture is often negligible, but the price difference is substantial. We’ll likely continue to buy used furniture even after our kids grow up.
3. Choose hobbies that save or make you money
Hobbies can cost a lot, but if you choose ones that save or make money, you not only get to relax but help yourself get ahead.
For instance, I learned to sew when I was younger. I’m not accomplished enough to sew complicated outfits, but I can turn my old t-shirts into dresses for my daughters, and I recently took my son’s too short uniform pants and turned them into uniform shorts. Just that simple sewing project saved me the $24.50 it would have cost to buy him the uniform shorts new.
Writing and photography are two other hobbies (among many) that can allow you to make money on the side for your skills.
If you’re turned off by frugality because you don’t want to be seen as a tightwad, try some of these painless strategies to save money without compromising the quality of your life.
What painless frugal strategies do you implement?