What exactly does frugal lifestyle mean? I believe it’s being smart and savvy in your choices. Prioritize and take control of what’s important to you and you will come out ahead.
This blog and website offers frugal tips and money saving ideas to help you live a richer life. Save money on everyday living. Start living the "Frugal Lifestyle" today.
Choosing to live the frugal life also means adhering to certain lifestyle changes. These changes were discussed in a previous post here on The Frugal Lifestyle, and they all involve cutting costs on aspects like transport, food, and home maintenance. Aside from those mentioned, being resourceful is also a vital part of frugal living. If you are creative enough to think of ways to repurpose old or unusable household items into things that you can use, you have the potential to save even more money. Even those who aren’t particular crafty can learn with a little patience and inspiration. So with that in mind, here are some great recycling ideas to get you started.
Turn Wine Bottles into Garden Lights
It’s natural for households to spend on decorations, drinks, food, and other celebratory items during the holidays. Fortunately, you can find other purposes for these things after they’ve been used up, long after the holiday season has passed. Lifehacker shared a mood lighting project that involves old wine bottles and Christmas lights. Basic tools are needed, as you will need to drill a hole in the side of the bottle in order to insert a strand of Christmas lights. This lamp can be used for indoor mood lighting or as a porch light throughout the year.
Transform a Table Using Old CDs
There is no need to throw away old CDs when you can use them to transform an old piece of furniture. Using a strong pair of scissors, simply break the CDs into small pieces so that can be arranged into a mosaic. You can then glue these pieces onto an old table to give it a new look. After decorating his garden table with pieces of old CDs, a user called Emzul shared the finished product on Imgur. The CD-studded table looked like a brand new piece of furniture. You can take inspiration from projects like this to reduce the desire to buy new furniture and find new ways to liven up old ones that are still usable.
Repurpose an Old Suitcase as a Cabinet
Unused suitcases can take up a lot of space to store. The natural thing to do would be to throw them out or sell them. But there is also the option to repurpose them as cabinets. Now, such a project may need advanced crafting skills, so do ask for help from experienced DIY-ers if possible. In Mel Lockcuff’s suitcase medicine cabinet tutorial, she used boards, screws, L brackets, and drywall anchors. These are used to make the shelves and to keep the cabinet in place. The finished product will add a vintage flair to whichever room you hang it in.
Make Desk Organizers with Toilet Roll Tubes
Your home office can become a chaotic mess if you don’t have proper organizers for your supplies. Luckily, you can fashion a desk organizer out of one of the most discarded household items: the toilet roll tube. Foxy Bingo’s guide to random uses for household items details how you can use toilet roll tubes to store cables. To make the tubes more attractive, you can decorate them with washi tape or paint them in the color of your choice. Aside from cables, you can also store pens, paper clips, and other crafts supplies.
Fashion a Reusable Bag Out of Old Shirts
Supermarkets may provide reusable shopping bags, but they don’t usually come for free. Instead of buying one, you can do the environment an even better favor by recycling old clothes. There are many ways to create a t-shirt bag, as clearly stated on Things We’ll Make’s post on ‘8 Ways to Make a Bag From a Shirt’. You can either do a bit of sewing or go the no-sew, fringed shirt bag route. It's also worth noting that reusable shopping bags sold by stores often use materials that are not easily washable. People almost never wash these bags as a result, thereby increasing the risk of product contamination. T-shirt bags, however, can be easily thrown into the laundry to clean.
I'm always on the lookout for more ways and new ways to save money. I came across AARP's 9th Annual "99 Great Ways To Save Money On Everything" list. Here's a few that I've handpicked that were new to me as well as some of my all time favorite ways to save.
1. DESIGN YOUR OWN GREETING CARD
Make cards for free at Spark.Adobe.com/make/card-maker. Save $10 a card. Another one I've used to send digital cards is Canva.com.
2. MULCH FOR FREE
Google your county name and "free mulch" to see if it (or free compost) is offered. Save $3.00 per 2 cubic feet of mulch or $$4.97 per cubic foot of compost.
3. BE A NINJA SHOPPER
Here's how cunning grocery shoppers save $10 or more a week on produce costs:
- They plan specific needs, rather than just randomly selecting
- They show up late to the farmers market, when sellers slash prices
- They buy overstocked produce at a discount
- They use a grocery store loyalty card to get the best prices
- I use apps such as Ibotta to get cash back on grocery or by just uploading my receipt
4. BRING YOUR OWN BAG
A growing number of communities require a 5-cent to 10-cent charge per bag provided by the store. Use your own bags and you could easily save $25 a year. Even better, most Target stores give you 5-cent credit when you bring your own bag!
5. SLEEP IN A MAN'S TEE
A woman's sleep shirt costs around $30 or more! A man's T-shirt cost around $15 (or less) is equally comfortable. Save $15 or more. I personally already do this, and it's way more comfortable.
6. DILUTE SHAMPOO
Commercial shampoos are concentrated and may dry out hair if used at full strength. Try dilluting with 50 percent water and save up to $15 per bottle. I personally do the same thing with dish detergent.
7. BUY DISCOUNTED GIFT CARDS
On websites such as Raise.com people list unwanted gift cards at a discount - 16 percent is average, according to the site. Buy a $100 gift card for $84 and save $16. I've also used Gift Card Granny to buy and sell gift cards.
8. CHECK DIFFERENT TRAVEL DATES
Shifting an arrival or departure date by a single day can save you a surprisingly large amount of cash. Flight search engines like Google Flights or Matrix Airfare show lover priced options. A recent round trip from New York to Los Angeles was $81 cheaper if you flew a day earlier.
9. BUY THROUGH BEFRUGAL.COM
BeFrugal.com offers coupons and cash back for purchases from 5,000 retailers. A Lenovo ThinkPad Xi Carbon was $1,339 using a $70 coupon. That's a savings of more than $100 over online retailers. Another similar site to check out is Mr. Rebates.
10. BUY A REFURBISHED COMPUTER
Why pay big bucks for the latest model? Go to sites like DiscountedComputerDepot.com and pick up a refurbished laptop with a one-year warranty for $100. That will save you at least $100 over a new computer.
11. GET MAGAZINES CHEAP
Subscribe to lots of magazines? Then consider the Texture app. For one monthly fee, you get access to digital versions of over 200 popular magazines. Save $10 to $50 per subscription. You can also get free magazines in exchange for airline miles at MagsForMiles.com
12. SWITCH TO A NEW CREDIT CARD
If you are an AARP member, the AARP credit card from Chase gives you $100 if you spend $500 in your first three months - and 3 percent cash back at restaurants and gas stations. Save $103 on the bonus and a $100 meal.
Another credit card I use for miscellaneous expenses is the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. With this card, Chase gives you $150 in your first three months - and 1.5 percent on everything you buy! Click here to apply.
13. ADOPT A PET
Get a puppy at rescue shelter for $300 or less (sometimes free). A pure breed Labrador retriever can cost $1500, an English bulldog cost even more! Save at least $1,000 or more on your new best friend. If you're not ready to adopt, you can foster a rescue pup and get paid for it. Read about all the details in my blog post Save a Life + Get Paid to Foster a Rescue Dog.
14. TAKE A FARMING VACATION
Learn about organic farming and enjoy a trip overseas by volunteering to work with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. A room and food are free. You could easily save $1,500 over a week at hotels and restaurants.
15. SWAP CLOTHES ONLINE
RehashClothes.com has photos of more than 10,000 items of clothing that its members want to swap. See something you like? Offer a piece of clothing in exchange and if the offer is accepted, swap through the mail. No money involved except postage. You might save $100 on a nice dress or jacket.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support towards my frugal lifestyle.
I live in a city that has among the highest auto insurance rates in California. Knowing this ahead of time, I was still shocked to see my insurance premium double when it came time to renew my policy. I was determined to find a better insurance company before my current policy expired.
I researched all the major insurance companies and received quotes that were deceivingly false. The quote I was shown online was for a certain amount per month, then when I called to speak to an agent, somehow the quote was quite a bit higher! Needless to say, this was beyond frustrating and I was not going to fall for their bait and switch.
I did more research and found Metromile, they are a different kind of car insurance, they only charges you based on the miles you drive, putting you in control of how much you pay. I only drive approximately 300 miles per month, my average cost per month is about half of what my previous insurance was.
Traditional car insurance is unfair to low-mileage drivers. The number one risk indicator for drivers is how often they’re on the road. So if you’re already driving less, you should really start paying less. Pay-per-mile insurance costs less because it’s based on how many miles you drive. If you spend less time behind the wheel, you spend less money on insurance. Most people save an average of $500 per year.
How it works
With pay-per-mile insurance you pay a low monthly base rate plus a few cents per mile when you drive. At the end of the month, your bill is your base rate plus how many miles you drove at your per-mile rate. Just like with other insurance companies, several factors can influence your rate, including age, type of vehicle, and driver history. With pay-per-mile insurance, you aren’t charged for the miles you drive above 250/day (150/day in New Jersey). So if you go on a long trip, you’ll save big.
Measuring your miles
The key to pay-per-mile insurance is the Metromile Pulse, a small free wireless device that plugs into your car’s OBD-II port. Installation is easy, and once in place the Metromile Pulse securely counts your miles to determine your total monthly bill. Pay-per-mile insurance doesn’t consider other driving factors such as how fast you drive or how hard you brake, just how many miles you drive. With the Metromile Pulse in place, you have unlimited access to our smart driving app. This means you can keep track of your trips, monitor your car’s health and always know where your car is parked.
Pros and con
In my opinion, there are many positive benefits in switching to Metromile. I now have control over how much or how little I drive on a monthly basis. For example, I will choose to walk to the store to grab a few essentials instead of driving. Metromile's app and website tracks how many miles I'm driving on a daily basis, so there are no surprises at the end of the month. Another benefit I experienced was I got a text alert that I was parked on a street cleaning day, which saved me getting a ticket.
Some people might have reservations about installing the Metromile Pulse device on their vehicle. I personally don't have a problem with this, anybody on social media already has their data exposed to the social media companies already. This company and others like them is an industry disruptor on how traditional car insurance has been operating. The future for auto insurance and insurance in general will continue to shift. If you drive less than 200 miles a week you could save a ton of money on car insurance. I recommend you try Metromile as an affordable and frugal auto insurance option.
Disclosure: This post contains a refer-a-friend reward if you choose to sign up via my referral link.
At the beginning of a new year almost everyone resolves to either save money or make more money. This year is no exception. What if you can do both - by simply adjusting the way you either shop or manage your money? Below are methods I have used to personally to save AND make money throughout the year.
1. Open A New Bank Account
Several banks offer promotional bonus incentives to open a new account, offering up to $350 in bonus money! I take advantage of this every year, I simply deposit their required amount and keep that account open for at least 6 months. I have made at least $150+ with Chase. The main point here is to make sure you have the amount they require to earn the bonus. If you need to close the account, make sure it's not before the required term so that you actually receive the bonus and don't incur any fees. I have opened several new bank accounts, each with a generous bonus from $100 to $350.
I'm also always on the lookout for banks that offer higher interest rates. I found out about Beam, a new online bank that will pay 200x more than other banks, with no fees - 2%-4% APY guaranteed. Be sure to be one of the first to open an account when they launch. Get all the details here. Another good option is the Capital One money market account, which has a pretty good rate.
2. Sell Your Stuff
One of my ongoing goal is to purge and get rid of anything that I don't need or use anymore. I either donate, throw away or sell them. And in some cases, I've gotten perfectly good items from friends who didn't want their stuff anymore - so when it sells, it's pure profit. It's pretty easy - just take photos of each item, add good descriptions then post them. I've sold many things on Craigslist, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace, and NextDoor. I've also sold some vintage collectible items on Etsy. Not only did I make some money, but my life is a little less cluttered and more simplified.
3. Have A Garage Sale
This is similar to the method above of "selling stuff", however, the items I typically sell at our yard sales are mostly things that I deem not worth to sell online. These items include assorted clothing, shoes, and misc knick knack stuff. Not only did we make a some cash, but we've cleared out more space in the house, which is always a goal of mine. We plan to have our annual garage sale in the fall this year. In addition, we have made some cash recycling glass bottles, cans, cardboard, newspaper, etc. at out local recycling center.
4. Use Credit Cards With Rewards
There are plenty of cash-back reward credit cards out there. I make sure I am maximizing the money I get back by choosing the proper credit card that pays back the most on any given category. For example I rotate between my Chase and Discover cards to get 5% cash-back on groceries, restaurants or gas stations. In addition, my Chase Unlimited card gives me 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, so I use this card for other items. I monitor my credit card expenses daily and I always pay the balance off every month.
My American Express card gives me 2% back on groceries all the time. I use this card when groceries is not one of the 5% cash back rotating categories on the other cards. Grocery shopping is my biggest monthly expense, so the points add up quickly!
5. Get Cash Back When You Shop
Another easy way to get cash back when you shop anywhere are with shopping apps. One of my favorite is Ibotta, which earns me cash for shopping at local grocery stores and other retailers. My other favorite cash-back shopping portals are Mr.Rebates and BeFrugal - both offer cash-back rewards for shopping online. Each of these programs offer cash bonuses when you sign up.
Speaking of sign up bonuses, from now until January 21, 2018 - when you refer a friend to Dosh, you will receive $15 for each new person you refer who links a credit or debit card. Dosh is another great cash back program. Get cash back, auto-magically, when you shop, go to a restaurant, book travel, or anything else, the Dosh app searches for cash and chases it down - relentlessly searching out offers to give you cash back.
6. Install An App That Pays
This method is one of the easiest way to make money. Simply install the app on your smartphone (my favorite is Smart Panel), the company will pay you for every month you keep the app installed. It won't interfere with your data package and you don't have to answer a bunch of survey questions. It truly is "set it and forget it". The IQ app alerts you to answer a simple question, then automatically deposits cash in your PayPal account.
7. Take Photos Of Your Receipts
I found an app that pays me for taking photos of my receipts from any shopping trip! It's easy money, plus I have copies of my receipts in case I lose them. Just download the Receipt Hog app on your smartphone, snap your receipts and watch those points accumulate which you can redeem for cash or prizes. They also have fun games, like jackpots and slots to earn more bonus points.
8. Answer Polls And Surveys
I've been earning money with Swagbucks for over a year now. My favorite ways to earn are... answering interesting surveys or polls, and watching movie trailers - before they hit the theaters. But there are countless more ways to make money, which can be redeemed for gift cards. You even earn a bonus just for signing up! Click here for more details.
9. Start A Home-Based Business
If you want to be your own boss, where you can work as much or as little each day - there are many work-from-home opportunities for entrepreneurs. However, many of them require high up-front cost to start - which goes against my frugal nature. But alas, I've discovered a handful of companies that you can start with little to no investment. It's nice receiving residual income on a regular basis. I can proudly say that I have multiple streams that makes money! Click here for more details.
10. Lower Your House Payment
I wasn't in the market to refinance my primary residence, and I receive several junk mail from various mortgage companies enticing home owners to refinance with them. However, I got a letter in the mail that convinced me to at least call this company to find out how much I can actually save. Long story short, I did refinance and saved almost $150 a month! You can read all the details on how I did it here.
11. Invest In Real Estate
One of my goals this year is to invest in another property. About 8 years ago I invested in a mobile home by the ocean, which I paid for in cash. My boyfriend and I "flipped it" it in 4 years time and enjoyed the beach lifestyle while working on the house. We sold it 4 years after I bought it to a nice family and their bulldog who couldn't get a mortgage from a traditional bank. The solution was to finance the loan myself, along with interest- it was a win win solution! We did the renovation work upfront, which didn't feel like work because it was enjoyable, then reap the rewards for years to come. Read all about this savvy investment here.
12. Micro-Invest In Real Estate
This method is basically crowdfunding for real estate investors. It's a great way for me to invest money in real estate without shelling out a lot of money and without doing the labor of renovation. I discovered a company called Groundfloor that I can invest a little (or a lot) of money on properties across the U.S. I like that I can choose which property I want to invest in. The best part is that the returns are 6% up to 14% - you can't get those interest rates from a bank.
13. Foster A Rescue Dog
I love all dogs, especially bulldogs! I was looking for a way to help out rescue organizations, in addition to my regular monetary donations. I happen to be looking on Craigslist one day, and saw an ad that said "Make Extra Money Fostering A Dog". I had assumed being a foster parent was strictly on a volunteer basis. I was happy to learn I could help by providing a dog a loving home until they are adopted, and supplement my income as at the same time. I've been fostering a lovable senior dog, an Olde English Bulldoge through a local non-profit dog rescue. They save dogs from shelters, giving them a new chance at life.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support towards a prosperous new year :)
I want to share something exciting that not only saves us money when we shop online, BUT when all of our social connections shop from this shopping portal we ALL earn! It's not your typical cash-back shopping or rebate portal, it's the future of how people shop. Get all the details on GetPaidWhenOtherPeopleShop.com.
The new buzz word in online shopping is Socialized Commerce. What does this mean? In its simplest form, it means putting socializing and commerce together for the benefit of everyone.
In social media, you make connections with other people, who make more connections, and then each person creates content until a large network of individuals has been created that provides that content to everyone involved. Socialized Commerce works the same way, except instead of creating content, the users in the Network create commerce. So instead of getting the benefit of knowing what your friends are doing and vice versa, you all get the benefit of sharing in the money made through your collective effort.
Socialized Commerce is in many ways an extension of social commerce. Social commerce has been around for years. It’s the act of influencing others to buy products through online influence, and it is a multi-billion-dollar industry. What separates social commerce from Socialized Commerce, primarily, is where all of that money goes.
In social commerce, Facebook for example, the money goes to the social media site. These social recommendations are very powerful, as studies have shown we are much more likely to listen to a recommendation from a friend than we are to make a decision based off of an advertisement. Consequently, businesses pay top dollar to sites like Facebook in order to promote their products on its platform in the hopes that the power of social commerce will take hold.
There are ways for every day users to monetize this influence, but they are very limited in scope, apply primarily only to those with large audiences and extreme influence, and account for a very small portion of the money that is being made through these social interactions.
I'm happy to share that finally there is a way for regular folks to benefit and earn from social commerce. Trunited is a new Socialized Commerce company that provides a platform dedicated to rewarding those who are responsible for the creation of that commerce. It rewards those who purchase on the platform and those who influence others to create more commerce.
Watch the Trunited video above for an overview. Visit GetPaidWhenOtherPeopleShop.com to get all the details. To participate in this new Socialized Commerce Revolution and start earning when your social connections shop, click HERE.
I LOVE to eat but I'm not exactly a gourmet in the kitchen. But, I love to save money, so I've been experimenting with how to make delicious meals at home.
One of my favorite frugal meal(s) is buying a cooked rotisserie chicken from a local grocery store. Not only is it yummy, but it usually only cost less that $8 for a whole chicken. We eat it fresh from the store, I especially love the skin and dark meat. Afterwards, pull apart the left over chicken and set aside for later.
Most people would throw away the bones, but they are what makes the best chicken soup! If you don't already have one, I highly recommend investing in a slow cooker or crock pot. We found ours in a thrift store for just $10. Throw in the rest of the chicken - bones and all in the crock pot, add water. Let it cook until the bones falls apart. Once cooked, make sure to remove the bones then add seasoning, veggies and anything else you want.
I've stretched an $8 rotisserie chicken into 5 different meals for 2 people. That's only $1.60 per meal. Now that's frugal eating!!
Meal #1 - Chicken breasts, drumsticks, wings (dark meat)
Meal #2 - Stir fry chicken with veggies (leftover white meat)
Meal #3 - Chicken salad (other half of leftover white meat)
Meal #4 - Chicken soup (makes up to 4 bowls of soup)
Meal #5 - Pulled chicken (yummy with barbecue sauce)
I'm sure, there are a hundred more ways to get creative with leftover rotisserie chicken. Bon appetite!
There must be countless ways to save (and make) money, I've listed some of my favorite ways here:
1. Use Cash - most people tend to spend less when paying cash vs. a credit card or even a debit card. As an added incentive, some retailers, such as gas stations - offer discounts to cash paying customers in order for them to save money on high bank merchant fees.
2. Pay Bills Online - sign up for auto payments online to pay your bills. Not only will you save money on postage stamps and checks, but it also ensures that your payment is not late - avoiding those pesky late fees! Tip - I always pay off my credit card balances each month.
3. Earn Rewards When You Shop - whether it's buying groceries or stocking up on items online or offline, I make sure I am using the appropriate credit card to maximize my cash back earnings! Since I'm spending money anyway, why not get a rebate on my purchase. Two of my favorite cash-back shopping portals are Mr.Rebates and BeFrugal - both offer cash-back rewards for shopping online.
4. Wash Clothes In Cold Water - this will save you money on energy costs and your clothes will come out just as clean. Make sure you are doing a full load, to save even more energy.
5. Do-it-yourself beauty regimen - why pay a professional if you can do it yourself? I personally dye my own hair, give myself the occasional manicure & pedicure and masque facials.
6. Split Your Meal - save money by splitting an entree (with or without an appetizer or salad) with another person. The bonus is that you won't be tempted to overeat and maybe even lose some pounds. Whenever you go out to restaurants, there are other creative ways to save money when dining out.
7. Save Leftovers - don't just reheat your leftovers, get creative - add other ingredients to make a whole new meal. My personal tip - most leftovers taste better with butter, garlic and onions!
7. Shop Thrift Stores - check out flea markets, swap meets, thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales for great and unique finds in clothing, accessories, furniture and home items for a lot less.
8. Grow Your Own - save money on herbs such as basil, cilantro, rosemary or lavender. Plant your own herb garden or potted herbs to add to salads and meals. Plant and grow your own vegetables & fruits too.
9. Recycle Gift Bags, Wrapping Paper, Ribbons - if it can be re-used, don't throw it away! I always recycle gift bags, tissues, bows, ribbons, etc.. from previous presents.
10. Homemade gifts - if you love to bake, make some yummy cookies or brownie and present it in a gift basket or tin. If you love photography, print out some photos of the recipient and place them in a set of inexpensive frames. You can also make a potted arrangement of succulents from your own garden.
11. Snap Up Coupon Deals - be on the lookout from daily deal sites such as Groupon. Redeem restaurant or other discount deals that you know you will really take advantage of. You can also get cash back when dining out.
12. Do-it-yourself Home Improvement Projects - tackle projects around the house, such as painting or basic landscape work, etc.. this saves a lot of money on professional services.
13. Save on Insurance Cost - if you are on the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle, consider purchasing an SUV, a pick up truck or even a mini-van. These types of vehicles usually cost less to insure than others. Another way I've saved money, is to shop around for a better deal before your policy expires.
14. Free Tire Air Checks - keep your tires inflated to maximize gas mileage, especially on long trips. Low tire pressure robs gas mileage - up to three miles per gallon! Get free air checks at tire centers such as Discount Tire stores. They have also rotated my tires for free.
15. Walk or Ride your Bike - instead of driving a few blocks to your destination, why not walk or ride your bike? It will save you money on gas and it's good exercise also!
16. Free T.V. - I watch my favorite TV shows on their respective network or on YouTube. Another great option (although not exactly free) is Hulu. You can also go to your local library and borrow any available DVD's, usually 2 at a time.
17. Swap or Borrow - whether they are DVD's, magazines or books, you can swap or borrow them with friends. This concept also works for clothing and accessories you no longer wear or want.
18. Shop The Dollars Stores - visit your neighborhood dollar stores - such as Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, 99cent Only, Dollar General, Dollar King, etc.. to find great values on basic essentials.
19. Unplug Chargers - disconnect devices such as phone, computer, small appliance, and other chargers, from the wall when not in use. If the charger is plugged into the wall it is still on and consuming energy even if you aren’t charging.
20. Free Magazines - if you have miles that have accumulated in various airline rewards program but do not enough for airline tickets, redeem them for free magazines. I've subscribed to some of my favorite magazines, such as Entertainment Weekly, Money, In Style, Time and Vanity Fair.
Did you know the Amish are actually incredible money savers? We can all learn a thing or two (or thirteen) on how they manage their money and their frugal ways. I'd like to think I practice some of their savvy ways. Here's an except from Business Insider. Read the complete article here.
Though they're typically known for for their traditional, family-based Christian values and austere lifestyles, there's one thing most people probably wouldn't guess about them - the Amish are a lot better at managing their money than the rest of us.
Their business and financial savvy goes far beyond rebuking modern conveniences like electricity and technology. Here are 13 ways the Amish are better at money matters than most of us.
1. They value experiences more than material goods.
2. They are huge savers, often setting aside up to 20% of their income.
3. They loathe debt and try to avoid credit cards.
4. Rather than turn to credit, they'd sooner take up a side job when money gets tight.
5. If they do have debt, or take out a loan, they view it as a moral obligation to pay it back in a timely way.
6. Many are experienced tradesmen and their quality wares are in demand.
7. They are extremely savvy small business owners with a 95% success rate.
8. They rarely waste a thing and take recycling to unbelievable levels.
9. They buy in bulk whenever possible.
10. They never pay retail and often shop secondhand.
11. Those with money funnel their funds back into the community.
12. They eat like kings, but they grow most of their meals themselves.
13. They avoid taking government handouts and are exempt from contributing to Social Security.
For most people, their biggest monthly expense is housing. If you can lower your mortgage payment by refinancing your loan, take the opportunity very soon before interest rates go back up. Shop around for the best rates and speak to more than just one mortgage specialist or lender.
If you rent, it doesn't hurt to talk to your landlord and find out if they can lower your rent in exchange for some handy work around the property or if they can give you a discount if you pay your rent before the first of each month.
I recently finalized refinancing my home loan. The last time I refinanced was about 2 years ago. My previous loan's rate was 4.75% -- now it's a fixed rate of 3.25%. My savings is approximately $150 a month. However, I plan on paying at least $100 or more towards the principal in order to reduce the loan amount. By locking in the lower interest rate, I will pay a lot less interest throughout the loan's term. My ultimate goal is to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible, or rent it out and buy the next house in cash!
My experience the last time I refinanced was okay, but the process took more than 4 months to get finalized. This time around, my experience was beyond pleasant. I initially received a letter in the mail with an offer to refinance with a really good interest rate. I initially didn't think I would work with this company, but I called them a second time and spoke to one of their mortgage specialists who I immediately liked and trusted. After he explained what my options were, I knew I was in good hands. The entire process took only a month -- plus, I was able to skip 2 months of payments, which is a super nice bonus! Read my Yelp review about the company here.
In summary, I highly recommend lowering your housing expense by either refinancing your current mortgage or negotiating with your landlord to reduce your rent. Why pay more when you can pay less for housing! With the money you save, you can treat yourself to a nice dinner, a new outfit or something for the house, you can even use the extra money towards a down payment for a new car or towards that dream vacation!
Click HERE for other frugal tips on Housing. Click HERE for resource books on Frugal Housing, or see below.
Whether you are already frugal or are just embarking on the lifestyle of frugality, I would like to share 30 tips and ideas that I have personally done in order to sustain my frugal habits.
1. Eliminate cable & phone landline - I eliminated both my cable/satellite and home phone line 10 years ago. I now only watch my favorite shows (queued on Hulu) online for free when I want to. I got rid of my landline and only use my cell phone, this saves me a lot of money!
2. Automate payments - Most people already do this - by automating your bill paying online, you will never miss a payment, which means you avoid late fees plus you save money on postage.
3. Wash clothes in cold water - This will save you money on energy costs and your clothes will come out just as clean.
4. Unplug block-type chargers - When cords on phones, computers, small appliances, etc.. are not in use, they should be unplugged. If the charger is plugged into the wall it is still on and consuming energy even if you aren’t charging.
5. Do-it-yourself home improvement projects - Tackle projects around the house, such as painting or basic landscape work, etc.. to save a lot of money on professional services.
6. Install low-flow shower head - You won't even notice the difference because a low-flow fixture reduces the volume of water but does not affect the water pressure in any way.
7. Repair vs. replace - Try to fix something that’s broken first (if the cost is minimal). Not sure how to repair it? There are plenty of YouTube tutorials with step by step tips.
8. Shop around for better rates - Whether it's getting lower costs for your mortgage interest rate, mobile phone service, insurance rates, credit card interest rates or internet service, etc... it pays to shop around or better yet, if you are happy with your current provider, call them and ask to them to lower your payment. Most companies will give you a lower rate in order to keep you as their (happy) customer.
9. Recycle gift bags, wrapping paper, ribbons - If it can be re-used, don't throw it away! I always recycle gift bags, tissues, bows, ribbons, etc.. from previous presents.
10. Create homemade gifts - If you love to bake, make some yummy cookies or brownie and present it in a gift basket or tin. If you love photography, print out some photos of the recipient and place them in a set of inexpensive frames.
11. Walk or ride your bike - Instead of driving a few blocks to your destination, why not walk or ride your bike? It will save you money on gas and it's good exercise also!
12. Do-it-yourself beauty regimen - Why pay a professional if you can do it yourself? I personally dye my own hair, give myself the occasional manicure and pedicure.
13. Sell unwanted stuff - When you are clearing out your home or office, you will most likely come across items that are a little more than "garage sale" material. I have sold many items on Craigslist that I do not need anymore such as furniture, electronics, designer shoes & purses, plants, books, toys, etc..
14. Find promo codes and deals online - Before you hit that “submit order” button, search for online promo codes, coupon codes or deals. Sign up to receive emails from your favorite online stores. They usually send out exclusive deals or discounts to their email subscribers.
15. Workout for free - Skip the gym (and the high membership fees), exercise for free… whether it’s walking, running, jogging, biking, or whatever activity you enjoy. Short on time? You can burn some calories when doing simple chores around the house, such as sweeping or washing the dishes.
16. Plan errands efficiently - When I run errands or go shopping, I try to do it all in one trip. Not only does this save me time and effort, but it saves on gasoline as well. If there's a coupon that's about to expire and it's something I am actually going to use, I plan my trip around that day.
17. Empty your vehicle's trunk - Most of us know what it feels like to be hauling a few extra pounds around the midriff. It's no different with your car... excess weight places more demands on your engine and creates suspension, braking and even exhaust problems. Check your car right now. What's in there that can come out?
18. When traveling abroad, use your debit card at ATMs to withdraw local currency - Keep fees low by making fewer and larger withdrawals from your home bank account when traveling. If your U.S. bank has a partner in Europe, for example, use their ATMs for the best rates.
19. You don't have to pay for your credit score - If you have a Discover Card or Capital One, an added benefit is that you can now access your FICO score for free! Sites such as CreditKarma.com, Credit.com offer credit scores for free also.
20. Go for cash back instead of points and miles rewards - Credit card companies can suddenly increase the number of points and miles you need to redeem travel benefits and other perks. Cash doesn't lose value even if a company changes policies. I use Chase Freedom and Capital One credit cards.
21. Make your own salad dressing - They are are easy to make; plus, they're cheaper and better tasting than store-bought. For balsamic vinaigrette, whisk together 1 minced garlic clove, a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and ß cup balsamic vinegar, then slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil.
22. Make a list - I'm a big believer of writing things down. Whether it's a grocery list, an errands list, a 5 year goal list, etc.. I think it's important to visualize your tasks or goals. For example, by having a list when I go food shopping, I tend to stick to the list and in turn save money along the way. It's a great feeling to cross something off my list once I've accomplished said item on list.
23. Limit meat portions - Dividing your plate into three equal portions of meat, vegetables and grains - 3 to 4 ounces each - will be better for you (health wise) and cost much less.
24. Split a meal when dining out - Save money by splitting an entree with or without an appetizer or salad with another person. The bonus is that you won't be tempted to overeat.
25. Eat your leftovers - Often times, you or someone in your group have leftovers. It's quite wasteful to throw away perfectly good food that you already paid for. Ask for a doggie bag, make something creative with your leftovers the next day, chances are it will taste better too.
26. Skip the dessert- Although this is very tempting, often times your main meal was more than enough. You don't really need that plate of chocolate cake a-la-mode! But, if you have to have dessert, split it amongst the group you are dining with.
27. Recycle - Instead of throwing away paper, cardboard, cans, plastic, or glass... take it to your local recycling center. Not only is it good for the environment but you get paid in cash! Make sure to have designated containers for each category at home, to keep things organized.
28. Use coconut oil - There are numerous ways to use coconut oil, besides for cooking! Some of my favorite ways are as a makeup remover, lip balm, to control frizz, shaving treatment, under eye cream, body oil and also as an itch reliever.
29. Share things - instead of buying the latest fashion magazine, my friends rotate magazines amongst each other. Carpooling is a means of sharing rides, where everyone involved takes their turn in driving. When traveling with one or more people, bring one set of necessities so that there's no need to check in your bags. Share as many things as possible, such as recipes, books, clothes, meals, tools, etc..
30. Get free stuff - one sure way to spend less is getting stuff for free! If it's your birthday, many places reward you with free treats. For more freebie ideas, click here. The best things in life are free!
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