The Top 11 Frugal Living Tips to Keep You Out Of Debt
I am sure that it will not surprise you if I say that debt is on the rise in the US. Every year it rises exponentially. It is incredibly hard to exist today without some type of debt. In reality, it is not impossible. It is challenging but not impossible. There is a difference between positive debt and negative debt. Typically, a mortgage is considered positive debt because it is helpful to you. It should be your highest priority to limit your debt as much as possible. Continue reading this article to find our the best frugal living tips so you can limit your debt as much as possible.
Frugal Tip #1 – Create a Budget
The top of the list of all frugal living tips is create a budget. I know this is not always a popular topic, but creating a budget is a great way for you to stay out of debt. A budget allows you to see the money you have coming in each month, as well as how much you are spending. If you do not see it written down in front of you, how are you supposed to know what you are spending and where. Once you list out all of your expenses, you can see how much money you are spending.
You can also see the total amount of bills that you are paying. Once you know how much money is going to your bills, you can make changes to reduce them. Creating a budget is only the first step. Then you need to understand tips on budgeting your money. More about that later in this article.
Frugal Tip #2 – SMART Goals
Some of the top frugal living tips you should follow when you create a budget is to make SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to set goals that you will not be able to meet. Once you have written down all of your expenses and compared it to you income, you must decide on the goals that you want to achieve. When you think about the goals you want, they should be specific. You should focus on exactly what you want to achieve. Your goal should be measurable, which means you can tell when it has been accomplished.
For example: If you want to decrease your debt, you can measure it by watching the amount of debt you owe go down.
The goals that you set must be achievable and realistic. If you want to reduce your debt, instead of saying you want to reduce your debt, perhaps you should say, you want to reduce your debt by $1,000. You have to put a timeframe around your goal. You want to say, I want to reduce my debt by $1,000 in 2 months.
Frugal Tip #3 – Rent Assistance
One of the important frugal living tips to which you can pay attention is reducing the cost of rent. Rent is one of the most expensive expenses you may have, so reducing it could greatly help you stay out of debt. Most of the time, the state in which you live offers programs for rental assistance. You may have to do some research to find the rental assistance program that is right for you. Not only can a rental assistance program pay your rent, or a percentage of it, going forward, they may also be able to pay any money that is past due so that you do not get evicted.
There are some eligibility requirements of which you should be aware. Assistance may be limited, so you may only be able to receive it once per year. Some cities provide assistance to families, while others may focus on senior citizens. Other states may be interested in helping those who are disabled. Make sure you understand the rules for the state in which you live.
Frugal Tip #4 – Reduce Spending
This frugal living tips may seem like an obvious statement and that is reduce the amount of money you spend to keep you out of debt. You may even be thinking, well if I could spend less money, I would. I would be willing to bet there are ways you can reduce spending that you have not even considered. There are probably many ways that you can reduce spending, but you do not want to give up conveniences. I am going to list some easy ones for you.
Do you buy coffee out every day? If so, you are probably spending about $5 per day on coffee. That is a little over $1,800 per year, if you buy coffee every day of the year. If you make coffee at home, that is an easy way to save more than $100 per month. Do you eat out during the day (other than coffee)? If you pack your lunch instead of buying lunch each day, you can save yourself anywhere from $50 – $100 per week. You can reserve eating out for the weekend. Perhaps you pick one meal to eat out per week as a special treat. Any other time, you should make lunch and dinner at home.
These are quick ways to reduce your spending. Another quick way to save money is to cancel any subscription that you do not use. Do you have a gym membership that you are not using? If so, cancel it immediately and save yourself that money. What about Netflix or Spotify or even Amazon Prime subscription? If you no longer use it, cancel it!
Frugal Tip #5 – Finance App
You may be surprised at these frugal living tips, but consider using finance apps to help you save money. Writing down your budget and your goals are a great way to start you on your way towards getting out of debt. There is power in writing down your goals and seeing them in print. Just like writing them down can give your goals power, using a finance app can help you stay on track. There are many applications available to help you create a budget and allow you to monitor that budget. You can access these apps from your phone so it is always available to you. With these apps you can track all of your transactions, securely manage and control all of your finances.
Frugal Tip #6 – Emergency Fund
Obviously, I cannot give you frugal living tips without mentioning saving money. While you may feel like right now it is impossible for you to save money, I am here to tell you that it is always possible to save money. And you should. Even if it seems like a small amount, you should save it anyway. Save as much money as you can. We all know emergencies can happen at any time. They always seem to happen at the worst times. This is exactly why you need an emergency fund. This is money you are saving specifically for those emergencies that crop up at the absolute worst time.
I have talked about creating a budget. I have talked about taking a hard look at your expenses and cutting out those extras that you really do not need. When you cut those expenses, you should take that money and put it in an emergency fund so you can begin to build it.
Frugal Tip #7 – Coupons and Saving Costs
This is one of my favorite frugal money saving tips because it is actually fairly simple. Coupons are one the best frugal living tips you can follow. They are easy to find and easy to use. There are coupon apps that you can use. There are even coupon databases that give you access to many coupons all in one place. There are easy to find and use. Find out which stores double coupons.
That means if your coupon is for $1 off an item, the store will give you another $1 off, so now you have $2 off that item. You can stock up on non perishable good when they go on sale. Not only are you purchasing more items when they are lower in price, but you are choosing what you spend on the item.
For example: You stock pile soap. You buy a good amount of it when it is on sale, so you have it in reserve.
You can continue to watch the prices and when the price goes down again, you can buy more. This allows you to not put yourself in a position where you need an item right now and you pay whatever the current price is.
Frugal Tip #8 – Save Money on Food
One of my frugal living tips earlier in this article is to reduce the amount of times you eat out. So, if you are not going to eat out, you have to cook at home. Good news is, there are ways to save money on the food you are cooking, too. Let’s be real, food is expensive and if you are not careful you can blow your budget in the grocery store just as easily as you can at a restaurant.
First, you should set a budget for the food you purchase per month. Then, you should create a meal plan and write down the items you want to buy. Stick to your list. Do not buy anything that is not on your list. Before you go to the grocery store, make sure that you are really out of food. Often times, we have plenty of food in the pantry, we just do not want to make it. You can grow your own food. You can buy items like meat, flour, and rice in bulk. You can shop at farms where you pick your own fruits and vegetables. You can start cooking with a crock pot to reduce electricity and make enough food for leftovers.
Frugal Tip #9 – Cut Transportation Costs
These frugal living tips are specific to ways you can save money on transportation. If you can walk or bike to work, you should. You can handle all of your errands in one day and take care of as much as you can in the same area in one day. Make sure that you take all unnecessary items out of your car. This can decrease the weight and help you save money on gas. Avoid tolls on roads and carpool as much as possible. Make sure you stay on top of oil changes and other routine maintenance your car might need. This can help you keep it running in the best shape which helps cut down on gas and other services. You can also download an app that tells you all the gas prices in your local area so you can find the best prices on gas.
Frugal Tip #10 – Save Money Around the House
This is one of my favorite frugal living tips because you can save so much money around the house and you do not even know it. There are truly so many ways you can save money around the house. You can stop using paper towels and paper plates. You should use dishes that must be washed and cloth towels and napkins. You should only run the dishwasher when it is full. You can always wash your clothes in cold water and only wash your clothes when they are dirty. Instead of using the clothes dryer to dry your clothes, you should use a drying rack or clothes line.
You should make sure that your freezer and refrigerator are full at all times to ensure they are running optimally. You should decrease your thermostat by 2 or 3 degrees in the winter and increase it by 2 or 3 degrees in the summer. Just this small adjustment can save you hundreds of dollars per year. The adjustment is so minor, you may not even notice the difference. Do not be so quick to throw something away. See if you can fix it before you buy a new item to replace it. You can change all of your lightbulbs to energy saving lightbulbs.
When you are not using an item, make sure you unplug it. Even if the item is not running, it is still drawing some amount of electricity. These are just a handful of simple ways you can save money around the house. There are so many more ways you can save money. Like opening a saving account for instance! Start by having a look at this widget:
Frugal Tip #11 – Free Entertainment
Here are some more frugal living tips that may surprise you. You probably think that if you are saving money, then you cannot go out and have fun. That is not the case. You may not be able to go out and drop hundreds of dollars a night, but you can still go out. There are many ways for you to have a good time at little to no cost. There are many free concerts available during the warmer months. Google them to find out where they are in your area.
You can go to high school sporting events. Most of the time these are free or if they are special games, they are low cost. You can get your books from the library instead of the book store. Many museums are free, you just have to look for them. You can go on hikes or bike rides on walking trails.
You can use websites like Groupon that offer discounted prices for events. If you want to go out for food and drinks with friends, stick to happy hour. You can find some really good food and drinks deals during that time. You could choose to have a drink at home with friends instead of going out and buying drinks at a bar for triple the price.
There are many ways to live and spend less money so that you are able to get out and stay out of debt. This article presents you some easy tips for cutting costs and saving money. There are many more ways to save money, you just have to be a little more creative. You do not always have to spend money to have a good time. In addition to getting yourself out of debt, you may begin to realize that you can have just as much fun without spending a lot of money. If you really want to decrease your debt and spend less money, there are some excellent tips and tricks contained in this article.
Julia Peoples is a long-time business manager focused on providing decision making assistance to the public. She works with people at key points of their lives who are making important retirement and financial decisions. She has had many articles published that educate the public on sound financial decision making.
Julia writes for those who are working towards financial freedom or a better understanding of how finances work. She has shared her financial insights with individuals on a one on one basis for years.