Living a frugal lifestyle is something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Humans are natural consumers, we see something and we are inclined to want it.
As children, we would beg and plead our parents for a toy, only to play with it for a couple of hours and move on.
So being frugal isn’t in our nature, normally, but we can slowly retrain our brains to be more frugal.
Let me just start out by saying, I was the LEAST frugal person ever. If I made $2.00, I would spend $3.00. So I understand how hard it can be to make the transition.
First of all, frugal does not mean cheap. Frugal simply means you spend less so you can live more. It’s a very appealing lifestyle.
Although it important to learn the positive habits of frugal people, sometimes it’s more helpful to see what we’re doing wrong first.
So here are 10 habits frugal people NEVER (EVER!) do.
Shop Without Comparing Beforehand
Frugal people don’t just say “I need a microwave” and buy the first one they see at BestBuy. They spend some time doing some research, comparing store options, and seeing if one has a coupon, special offer, or rebate. A lot of the time, you can find a great deal for almost any product if you’re willing to spend a couple of minutes researching before heading to the store.
Look at Brand Names
Frugal people aren’t looking to make extravagant, designer purchases. They know generic is (in most cases) just as good as the brand name. They don’t let fancy marketing and pretty logos drive their decisions.
Unless the quality of the brand name product is truly better than the generic, you can save yourself a lot of money opting for the generic.
Frugal people are budgeters. They sit down and create a budget every month. Every cent that they make has a place in their budget. They don’t just wing it. A lot of the debt we get into can be avoided if we simply budget and organize our finances. The only reason frugal people are on top of their finances is because they keep track of every dollar that comes in and out.
Buy Stuff Just Because It’s on Sale
This used to be a big one for me. I used to see a great deal and just HAVE to buy it. If you weren’t going to buy it at full price, do you really need it? If you’re buying something you don’t need just because it’s a good price, you’re not saving money. You’re wasting it.
Ignore Their Health
Again, Frugal does not equal Cheap. Frugal people know that although eating off the dollar menu is more wallet-friendly in the moment than buying fresh fruit and vegetables, it will affect their health (and pockets) down the line. Frugal people take care of their health and wellbeing, they know the enormous costs associated with being unhealthy in the long run and they are aware of the importance of medical coverage.
Throw Away Leftovers
In fact, most frugal people cook in bulk on purpose to have plenty of leftovers and save money on their meals. What do you do with your dinner leftovers? Do you throw them away? Or put them in the fridge to throw them away a week later? The second your done with your meal, you should get your Tupperware out and prepare your lunch for the following day. Put it in your lunchbox straight into the fridge so in the morning you don’t even have to think about it, you just grab it and go.
Pay Bills Late
When you pay bills late you pay interest. Interest is the most unnecessary and avoidable expense imaginable. And the best way to avoid paying interest all together is only purchasing things you can afford. Although that’s easier said than done for most. But this goes back to setting up a budget for the month and writing down when payments are due.
Don’t try to remember when a bill is due, set up a planner or bullet journal and keep track of every bill so you don’t get sucked into the deep black hole that is interest.
Go To The Mall Often
The mall = temptation. Unless you have incredible self-control or don’t take your wallet, the mall is not a place you should visit for ‘fun’ or to pass the time. Chances are, you’ll see something that catches your eye and convince yourself to ‘live a little’ and buy it.
Or you’ll see a sale that’s just too good to pass up. Stores will always have sales. There will always be an incredible price on x product.
If you don’t want to spend money, don’t go to the mall (or online stores).
Have A Large Cable Bill
What year are you living in? Do you even have time to watch those 800 channels? Cable is becoming a thing of the past, but they’re prices are still absurdly high. With services like Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Go, there is no reason to pay upwards of $100 for TV.
In fact, if you decided to get all three of these, your monthly bill would still be lower than a traditional cable package.
They Don’t Try To Keep Up With The Joneses
As Dave Ramsay says, “the Joneses are broke.” Frugal people aren’t trying to have the flashiest car, biggest house, or newest iPhone. They aren’t the types of people that are satisfied by materialistic things (although psychology would say no one is. Human are happier spending money on experiences, but that’s a post for another day!). They also don’t care what people think. They don’t care if they have an older cell phone or jeans that went out of style a year ago. They seek satisfaction in other ways and are more comfortable with themselves than most.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a big problem in society nowadays, especially with the rise of social media. People try to keep up with the perfect, curated lives they see on Instagram. Just remember, no one is posting their credit card debt on their feed! They’re only showing you the highlights of their day. Just because a fitness Instagrammer has 42 pairs of shoes doesn’t mean you need more than your two pairs! Beyond that ‘status symbol,’ you’ll never need those exaggerated amounts of anything.