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We could all stand to be more frugal. After all, who doesn’t like to save money? But it isn’t always easy to curb our spending habits, and sometimes trying to find the best deal can feel like a chore. Unfortunately, entering the frugal lifestyle isn’t the easiest thing to do. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to help make it a smoother transition. With that in mind, here’s my advice on how you can break into frugal living.

1. Start Slow

Sometimes it can be difficult to make changes, and while some of us possess the fortitude to quit our bad habits cold turkey, the rest of us need to ease into transition. That’s why it’s best to take it slow when adopting the frugal lifestyle. Maybe you start by just cutting down on the number of times you go out to eat a week and cook a meal or two from home. Or you start to check for coupons online before you go out to shop. Taking baby steps towards frugality can help make it easier to stick with your new lifestyle.

2. Track Everything

How much are you spending each week? How much are you saving? Paying closer attention to how you’re managing your money can help you identify what areas of your life would most benefit from some frugal practices. Not only that, but tracking yourself can help turn frugality into a game! Each month is a new chance to beat the months prior; an opportunity to spend less and save more.

3. Really Think About What You’re Buying

Every time you’re about to purchase something, really take a moment to consider what it is you’re buying and why you’re buying it. Not only can this habit keep you from making impulsive purchase decisions, but it can also help you reevaluate your choices. In that brief moment of reflection, you might discover that you’re needlessly paying more for a name brand, or that you’d actually save more if you bought two smaller portions instead of the “family-sized” box.

You might even discover that you’re buying more than you actually need for the week. Do yourself the favor and take time to really see if your hard-earned money is being put to good use.

4. Learn to Be Self-Reliant

Whenever you go out to eat or hire a handyman, you’re paying extra for the cost of someone’s labor. Learning how to cook your own meals or how to fix your leaky faucet could save you a ton of money in the long run. Try to take a little time each week to educate yourself on how to take care of a small task. Pick up a DIY book or two, enroll in a class or just ask a friend who’s in the know to show you how. Every lesson you learn is another step toward a frugal lifestyle.

5. Do What’s Easiest and Best for You

Not every frugal habit is going to stick, and that’s OK. Frugality can mean different things to different people. While some folks might take enjoyment in thrifting and hunting down a bargain, others may just want to cut out coupons and garden to save on vegetables. Find what habits work best for you and you’ll be better able to stick to a frugal lifestyle. Remember: Frugal doesn’t mean you’re cheap, it means you’re smart with money and know when it’s worth spending.

Adopting a frugal lifestyle is a great way to maximize your savings potential. While the changes may be difficult to manage at first, your new money-saving habits can soon become second nature. Believe me, you won’t miss that extra night of take-out once you see the dollars in your savings!

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  • heavyw8t

    The hard part comes when you have already trimmed all the fat from your budget and there is still too much month left at the end of the money. I have been living like a poor man for years and I am used to buying cheap food at dollar stores and not really having much of a life. Right now, even retired on what should be plenty of money, I seem to find places to spend it. And not frivolous things. Renovations on my house, including refinishing cabinets, painting, backsplash, laminate floor…. then on to the bathroom, then the living room. All done in time to once again not be able to take the fall trip to the mountains I have been promising myself for 2 years. It’s tough for everybody. Keeping track of where your dollars go, as the article states, is key to making sure you aren’t wasting your money.

    • heavyw8t

      I wanted to add something I neglected to mention. Just as I started getting somewhat ahead, I had a pet care emergency and had to open a new credit line to take care of that. (My dog comes first in my life. I will go without food so she can be fed if it ever gets to that point. My money problems are not her money problems.) My credit is not horrible (mid to high mid 600s) but not as good as it should be. Frugal living is just something to which I have become accustomed over the last 10 years or so, and by now it is second nature to me. It is not that hard once you make a plan. Plan your work, work your plan.

      • Donna Bannecke

        I totally understand, an emergency with one of my dogs, who are my family, had me in a bad spot. I also took advantage of the special credit for vet visits. It can come in very handy but DO NOT miss a payment, be late with a payment, or fail to pay it off within the interest free period or you will never get the balance down. The interest rates are worse than a loan shark’s and if they get a chance to throw all the accrued interest on it, you’ll be paying forever.

        • heavyw8t

          I know how they are. They will be paid off 45 days before the deadline.

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