How to cut grocery costs all year?
Are you stuck in the perpetual cycle of earning more, spending more, and finding it hard to Get out of debt? Check these 40 money-saving habits that will help you gain control of your finances, get out of debt, retire earlier than you have to, and gain financial freedom.
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What are 3 types of spending?
Do you know there are 3 types of spending.
- Fixed spending
- Variable spending
- Impulse spending.
First two are essential for our survival. We have certain fixed expenses for living, food, transportation, clothing, education and medical. No matter how much we try to control these expenses, there is a limit. Thanks to something called Inflation. Variable expenses are for things that crop up every now and then. Going out for dinner, gifts, parties, books, latest gadgets, upgrades etc. Not all of these variable spending is bad. But if it is not managed well, it can get out of control pretty fast.
The worst of these 3 is impulse spending. It did not exist up until the 1950s, even until the 1970s. After WW 2, industrialization and modernization has introduced it to us with the concept of disposable income. If our forefathers are listening to us, they will wonder why the heck would anyone dispose of their income? Strange but it’s true for most developed and developing countries, where credit is available freely.
We spend too much on things that most often do not add any particular value in our lives. When those things do not help us, we go out and get better, more expensive options for the things that we never needed in the first place. When we do that, we forget to throw out old things and now we get surrounded by old, new things and the worst of all the debt that we accumulated in hoarding things.
How do I stop my spending habits?
- Know what triggers you to spend the money. Is it a bargain deal? Is it a shiny object? A new fashion trend? A new upgrade to your phone or other gadgets?
- If it’s a bargain deal, pause your sales and promotion email and texts. Best is to unsubscribe from them.
- If credit card spending is out of control, switch to using the cash for 90 days for all your essential needs. Since many service providers offer automatic payments, you need to only manage your variable expenses with cash. Try Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope system. He explains it in detail in his book Total Money Make-Over (Affiliate Link) Dedicate a definite amount for your most common and basic spending categories. Use the cash in that envelop only for purchases of necessary items in that category. Once it’s gone, no more spending in that category. Therefore planning is very crucial for the cash envelope system to work.
What are Good money-saving habits?
Change your money vocabulary
Most people have certain money vocabulary they inherit from their parents and close friends. This vocabulary becomes a part of our lives from early on and subconsciously, we form beliefs about money from them. Some of the most common money vocabulary is “ I am poor”, “ I can’t afford this”, “ I need to upgrade my lifestyle because everyone else around me has upgraded theirs’. “ I have to work very hard to earn money” . “ I can not get out of debt”. “I will simply charge my credit card and will pay later when I can” “ Bigger house is better” “ Being Frugal is being cheap” etc.
These beliefs can stay with us for a really long time and can limit our inherent earning, saving and investing potential. But you know what?You can change your money vocabulary with little practice and consistency. Use Switch Words and see your finances improve!
Replace some of the common sentences you often use such as:
- Being frugal is being cheap while saving is being economically wise.
- I am in debt to I am getting out of debt
- I have to work very hard to earn money to I have to work smart to earn money
- I am poor to I have the potential to become financially wise and rich
- I can’t afford this ever to I will plan for this purchase in X months/ weeks or I’m capable of doing everything I set my mind on
- Bigger house is better to I choose to use every space in my house wisely
- I need to upgrade my phone. Everyone else around me has upgraded their phones to I will stick with basic service and use it fullest before considering an upgrade
In addition to above tips, I highly recommend two books to help you change your money vocabulary. Every word has Power: Switch on Your Language and Turn on Your Life by Yvonne Oswald and Switchwords: How to Use One Word to Get What You Want by Liz Dean.
Carry an attitude of gratitude
When you practice gratitude regularly, it helps you be content with what you have and where you are. Being content keeps you away from spending money on unnecessary things you will never need or want.
Practice daily gratitude with this simple Gratitude List.
Let go of comparison
Do you know how much money and time we all can save with this single habit of letting go of comparison?
How many times have you updated your lifestyle, your wardrobe, your gadgets, just to keep up with the latest trends? I have been guilty of doing this many times in my early 20s. I used to upgrade my cell phone, my wardrobe with every season and every new style. So much money just wasted to keep up with the people around me, including family, friends and colleagues.
This stopped when I started reading about personal finance and got interested in earning passive income. I started to switch off the lifestyle upgrade craving and immediately put my mind into saving up for first real-estate investment. It took some time but it was well worth it. I wish someone had just told me to let go of comparison in that decade of my life.
When you practice gratitude and change your money vocabulary, it is easier to let go of comparison attitude.
Keep good company
The Financial Freedom Journey is very rewarding journey and yet it can get challenging, lonely quickly. In last decade or so, many people around the world are getting aware about financial freedom or independence. But it takes a lot of courage and discipline to stick with the good money principles to stick here long enough.
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. Epictetus
Surround yourself with like-minded people who are passionate about getting out of debt, staying out of debt and follow simple life.
It makes all the difference to keep you motivated when the challenging times comes and you are working towards retiring earlier than you have to.
Now, you will ask what this has got to do with money saving habit. Loving yourself does not meaning spending more on yourself. It means being content with who you are, in your core and not getting lost in the world of keeping up with appearances.
On an average, people spend 2 times more on things and upgrades they do not truly need. Juliet Schor describes this mindset in her book – The overspent American: why we want what we don’t need.
We no longer just compare ourselves with our neighbors and friends, but we compare ourselves with celebrities on social media. These celebrities have at least 30 times more disposable income than us. Their income is consistently growing and ours is consistently reduced with more inflation. There is just no way to keep up with the changes in the trends and styles.Know the difference between your true needs and someone else's wants. Remember personal finance is PERSONAL to you!
When you keep adding things in your life, make sure they align with your life goals and values.
Stefanie O’Connell has written an excellent article on this topic. Check it out here.
Create realistic money goals for saving and investments.
Once you understand your needs and wants, know your income and essential expenses, it is time to create realistic money goals for savings and investments. Personal finance gurus recommend following a 50-30-20 principle for managing your income and expenses. According to this rule, you should limit your needs (expenses) up to 50%, wants up to 30% and save at least 20% of our take home pay.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi explains this well in her book ” All your worth”. It is the most recommended book by all Personal Finance Gurus.
This rule is good to follow for maintaining a good financial health. But not all of us can manage to save 20% of our take home after-tax income. Sometimes, the season of our lives demand more from us and we may need to hire someone else to help us get things done at home and at work. And, that is OK for some time. But no matter how much you earn, try to save at least 10% of your after-tax income and slowly increase this amount as the season of your life changes to give you room for saving more.
Related Article- 52 Cool Ways to Save Money and Get out of Debt Fast !
Automate as much as you can.
If thinking about money makes you anxious, automate as much of your savings and essential monthly bill payments as possible. Even if you like working with numbers and geek out on keeping up the financial spreadsheets like me, automating certain tasks helps you save money.
E.g when you set up automatic bill payment of certain utilities like the internet, phone, you get a 10-12% discount on your monthly rates. Plus you do not have to worry about missing payments and late fees.
If you do not like service providers to automatically bill your bank, set frequent reminders for bill payments. Use my handy bill payment tracker and never pay late fees on missed payments.
For automatic savings, you can set a definite amount to be transferred to your savings account on a given date. Monthly saving is a good practice. Those of you who work on freelance projects, you can do this by creating a separate savings goal inside of your regular savings account and setting reminders to save money when you get income from your freelance projects.
Find accountability partner to reach your life goals and money goals
Having someone to motivate you and work alongside you on your goals helps a lot, especially if you are new to managing your financial life. Often well meaning family, friends, and mentors keep us on track to reach our goals on time without feeling alone.
Accountability partner is great in helping you stay motivated throughout your journey to achieve your money goals. If you are someone who like to learn and talk about finances, you can join money management Podcasts or Blogs like this.
On this blog, I am currently running a $1000 saving challenge until Thanksgiving 2020. Join me and save in these 12 weeks. Remember, you can set your life goals and work on them incrementally with like-minded people. Struggle is not required.
There are many podcasters and bloggers who help us in our financial freedom journey. My favorite ones are ” Money Mustache” and “Making Sense of Cents” . If you prefer the forums and like to keep your anonymous stats, Mr. Money Mustache also have a great forum where people like you and me help each out navigating the world of money without being pushy and annoying. My favorites forum topics are ” Do it Yourself Discussion!” , “Post-FIRE” and ” Case Studies“- where you learn from others without having to go through common money mistakes.
Related Article- Thanksgiving 2020 Money Savings Challenge
Start saving early. No matter how much you save.
If you start saving early in your life, you reap the benefits of compound interest, as you have many years to let your money grow. even if you did not think about saving earlier in your 20s or 30s or even 40s, there is no better time than now to start saving. It does not matter how much you save, as long as you are consistent in saving every week or every month.
Saving is a good habit. But automatic saving every week or month is even a better habit. Set it once and forget it. Just see your money grow earning interest in the high interest savings account. E.g Ally Bank
If saving regularly is difficult for you, start small. Just $5 a day adds up quickly. For saving your first $1000, you can set to save $100 a week for 10 weeks to be automatically deducted from your checking account every Friday or Monday. In less than 3 months, your first emergency fund is ready. If you can not wait for 3 months, just increase this automatic saving amount.
Related Article– 15 Easy Steps To save $1000 Fast
Track your money like nobody’s business. Be your own CFO
Be very very good at tracking your money every week. If you do not know where your money goes every single month, you will not be able to attain your personal and financial goals with clarity. Most of us work for others. They have dedicated professionals to manage their finances. Be your own CFO and manage your life by taking charge of your money. It does not matter if you are good with numbers or not, just start noting down your income and expenses like nobody’s business.
If you are doing a job for someone else, you know your weekly or monthly income. However, it is surprising that many of us do not know our weekly or monthly expenses.
If you use more than one credit card for regular expenses, it will be all the more difficult to have a clear view of your monthly expenses. If you are comfortable using a software to track your income and expenses, you can switch to Mint. They make it easy for you to view your monthly income and expenses in one single report.
If you do not like to use software like me, just a plain paper and pen will do the same job. We use this simple one page tracker every single month.
Make simple budget and stick with it
Budget is your best friend- or only friend. You do not need a fancy and complicated budgeting system. Keep it simple and very short. We usually use the simple one page income and expense tracker mentioned above as our budget.
Mind the gap between income and expenses
The idea of keeping your budget simple is to have your sight fixed on the gap between income and expenses. If you are like most Americans, this gap is rather narrow. We live by our glorious credit card system. It works as long as we use the credit available to us wisely.
It fails miserably when you can not pay what you borrowed. So, no matter how much you earn, always keep a healthy gap between income and expenses. How much? More gap, the better.to give you a fair idea, aim at least 20% gap. So e.g if your take home salary after taxes is $5000 a month, never exceed your expenses beyond $4000. This is where that 50-30-20 budgeting principle comes in handy, in that you automatically mind the gap between income and expenses by saving 20% of your take home pay every month.
If this 20% gap is not possible for your current life situation, start small. Start keeping aside few dollars every month from your income and grow this gap as you find more ways to create room in your budget.
Related Article-52 Cool Ways to Save Money and Get out of Debt Fast !
Reduce your recurring expenses.
So far, do you see the pattern of these money saving habits?
It all starts with knowing your income and monthly essential expenses. If you have taken first step of noting down your monthly bills, you will see the total amount of recurring bills you pay every single month or quarter.
Just cut one recurring bill such as cable or monthly subscription to a magazine or gym. And save annual fees for that service. If it is difficult to decide which service you want to cut, start with a smaller and easier one. Then slowly move on to either cutting the recurring bill altogether or replacing it with a cheaper/ economical alternative.
Keep de-cluttering non-essential services every quarter
During COVID-19 pandemic, you may have noticed that many of these services you pay for regularly are not being used. Better yet, you may have found a better alternative for those services.
Can you get away from those 200+ entertainment channels that made you spend hours on the couch and neglect your health? Yes!
Can you cut the monthly subscription to the beauty box or the craft box? Yes!
Can you cut your monthly bill to the club that was anyway not open during COVID-19? Absolutely!
COVID-19 Pandemic was a wake up call to many of us who spent monthly or annual fees at gyms or fitness centers. The best exercise is available for free. You don’t need fancy equipment or heavy weights. You body weight helps you in getting in shape and toned up. Going out and doing that exercise in fresh air under the sun and barefoot on grass has multitude of added benefits. Never pass it up ever!
Don’t borrow more than you can pay. Make it very hard to spend money online.
Back in 1950s and 60s when people used to pay for everything in cash, it was easy to pay for things that they could afford. Rapid industrialization and globalization gave us an easy access to credit cards in our hands. Therefore, it is very hard to see how much we are borrowing to spend every month.
One sure way to stop the perpetual cycle of spending money is to always keep check on your income and expenses. When our income is fixed, we should keep our variable expenses to bare minimum. Use your credit card to pay for the fixed expenses every month and immediately pay them off during that month. Whatever amount is left from paying off the credit card is yours to save, invest and spend.
Pay off your credit card balance every month
This is a basic money saving tip but most of us are not trained to pay off credit card balances ever month. We tend to see the minimum balance payment in big black bold letters and just pay that much. It saves us money at the moment but the balance keeps adding up and interest does too.
One sure way to always pay off credit card balance is to never spend more than you can pay for in a given month.Credit is your best friend if you know how to work with it smartly!
Related Article- Cash is NOT always the King
Make a wish list and stick with it, including a grocery list
This is the best money tip I received when I first started working. My mother told me to keep a tiny diary in my backpack ( yes I’ve always been a backpack girl) for noting down all my expenses and wants for the month. I was very sincere initially for a few months but when I started living on my own I rarely made any attempt to note down my expenses and wishes. Fast forward a few years later, I was consistently earning more and had nothing to show for it, except frivolous spending on stuff.
That’s when I dug out my old diary and saw how much I was able to save when my income was comparatively less. I saw old entries in my wish list and realized some of the things I never really needed or wanted down the line. Since then I always keep a monthly and yearly wish list for our household and us individually.
Don’t forget to do this for your grocery shopping as well. See how much money you can save when you shop with the list in your hand or on your phone. If you keep this habit for long, you will notice that you do not get the urge to shop impulsively as often.
Learn to cook basic meals at home
Cooking is a life skill. We need to eat every day so why not find out about what you’re putting into your body? William Katt
Everyone of us must know at least basic cooking. If you know how to cook healthy meals at home, you reap more benefits than just saving the money on take out food from restaurants. Your health gets better, your mind feels calm, and your wallet thanks you.
TIP- If cooking everyday is hard for you, keep a list of of your family’s favorite meals. Cook at least 2-3 meals from this list in bulk and freeze them.
Say no to food waste
Average American family shops way more grocery than they need for a week or a month. Many of us shop at big box warehouse stores to save money on the bulk food. But do we actually save money on food bought at deep discount, if we also let that food go to waste?
Not really. Take a look at your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Do you have any food there which is past its expiry or simply has gone bad? If yes, you are paying way too much for the food.
Say no to food waste. Buy only what you need, love and consume on a regular basis. Meal plan regularly before hitting the grocery stores.
Related Article- Top 10 Frugal Pantry Staples To Save Money on food
Do you know that average American portion size is more than most Asian countries? With amble food supply, this portion size has only grown in last few decades. We have high percentage of obesity and related illnesses in this country.
There is a distinct difference between serving size and portion size. USDA uses the servicing size (1 cup, 1 slice, 1 bag) in their Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Portion control, on the other had, measures the food or drink you actually consume in one sitting.
Portion control is not that hard if you practice it daily. The best way to go about it is change your dinner plates. Choose a smaller plate size like a salad plate or a small bowl. Check out this handy guide on portion control shared by MyFitnessPal
Just see how portion control helps you in controlling the food-waste, reduce your waist line and increase your monthly bank balance ( or bottom line) over a period of time.
Get off soda. Replace it with filtered plain water
2020 has given us many reasons to check our personal eating habits. There is enough research done on the harmful effects of soda. Why bother drinking it and increasing your intake of artificial sweeteners and preservatives in the soda. If you are still drinking soda everyday with every meal- you are missing out on the beauty and taste of plain filtered water. If you look at the amount of money you spent on soda over the last few months, you will notice that you could have invested that money in a good quality water filter.
But, I get it. Soda has become a part of our live. It is very hard to replace this habit. So, start small, choose to drink it less often. Skip one drink a day, slowly build it over a period of time.
See the amount of money you save every week by just drinking plain filtered water. Same goes for bottled water from the stores. Almost all marketers now claim that the plastic water bottles are BPA-free, but why pay for them when you can have your own filtered water at home.
You can get a simple water filter pitcher from $20 these days. We invested in over the countertop Aquasana water filter system a few years back for under $100. Their service is great. The only recurring expense in our household for water is filter replacements, which we do every 4 months.
Learn basic first-aid health care and home remedies.
Do you know that most common ailments can be treated with simple herbal remedies and health foods? Natural health promoters emphasize that small symptoms such as medium fever, cough, cold is good for us. It’s our body’s way of talking to us and getting rid of accumulated toxins. Do not suppress these symptoms with over the counter medicines such as Tylenol or any other fever/ pain reliever or cough suppressants.
There are a lot of resources available for first aid health remedies. I love a simple book written by Rosemary Gladstar – Herbal recipes for Vibrant health for the entire family.
We also stock up few first-aid herbal remedies and first-aid homeopathy kit for common cough, cold, runny nose and other simple family medical emergencies. The complete handbook of homeopathy is great to read and use for selecting the remedy. Always consult your physician before using any of the health treatments suggested on this website.
Preferably outside the paid gym, out in the fresh air, on the ground and barefoot. But if you like working out in the gym or a yoga studio, all power to you. It is one expense that will help you get more benefits in the long run.
But if you have paid for a gym membership or yoga classes and do not go there to work out, please cancel their subscription and ask for a refund. Pronto!
De-clutter your life- home, office, desk and to-Do list
Sell stuff you no longer need and use in your home. One of the easy way to make money is sell your gently used or unopened stuff on second-hand shops like Mercari and Poshmark. You will not only get the clutter out of your life but also discover another side gig to make extra income.
If you are always running to get stuff done on your to-do list, try de-cluttering it as well. Just keep a few things on there that are absolutely essential for now and important for near term future goals. When you overwhelm yourself with never-ending tasks, you have no time left to keep a check on your finances. We usually keep a small running list of Now, Later and Never.
Related Article- How to de-clutter your life in 2021?
Spend time on experiences not on things
Do you remember what did you buy last Christmas for your family? Or do you remember what new gadget you received as a gift from your parents in your college? Some of us do but most of us do not remember the things like we remember our heartfelt experiences like visiting a memorable place with our loved ones or spending a summer at grandparents. If you spend time and money and gaining experiences that add value to your life, they give you lasting happiness. Sure going away on vacations is costly but if that vacation is going to give you joy, why not plan for that vacation by saving in advance?
This way you curb discretionary spending on things that you do not need. One way to save for vacation or any other experience is to start creating a money goal for it and invest every month towards that goal.
Read everyday about money
Investing in yourself, you health, your skills is very rewarding. In this digital age, everyone can learn a few skills using free education resources. If you do not need to go back to college and earn an official degree, just audit the lessons given by online universities like e Cornell, Wharton etc. I have collected a list of free education websites under Resources page of this website.
Take care of your key possessions- especially talent
Learn to take very good care of your possessions. I’m not saying go overboard and possess more stuff than you need. But the emphasis here is on Key Essential possessions i.e your home, your vehicle, your work essentials, your skills/ talents. But first and foremost is your physical and mental health. This topic needs more explanation and I will write about it separately.You are richer than you think! What are you thinking? Think and Grow Rich.
Live in smaller home
Explore living in a smaller home. It will save you money, time to clean and maintain, stress and most importantly it will give you a chance to retire faster than you imagined.
If you are living in a bigger home and can not move into smaller home, try using just a few rooms. Let out vacant rooms for a monthly rental income.
Unfriend sales and promotions
Advertisements are around us all the time. They are reaching us through TV, internet, cell phones, bill boards, mails, emails, YouTube and even through our social media. There is no way of escaping them in this digital world. But you have a choice to not pay attention to them and disabling them on most channels of communication. Even if marketers decide to invade our privacy by multiple attempts to reach us, know that you have no obligation to watch them and make any purchasing decisions based on them. Always follow needs vs wants philosophy and guard your wallet from pesky marketers.
Do no spend challenge for a day, a weekend or a week at least
Try doing a simple NO SPEND challenge for a day, weekend or a week. Make it a fun activity where you challenge yourself and your family (if they are willing), to not spend any money on unnecessary things during this small challenge. If you have not done it ever, start small, like a weekend no-spend challenge. If you enjoy it, extend it a few more days and make it a week-long no-spend challenge.
If you must, do comparison shopping
- No coupon, no shopping.
- know the best price you can pay for a product or a service.
- Learn to walk away if your best price doesn’t work out for you
- Never pay for extended warranty
- Read the fine print with big magnifying glass.. never pay for hidden fees
Even when you are not frugal person, everyone must learn and know how to negotiate. It’s an essential life skill.
Before you buy anything and I mean anything, know that there is always a room for negotiation over the asking retail price. As a serious buyer, you must ask for a fair price that you are willing to pay for a product or a service. With the recent hype on online shopping, many of us are forgetting to negotiate, often paying instantly without a second thought. Amazon and other online shopping websites, make it very hard for a customer to practice negotiation. It’s usually easier to negotiate when it comes to shopping at the store in-person. But the big stores having multiple chains such as Walmart, Target, Costco etc. also set a price and don’t expect us, buyers, to negotiate with them.
Do not buy extended warranty
How many times have you been offered to buy an extended warranty for a brand new item for a reduced cost? Don’t fall for it, especially if you are going to use a credit card for purchasing it. Most credit cards offer extended warranty on electronics and other items. Even if you buy extended warranty at the time of original purchase, you most likely will not need to use it for a long period of time and eventually forget about it later.
Maintain your home and yard yourself
Maintaining a clean and safe home takes time and efforts. But if its left unattended, it costs more than regular up-keep. Busy people like us often pay someone else to tackle care of our yards and home repairs. Some home repairs do need professionals, but most smaller repairs and maintenance around the house can be done with little training. YouTube is filled with awesome DIY home repairs videos. Next time you need to call a handyman to fix that leak, head over to YouTube and give it a try. With every small repair, you will get confidence.
Do simple home repairs yourself
I personally like to try to fix things up if I can at our home, except the electrical work. Small things like fixing the leaks, installing the faucet, patching the walls, painting have saved us a ton of money over the years. I started with smaller projects and slowly got the confidence of taking over a little large projects.
On the topic of cleaning your car, Family handyman also teaches basic home repairs in their DIY University where professionals take classes. Their basic classes are free. If you are up for a complex project, try their premium workshops.
I have also included some free resources on this blog for Free workshops and classes for basic home repairs. Check them out here
Related Article- Resources for Saving Money, Time and Energy
Let go of expensive gifting habit
Do you like giving expensive gifts to your loved ones? I do too. It was one the biggest expenses in my 20s before I decided to save for my first home. Then I decided to make simple but meaningful gifts for my friends and family. They were not excellent but were made with love and a lot of thought.
Now, I tend to look for creative ways to make gifts for my loved ones. Thankfully. Pinterest is here for my rescue. Check out some of my favorite gift ideas on Pinterest
Related Article- Black Friday Deals 2020-Wish-list of our Frugal household
Stop buying lottery tickets
How many millionaires or billionaires do you see who made their fortune from lottery or MEGA million lotto? Not very many, but you sure will see many millionaires offering this service to common people, getting rich every time you and me buy a $2 or $5 or $10 ticket.
Instead invest them in an investing app such as Robinhood.
Stop following fashion trends
- Say no to upgrades you will never need nor use
- Say no to unlimited anything except joy!
Be loyal to your goals.
If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us. – Jim Rohn
No matter where you are in your financial freedom journey, set goals regularly. Work with your family , friends and accountability partners to achieve those goals. Be the loyal followers of your goals to stay on track and avoid temptations to fall back into the trap of consumer debt.
Kick-off smoking and alcohol consumption
If you regularly consume large quantities of Alcohol and Cigarette, please kick off that habit sooner. In US, people spend an average of $150 to $600 every month on these habits. this does not include eating out, hosting parties where alcohol is served. Imagine all that money waiting to grow in your savings or money market account!
As per CDC, the smoking related illness cost additional $300 million every year. If you want to quit your stressful jobs that are causing you to smoke and drink more, you must nip this habit in the bud and take disciplined approach to quit smoking as soon as possible.
What money-saving habits are actually costly in the long run?
Until now, we covered many frugal, easy money saving habits that help you get out debt, pay off your mortgage and retire early. But be careful about some money saving hacks suggested by some extreme Frugal people. Agree, their intention may be right in sharing frugal money saving tips. But watch out for some money saving habits that reduce the quality of your life and increase more headache for you in the long run.
If you have been reading this website for a while, you know that I am not an extreme minimalist or an extreme frugal millennial. Life’s true essentials such as a safe and protective home, good health and wellness, food, reliable transportation and your food cost good amount of money. I would never suggest to pinch your pennies for them.
- Buying processed GMO laden food at the nearby local stores may save you a trip to a good grocery store and it is OK once in a while when you have no other option. But doing this often and relying on fast food, junk food or food out of the plastic wraps will cost you more in health care later in life. You can buy fresh seasonally available and local produce at farmer’s market in few more dollars.
- Ignoring your health and sitting on the couch for hours surfing the internet or watching $8 a month Netflix. Yes I did say that cut the cable and switch to low cost entertainment. But the best Free entertainment is outside the home, away from that TV and that sofa. If you are living sunny areas where weather is great all over the year, you have no excuse sitting at home to save money. Go out, walk barefoot on the grass, run, play with your kids, your family. If you all like going out hiking or doing other outdoor activities that cost money, I would say go for it! Invest in those experiences.
- On the note of taking care of your health, another common money saving habits people vouch for is not doing regular medical check-ups. I agree the state of medical system right now is not great all over the world, but always schedule your annual health check-ups especially if you have underlying health conditions, family medical history or you are above 40 years of age.
- Buying low quality ultra-concentrated chemical cleaning products at Dollar Tree or at Family Dollar. In a pinch, they are ok. But these cleaning products have really nasty chemicals. If used consistently over a period of time, you can develop mild to severe allergies from their use. Instead, look for other economical ways to clean your home and surroundings. Remedies from Kitchen writes great tips to clean your home using simple household products.
- Buying latest fashion trends in clothing at Walmart or Forever 21 or any other retail outlets. They just do not last. Both the trend and the actual clothing. If you like variety in clothing, try investing in good quality clothing from better stores. You can take advantage of sales to reduce the cost of clothing or just learn to stitch a few basic clothing items such as scarves, kimono, shrug and skirts.
I’m sure there are many money saving habits I may be missing. Check out Lina’s article on the money saving habits that actually cost you more.
What are the top 5 money habits books?
Love your life, not theirs by Rachel Cruze
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Smart Money Smart Kids by Fave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze
The Budgeting Habit: How to Make a Budget and Stick to it! by S. J. Scott
This book is not specifically about money saving habits. But it is superb to cultivate and master any habit. A must read for all those who struggle to keep your New Year resolutions every year.
These are just a few of money saving habits I have applied myself over the last 20 decade. Pick up what you like and what suits you and the stage of life you are in. As with everything, start with a few handful of money-saving habits, continue practicing them for a few months, before giving up on them. Every new habit take at least 3 weeks to master.
Start with 1-2 habits a month. If it works to help you reduce chaos and increase your savings, continue with it until it becomes a second nature for you. Slowly over a period of time, keep adding one habit a month.
Share your wins!
Share what money-saving habits your practice.
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