Adopting a few frugal habits might be the answer if your personal finances need a complete overhaul. Maybe you're always broke at the end of the month, or maybe your spouse feels that you pay too much for everyday items. Whatever the issue, there are ways to get your budget back on track. For that matter, here are seven frugal habits that everyone should develop.
1. Buy a Modest Home
Don't fall for the hype that you need a big, expensive home. At the end of the day, you have to decide how much to spend on your home. But if you're looking to add frugal habits to your life, buying a modest house pays off in the long run. A cheaper house payment creates the opportunity to save money and achieve other financial goals. And the smaller your home, the less you'll spend on maintenance.
2. Drive a Sensible Car
Like your home, buying a cheaper car makes good financial sense. For some people, an expensive car is a status symbol or a reward for a job well done. To each his own. But if you want to pay off debt, build your savings account or plan for retirement, going with a sensible car keeps cash in your pocket. Plus, you'll pay cheaper personal property taxes and cheaper auto insurance.
3. Clip Coupons
It doesn't matter how much you earn or have in the bank, clipping coupons and looking for deals are excellent ways to save money. Subscribe to Sunday's newspaper, or check out coupon websites for the latest deals at your favorite retail stores. Joining email clubs is another way to find the best promotions and deals.
4. Live on Less than You Earn
In my opinion, this is one of the best pieces of personal finance advice. For some reason, people feel that they have to spend every dime they earn. But if you live on less than your income, you'll have a nice cushion to survive financial hardships, such as a job loss or illness.
5. Cook at Home
Who doesn't enjoy a meal at a nice restaurant? But the more you eat out, the more you'll pay for food each month. Not to say you can't enjoy a meal outside the house, but moderation is important. Rather than eat out three or four times a week, scale back to once a week. This also applies with lunch. Take a cooking class or research different recipes online for dinner, and then take your leftovers for lunch.
6. Forget Labels
Some people are loyal to a particular brand or label. This is their right. But if you're looking to adopt frugal habits, you need to realize that generic or no-brand products are often just as good — if not better. For example, Mr. Coffee has a one-cup coffee maker that’s about $30 cheaper than a Keurig, yet works just as good. And if you start buying generic brands at your local grocery store, you might discover that these products are just as tasty and useful as name brands.
7. Know What's Important
In life, you need to know what's important and place value on these things. For example, getting the biggest and best of everything may offer a sense of accomplishment. But spending all your disposable income to acquire stuff isn’t going to bring real happiness or contentment.
Frugality might be frowned upon by some, but it’s the best way to ensure you live within a budget, and that you have cash to meet your financial goals. What are other frugal habits to adopt?