Your wallet probably feels a lot lighter now that the Holidays are over so here are some ways to be frugal with money as you enter the New Year. It was fun and exciting to go shopping for everyone you know or at least being very generous with pricey gifts for those very special few in your life, but it’s time to buckle down and be smart handling money again. Focusing on ways to be frugal with money can better help you plan out the upcoming year as well as plan for next year’s shopping spree for the Holidays!
1. Make a Budget
One of the most crucial ways to be frugal with money is to create a budget for yourself. This means taking some time out of your day to sit down and be honest with yourself about your expenses. Set realistic and achievable goals such as how much money you need to spend on gas for your car every week or how much money you need for groceries. It’s OK to overestimate a bit to give yourself some wiggle room.
2. Stick to Your Budget
If you make a budget, make sure you stick to it. Yes ladies, it’s tempting to go buy those cute shoes that have been screaming your name or go get your nails done again. The bottom line is that if you want to be able to do these things in the future, you need to start saving NOW and being smart about the way you handle your money TODAY.
3. Utilize Coupons and Student Discounts
For those of you lucky ducks in college, take advantage of any student discounts either online, at the mall, or at the movies. I never really cared or paid much attention to coupons while I was in school, but now that rent is expensive and gas is chewing on the side of my wallet, I am attentive to coupons and utilize them when I can. Target Red Cards and Stop & Shop Cards are fabulous – even if you’re saving $3 at the end of the day, it’s $3 you can use towards something else!
4. Play the Waiting Game
The rule of thumb is to think for up to 24 hours about an item you want to purchase before you actually buy it. If you need to stop and think about whether you should buy something or not, there is probably a good reason why you stopped to think. Those new boots would make an excellent addition to your collection…but wait, you have 2 other pairs that are extremely similar on the floor in your closet. It really stinks to wait especially when you’re an impulse shopper, but you will thank yourself for waiting later.
5. Prioritize Your Needs and Wants
Be smart about keeping an inventory of the things you already have and the things that you actually need. Food, water, gasoline, and rent (if you’re living alone) are necessities and therefore must be at the top of your list and must be paid for first. Yes clothes and shoes are necessary too but even if you’ve been wearing the same outfits since college, at least you have clothes. Take care of the most important needs first and then calculate how much of your income can be divvied up for miscellaneous and entertainment items.
6. Live by the List
How many of you make a list before you go shopping? Probably very few, right? I’m guilty of not always making a list too don’t worry. However, I’ve learned that when I do make a list before heading to the store, I tend to stick to the list and I rarely gravitate towards the things I don’t really need. Remember to live by the list!
7. Sign up for Sites That save
Groupon and Zulily are some of the best sites to use that will help you become a smart and savvy shopper! Don’t let the app version of the site lure you into using it too much, though! In life we need to adopt a healthy balance of knowing when to say no to things and when to say yes to things. Thanks to sites that help save we are able to find this healthy balance – learn how to keep an eye out for discounted items, things on sale, and best deals!
Learning how to be smart with money at a young age will serve you now and for the rest of your life! As Dave Ramsey would say, «If you will live like no one else [now], later you can live like no one else.» How will you start saving this New Year?