When some people go on a diet, they “starve” themselves until they reach their desired weight. It’s only natural that when the same people look for ways to be frugal, they try to cut their budget to shreds. The truth is, just as it pays to adopt a healthy lifestyle for weight control, the same commonsense approach applies to frugality.
Be Frugal: 16 Time-Tested Tips to Save Money
Cheaper isn’t always less expensive Some folks compare the price of products without factoring workmanship or product life into the equation. As a result, they end up paying more for several things of inferior quality than for one thing of high quality. Remember, it’s less expensive to buy good quality up front –– think “one and done.”
Hidden costs are visible The true cost of a purchase isn’t always visible. For example, when you buy a new computer, consider the cost of downtime, lost productivity learning the new system, and even software upgrades that may be required. Remember, hidden costs may be invisible to your eye, but they’re very visible to your wallet.
A penny can cost you dollars Sometimes the effort required to save a few pennies far exceeds the benefit. (For example, driving fifteen miles to save a few cents on gasoline.) Remember, if you spend less time trying to save pennies, you’ll have more time to make dollars — or to do something else of greater value.
New doesn’t make it better Some folks buy things simply because they’re new. The question is, “Does the new product offer significantly greater benefits than the existing one?” If not, don’t buy the hype. Remember to think before you jump.
Saving can cost you dearly Some folks bet that the likelihood of a catastrophe is so small that protection isn’t required. While that may save money in the short term, they’re gambling that a fire, flood, lawsuit, or illness won’t devastate them. Remember to protect your downside –– unless you’re willing to lose it all.
Pay now or pay later Think twice before trying to save money on an attorney, tax professional, or financial advisor. Experienced professionals often provide benefits that exceed their fee. Remember that just because you’re able to do something doesn’t mean you should.
Thanks for nothing Some folks fail to consider the cost of money during the buying process. When you finance a purchase, the interest you pay over the term of the loan doesn’t provide any benefit. Remember, if you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.
You can’t cut your way to wealth Some folks spend too much time trying to cut costs and too little time investing their money. Remember to invest your savings wisely, and you’ll earn money in your sleep.
Pass up this opportunity Some folks are actually more interested in buying something because it’s on sale, than they are in owning it. Remember, if you don’t need something, any sales price is too high.
Shop smart When you’re planning to buy something, take a moment to see if there are any promotions being offered. Remember, if some things are obvious in retrospect, maybe we’re not spending enough time searching for the obvious.
Pay up for that familiar name Some folks think that name-brand merchandise is superior to private label because the name sounds familiar. Remember, when you buy a name brand you’re also paying for its advertising.
Think no-brainer There are many ways to be frugal without sacrificing anything. For example, walk instead of taking a taxi; watch movies on streaming TV instead of always at the theater; brown-bag your lunch instead of going out. Remember, inexpensive pleasures are still pleasures.
Shop value rather than price Some folks use cost as the only criterion for a purchase. That’s unwise because products and services are rarely the same. Consider such things as the seller’s reputation, the quality of its goods, and the organization’s willingness to stand behind its product. Remember, you get what you pay for.
An ounce of prevention Some folks skimp on preventative maintenance to save money. They put off changing the oil in their car; they delay getting their house gutters cleaned; or they avoid going to the dentist for routine checkups. Remember to maintain your things today or they may come back to bite you tomorrow.
Don’t be so impulsive Some folks go into a store looking to buy one thing and walk out with a whole lot more. Stores understand this phenomenon. That’s why they showcase items close to the register. Remember to bring a list when you shop. That will reduce the urge to buy impulsively!
Waste not, want not There are many simple ways to stop wasting money. For example, some folks open credit card accounts to get store discounts, but they pay off the balance slowly, adding interest and possibly late fees. Other people run into a store without feeding the parking meter, only to find a parking ticket on the windshield when they return. (Ouch!) Last, some people maintain gym memberships or keep magazine subscriptions active even if they don’t use or read them. Remember to plug the holes before filling the bucket.
Be Frugal: Get More for Your Money
Being frugal doesn’t mean slashing your spending or depriving yourself of things that you enjoy. It means knowing the value of a dollar and making every effort to spend it wisely.
A word of caution –– It’s important to keep frugality in perspective. We can spend so much time scrutinizing our habits and worrying about money that it becomes all-consuming. While saving is a virtue, moderation is the balance of life. Remember, your money’s not worth anything if you don’t spend it — but spend and invest it wisely!