Being frugal doesn't have to mean clipping out a coupon here and there or driving an extra two miles to save 12 cents a gallon once in a while. These days, frugality has really become a lifestyle. To be frugal means to make subtle lifestyle changes that over time help you to live a more financially-free life. That's a big deal, and being part of those changes in others makes me feel good, which is a big part of why I enjoy writing about frugal tips so much. So, today I'm going to tell you about a few subtle lifestyle changes you can make that will help you become even more frugal.
Change your coffee habits.
When I moved from West Palm Beach to Portland, one of the first things I noticed was that there were tons of coffee shops in Portland. I couldn't imagine that all of them could be profitable. Boy, was I wrong! Everyone here seems to grab a $4 cup of coffee every day on the way to work. Tons of people do it a few times a day. If you think about it, that really adds up!
The most expensive coffee in my local grocery store is a can that makes about 40 cups and costs 14 bucks. That breaks down to 35 cents per cup of coffee. So, stop going to expensive coffee shops! Invest a few bucks in a coffee machine and make your coffee at home. If you buy $4 cups of coffee three days a week, changing your habits and making your coffee at home will save you about $570 a year.
Plan to shop on your busiest days.
Grocery stores are evil! All retail stores are evil. When you walk in, they want to suck every dime they can out of your pocket. They spend tens of thousands of dollars hiring consultants that tell them where to put impulse buy types of products on their shelves. They go to great lengths to make sure that the longer you're in their store, the more money you spend. Don't become a victim of subliminal marketing!
From now on, plan to go grocery shopping on your busiest day of the week. You know, that day when you get done and you race to get home because all you want to do is lay back and relax! On the way home, go shopping. Why? You'll be in such a hurry that you'll be in and out! An act of Congress couldn't get you to stay in the store longer than you have to when you're in a hurry and the less time you spend, the less money you spend!
Kick the brands.
Brand management is an awesome thing for companies. With a more well-established brand that people recognize, companies are able to charge more money for their products. Granted, sometimes more money for extra quality is warranted. However most of the time, there's no difference in quality between the option that costs $5 and the option that costs $7.50.
Next time you go shopping, instead of buying your favorite brand of something, switch it up and buy the store brand. If you find it's just as good, you'll naturally go for that choice every time from then on because we naturally want quality for less. Do this every time you shop and soon you'll be surprised at how many store brand items you'll come to know and love!
Carry $20 in cash.
There are few things that I need cash for these days. Most things I want, I can get by with my debit card. And because I feel more comfortable carrying my debit card than I do wads of cash, I recently figured out that I had created a bad habit for myself. I don't like using cash. So, I stopped carrying it. At least once a week, generally more often than that, I would find myself in apposition where I needed $5 or $10 to buy something from a street vendor, for example. I'd rush to the closest ATM and pay $3 to get $20 and go buy the item.
About a month ago, I started making sure I always had $20 cash on me. Now I never carry more and seldom carry less. I feel comfortable knowing that if I lose my wallet, I'm not losing a ton of money and in the last month alone, I've saved at least $12 on ATM fees .
Before I broke the numbers down, I wouldn't believe that people pay over five hundred bucks a year for coffee, but it's the truth. It's amazing how much money subtle lifestyle changes can save you in the long run.
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