If you’re someone who has become accustomed to being the first to throw down your credit card and buy your friends a round of drinks every Friday night, it can seem like an impossible feat to suddenly become frugal. There are daily habits of highly frugal people that I’ve heard of before and thought there was simply no way I’d be able to copy them, or in any way follow in the footsteps of people who are good with money. It's actually not all that difficult, though.
Before we get into it, let’s begin by acknowledging the fact that frugal people are not cheap. They’re not the kind of people sitting around hoping you’ll pay for their meals or drinks. Instead, they are those individuals who are simply wise with their money, and have adapted good (and smart!) spending habits. They don’t rely on other people to pay their way — they pay their own way. Living this type of frugal lifestyle is really all about focusing on the little everyday habits, and having the right mindset.
Truly frugal folk love saving money, and they’re good at it. If you’re like me and often have a hard time thinking about saving money, let alone actually doing it, trying to mimic some of these daily habits might be a saving grace for you, your wallet, and your bank account. By embracing some of these habits, you could soon see a big difference in the amount of money you’re saving, and feel more secure knowing you have money to fall back on in case of emergencies.
Here are seven daily habits of highly frugal people.
1. They Allow For Very Little Waste
How many times have you been out to dinner, only eaten half of your meal, and then — because it felt too inconvenient — opted not to take the rest of it home with you. Tsk, tsk! Think of how great the other half of your meal would be for lunch the next day, instead of having to fork over extra cash to buy another meal. The Globe And Mail did a profile on a family who’s aced the art of frugality, and one of their tricks — learning to never waste food. This applies to food prepared at home, as well, and not just meals eaten out at restaurants.
2. They Are OK Staying In
Speaking of eating at restaurants, highly frugal people are perfectly content with saying “yes” to a night in versus needing to buy their meals or drinks out on the town. As Forbes put it, dining out can be expensive. Frugal people have an understanding of the amount of money being saved by cooking meals in — equating to roughly thousands of dollars a year, according to Forbes. Even if someone is not much of a cook, learning to prepare three or four meals they like and eating them regularly can drastically change their finances, Forbes added.
3. They Buy Household Supplies In Bulk
When I lived in New York, I always bought the smallest packages of household necessities like toilet paper and paper towels — mostly because I didn’t feel like carrying large, bulky items back to my apartment, but also because I didn’t feel like spending the extra few dollars on the bulk items. “It will take me a long time to go through these,” I’d lie to myself. Then, I’d be back at the grocery store a week later buying more, and ultimately spending a lot more than I could have if I’d chosen to go bulk.
This is another point where frugal people are all the wiser. They choose bulks products because they know it allows them to save money in such a simple way. Business Insider discussed several tech executives who live frugally, and noted a trick personally used by Google cofounder Sergey Brin is buying household items in bulk at Costco.
4. They Think Long-Term When It Comes To Their Finances
H&R Block spoke to several financial experts about frugality, and a reoccurring theme was their habit to think about money in the long-term sense. One expert, Stephanie Halligan of The Empowered Dollar, said she pinches pennies and does it by thinking of her long-term plan. She noted this helps curb her impulse buying and save money here and there when she’s able. Frugal people, like Ginger of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, feel sacrifice now in the short-term will help you to meet your long-term financial aspirations.
5. They Try Not Spoil Themselves Every Day
Highly frugal people aren’t the ones you run into at the mall every evening, as they try to not spoil themselves everyday. This is not to say, however, that someone who is frugal will not splurge here or there on something they truly believe will bring value to their life. According to U.S. News & World Report, frugality is concerned with value, so even if the item is something a bit expensive, if it’s something the person really wants — like a nice vacation or even a more-expensive brand of food — they’ll allow room in their spending for it. Ultimately, they don’t use shopping as a hobby, and rather save their hard-earned cash for things they really want or need.
6. They’re Cool With Buying Consignment
Yes, frugal people will buy the big things they want here and there, but they’re also more than OK shopping used items to save a buck. For instance, according to Huffington Post, this includes shopping at consignment stores. One frugal family in particular that the outlet spoke to says they look for mega-markdowns (e.g., 75-percent) at department stores, and otherwise rely on consignment.
7. They Keep Money Aside In Case Of An Emergency
As we’ve gone over, I’m not the most frugal of individuals, so having an emergency fund was never something I felt was important. That was until recently when my car broke down in the middle of Miami and the mechanic needed $2,220 on the spot to handle the issue. I spent a lot of time moving money from one account to another to figure out how I was actually going to pay for this. Fox News discussed the importance of having an emergency fund, something they noted frugal individuals are inclined to do. They spoke to a frugal consumer who said he was adamant about having an emergency fund and added, “frugal is in.” According to Fox News, this is a very smart move by those with a frugal mindset, as neglecting to have an emergency fund can lead to excessive borrowing, family stress, and other long-term financial problems.
Now that we know some of the daily habits and mindsets behind our frugal peers, we can begin trying to incorporate some of these habits into our daily lives as needed. Remember that being frugal does not mean being cheap — so don’t be afraid to take some simple money-saving measures when you can!