Frugality is a lifestyle. Spending less so you can live more appeals to a lot of people. Practicing frugality often gets referred to as being cheap but there are distinct differences between the two.
Being frugal involves optimizing what you have by being creative. You want to establish a lifestyle that doesn’t revolve around spending and obtaining more things to be happy. Frugal people value experiences over things but don’t sacrifice the health or welfare of themselves or their family just to save a few dollars.
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Here are 30+ things frugal people usually don’t do.
1. Fail to Implement a Budget
Budgeting accurately helps keep your finances in order. This allows you to control where your money is going. Frugal people remain frugal and spend less because they implement a budget in some shape or form to remain on track.
2. Spend Money Every Single Day
There are some days when you don’t have to spend a dime. Having a ‘no spend day’ or a ‘no spend weekend’ is a financial challenge that requires creativity and a clear focus. But the more you do it, the easier it will become.
3. Choose Wants over Needs
Frugality helps put your needs before your wants by prioritizing what is most important to you. It's also important to be content with what you have. Greed and frugality do not mix well.
4. Have Enormous Cable Bills
Cable doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint. If you don’t even have time to watch television nor the money to fork over for a rising bill each month, try going without cable and using a cheaper alternative to watch shows and movies. Consider Netflix ($8/month), Hulu ($8/month) or Amazon Prime (with free two-day shipping on items for $99/year).
5. Waste Food
Wasting food is something everyone should try to avoid. Food is a privilege in some countries. It’s important to be mindful of what you eat and the food you buy so you can avoid waste. Throwing away food is almost identical to throwing money in the garbage. Frugal people eat all of what they buy.
6. Make Impulse Purchases Based on Emotion
Frugal people try to keep their emotions in check. They realize that retailers tend to create a sense of urgency with their products and appeal to consumers’ emotions in order to increase sales. Asking yourself if you truly need the item can bring your shopping impulses to a halt.
7. Buy Brand Name Items and Clothes to Make an Impression
The idea of buying expensive name brand and designer clothes really serves no purpose in the life of a frugal person. Clothes that look nice, fit well, and are on sale (bonus) will suffice. Why spend money over and over again if you can buy timeless?
8. Shop as a Form of Entertainment
Shopping as a habit is expensive and is usually done to fill a void. Frugal people try not to associate spending money with fun and entertainment. Frugal consumers find more enjoyable ways to lighten their mood and have fun.
9. Drive Cars They Can’t Afford
Driving a car that you can barely afford to make payments on is not a wise decision and will often leave you drowning in debt. Frugal people practically despise debt and some even drive older, more economical cars to avoid going into debt over a depreciating asset.
10. Ignore Vehicle Maintenance
Failing to maintain your vehicle and schedule timely repairs can result in having to pay thousands of dollars to fix big things later on. The frugal way to keep your car running well for longer is not to avoid maintenance and repairs, but rather budget for these expenses ahead of time. This way, you can take care of them quickly without causing financial strain.
11. Go the Most Convenient Route
Convenient practices like ordering dinner to avoid cooking it, paying for valet parking, or driving when you can walk or bike will eventually start to add up and deplete your funds. This is why frugal people try to avoid 'convenient' money traps.
12. Avoid a Great Deal
Frugal people don’t sit around all day staring at their bank accounts and thinking of ways to avoid spending any money. They know how to spend. They just wait for a great deal and snatch it up as fast as possible!
13. Use Credit Cards To Inflate Their Lifestyle
Using credit cards to spend more than you can afford will lead to greater money problems. You can use credit cards frugally by optimizing them for points, spending on items you would normally purchase, and paying off the balance in full each month.
14. Ignore Giveaways and Freebies
Whether you consider yourself a frugal person or not, we all should appreciate an occasional freebie or giveaway. It only takes a few moments to enter a giveaway or respond to an advertised freebie offer. It's typically a really good return on your invested time.
15. Run the AC or Heat When It’s Unnecessary
Frugal people are all about conserving energy and keeping utility costs low. They know that paying attention to the thermostat is worthwhile. There are several things you can do to avoid running the heat too soon and running your air conditioning too much.
16. Spend a lot on Gym Memberships
A gym membership can be a great source of motivation to help you get fit. However, a lot of people don’t fully utilize their gym membership given the amount of money they spend on it each month. On the low end, a gym membership generally costs around $58 or $696 per year. According to recent studies, about 67% of people with gym memberships don’t even use them. If you don’t go to the gym at least two or three times per week all year round you could be wasting quite a bit of money.
Whether you want a gym membership or not is your preference. But it would be wise to avoid a costly one and stick to free and natural workouts that you can do out in nature or in your home. There are plenty of mobile apps and YouTube videos to utilize. Used and affordable gym equipment is usually plentiful any time of year.
17. Believe Entertainment Is Expensive
A big part of being frugal is the ability to override the myth that you need to spend lots of money on entertainment. There are tons of free and low cost ways to entertain yourself and your family. Look around your neighborhood, research events and take advantage of deals.
18. Pass up a Thrift Store or Garage Sale
Garage sales and thrift shops are thrilling for the frugal shopper. Garage sale and consignment shop items that are in good condition beat department store prices every time.
19. Try to Overcompensate by Giving out Elaborate Gifts
This ties into the idea of trying to impress others with name brands. Sometimes it’s best to make gifts and provide the recipient with something they need instead of trying to impress them with a popular brand.
20. Purchase Work Lunches Each Day
When you work for an employer (especially in an office) lunch time can be a much anticipated release or break from the work day. If you go out and buy lunch each day though, you could easily waste more than $1,000 per year. Frugal people choose not to purchase work lunches each day. They bring a lunch from home to save that $1,000 for a vacation, home repair, or a memorable experience with loved ones.
21. Buy Snacks at the Movie Theatre, or Meals at Carnivals and Fairs
It’s not about being cheap. Who really wants to spend $5 on a soft drink, $4 on a box of candy and $7 on a bowl of popcorn that might be fresh? If you don’t want to avoid going broke just by snacking, it’s best to eat a large meal before you go out and drink water if you need a beverage. This allows you to focus more on the experience rather than the overpriced, subpar food.
22. Take Luxurious Vacations Without Reward Points
Many frugal people still go on vacations. Dropping $5,000-$10,000 on a vacation each year though is often not in the question. Instead of charging vacation expenses to your credit card and returning home with debt, you can churn credit cards and use the reward points and cashback to fund your travels.
23. Ignore Their Health Needs
Maintaining an adequate amount of medical coverage is very important, no matter the cost. Eating healthy foods and going to regular check-ups can help prevent costly medical problems in the future.
24. Spend Copious Amounts of Money on Summer Music Festivals
Frugal people might wonder why someone would pay hundreds of dollars to meet up with friends, camp outside and listen to music for a weekend. That's because there are tons of free music festivals happening all over. Although frugal people may use credit card reward points to help pay for tickets to an occasional concert.
25. Buy Brand New Electronics Each Year
Keeping up with the newest versions of electronics is exhausting, not to mention financially draining. Frugal people try to keep up with their electronics for a few years at least instead of buying something new the moment it comes out.
26. Throw Away Broken or Old Electronics
When electronics break, instead of tossing them out and creating more waste, frugal people may try to fix up and sell older electronics for cheap or sell their parts if the item is broken. A broken iPhone is still worth a lot of money.
27. Put Off Investing
Putting off investing can put you in a rough financial situation when you get older. Some people who are nearing retirement age can’t even leave work because they failed to invest and save early. Frugal people love setting money aside for their future.
28. Buy Coffee Every Morning
Drinking coffee every day is normal. But buying it each day from a café or coffee shop is a bit much for frugal people. They usually make coffee at home and buy an occasional drink at Starbucks every now and then. This saves big money.
29. Pass up a Side Hustle
People who live frugally are always looking for more ways to earn money easily on the side. This is why it’s hard for a frugal person to pass up an opportunity to use their skills to earn extra money on the weekend, help a friend or start a side business.
30. Go on a Road Trip without Bringing Food
Road trips are very fun and they’re the perfect frugal getaway for a family or group of friends. To make the trip even more frugal and save money to use for attractions and other activities, bringing food along is a must. It's also easier than stopping the car for a snack.
31. Compromise the Safety and Welfare of Others
Frugal people don’t opt to save money at all costs; especially when it comes to the expense of other people's health or safety. They are not like the people you see on shows like Extreme Cheapskates. Since frugal people place needs and necessities above wants, it allows them to live a life that doesn’t compromise the safety and welfare of others.
32. Care What People Think about Them
Frugal people are judged a lot and sometimes negatively referred to as 'cheapskates' or 'penny pinchers'. After you’ve been frugal for a while and you see the positive affects your choices have had on your lifestyle and your bank account, it won’t matter what other people think. Frugal people always have the last laugh. While others think they are cheap or poor for bringing lunch to work each day or living a different, simpler life, they are busy saving, investing, and living a fulfilling life.
Do you consider yourself frugal? Can you think of anything else that frugal people might not do?