Over the years I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to learn about something is to learn from experts. Since I’ve been trying to build this blog on a budget (my blog only costs me $4/month) I’ve been looking toward the frugal blogging community for help. I’ve noticed a few things that are very consistent that most self-proclaimed frugal people never do.
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17 Things Frugal People Never Do
#1 – Borrow Money
When you think about your life and your finances, do you ever just assume you’re going to be borrowing money forever? Our society has normalized debt in some really insane ways. People think they can’t get a car without a loan and nobody thinks that it’s even possible to own a home without a mortgage. Debt is the norm these days, and chances are that you believe debt is normal and that you’ll never escape it.
Frugal people are always pushing toward paying cash for anything and everything they can. They cash flow school for their children, they save up the money for that new car, they’ll do just about anything to avoid having monthly payments! Frugal people hate paying interest. They know that interest rates are just throwing away money!
Want to know a secret to frugal living? Sinking Funds. They are a huge part of how people are able to afford big purchases without using credit!
#2 – Window Shop
Window shopping is the first thing I avoid when I know I don’t want to spend money. I find whenever I’m window shopping I’m convinced that I need that $20 fuzzy ponytail that I know I’ll never wear. I know that sometimes it’s really fun to just walk around the mall with your friends and talk and shop without buying. Chances are that you’ll leave with something.
Frugal people don’t shop unless they need something. If they know they’re going to be somewhere where they’ll be tempted to buy, they’ll leave the wallet at home. Bring your ID just in case, and your keys, and stop yourself from being tempted. This goes for online shopping as well!
#3 – Pay Full Price
I’ll never understand the thought process of a person who buys something without having some kind of discount, or rewards program. There are so many insane ways to get benefits back from just buying things! (especially online).
There are two amazing services you should check out to save yourself a bit of money:
- Ebates – Ebates is the #1 way to get cash back on all purchases you make online! All you have to do is click through the link to your favourite websites from ebates before you shop and in a few days you’ll have up to 10% cash back in your ebates account! The service is 100% FREE and you should definitely check it out.
- Honey – is a browser extension that searches the internet for coupon codes to save you money on your online shopping! I’ve saved over $100 this year from using Honey!
#4 – Throw Away Anything That Isn’t Trash
Frugal people are awesome for the environment because they not only cut down on their consumption, but they also reuse or recycle 90% of the things they no longer want. When you’re going through your closet and you make a giant donate pile, you should really take some time to reflect on your purchasing habits because why did you buy these things in the first place? Anyway, frugal people will never throw away clothing because they can turn those things into rags, pillows, dolls clothes, or donate them!
Another thing that frugal people are great at doing is selling the things they don’t want/need and putting that money into savings. Unless it’s completely broken, there’s always a chance that someone will buy it. Remember, one mans trash is another mans treasure!
#5 – Keep Cable
What year is it? 2005? We are living in the future! Expensive full cable packages are a thing of the past. There is no reason to have a full cable package with over 100 channels that you’ve never even watched. These things are possibly over $100 a month when you can get Netflix with tons of great shows, watchable on 4 screens at once, for less than $15 a month.
You could pay for Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go for less than one traditional cable package.
#6 – Upgrade Their Phone Each Year
I won’t lie to you, this used to be me. Not every year, but I upgraded every two years. The second my two year contract was up, I’d be onto the next iPhone. I got my first phone at 14, and I had 8 phones in 10 years. That’s insanity.
Upgrading to a new phone when your current phone works just fine is silly. I just had a phone finish a contract and my monthly bill went from $102 a month to $45 a month! Just by not upgrading I’m saving $50 a month until I break this phone. Really want to upgrade your phone? Start using sinking funds to plan for that purchase so you don’t have a higher monthly payment forever.
#7 – Skip Budgeting
The first step to being frugal is to budget for every penny. Frugal fanatics have a plan for their money and they know what they want their money to do. So many people who are in debt don’t realize how important a budget is to be able to understand and organize their finances! If you skip budgeting for even just a few months it can put you back years in your financial plan.
The Zero-Based Budget is the perfect beginner budget because it makes a plan for every single dollar that comes in the door!
#8 – Spend Emotionally
I’ve been guilty of emotional spending on more than one occasion. Sometimes when you’ve had a bad day, or a bad week you can convince yourself that spending a couple dollars on a new outfit will make you feel better. It can be a temporary band-aid for the problem but the high will go away so quickly. Frugal people know that the storm is going to pass and that momentary joy they get from a purchase will not solve all their problems! It only creates a budget problem that they’ll have to solve later.
#9 – Eat Out More Than Once a Week
I know, food in a restaurant is always more delicious than food at home. I can’t cook. I’d love to eat at restaurants every day. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing I can I can do for my wallet. Eating out just twice a week will blow my entire grocery budget for the week!
Being frugal meals more meal planning and a lot less eating out. When trying to save money you need to realize you can feed two people an awesome meal at home for less than the cost of one meal at a restaurant! It’s so important to limit eating out as much as possible, but when you need to eat out you should definitely look into ways to save money at restaurants!
#10 – Buy Too Much House
Buying a home can be a really emotional experience. You go to a bank and get pre-approved for way more than you can actually afford and you just assume that it’s okay for you to use it all. Banks love to lend money because they get their interest and that’s how they make money. The bigger your loan, the longer you’ll be paying money to the bank.
It’s so important to ensure that your monthly payment is not higher than 25% of your total take home pay (after taxes). Being house poor is a real and horrible thing. You don’t want to ruin the rest of your life because you bought more home than you can afford! Frugal people take a real look at what they can afford, and what they really need.
#11- Spend Money Every Day
Frugal people are big fans of no-spend days, weekends, months. Being able to avoid spending any money really focuses you on what’s important. Being able to spend time instead of money is a huge plus. Spend more time with your loved ones instead of buying them presents and expensive adventures.
Frugal people will often leave their wallet and cards at home and focus on the people they’re with and not on the things they could buy. When they do bring their wallet and see something they want, they’ll give themselves a time buffer before buying.
#12 – Throw Away Left Overs
Chances are when you made dinner last night, you made too much, right? What did you do with the leftovers? I really hope the answer is you threw them in some Tupperware and ate them for lunch today! There are so many people who succeed at the first part, but end up throwing them away a few days later when they start to go bad.
You should make a plan to incorporate your dinner leftovers into your lunch schedule for the week. This will save you money both by not wasting food, but you’ll also not have to blow an extra $10 to buy lunch the next day!
#13 – Pay Bank Fees
Can you believe it’s totally normal for people to throw away around $15 a month just for use of their own money? I personally started banking with the Canadian NO FEE bank Tangerine a few months ago and would never go back! It’s crazy to me that banks can charge people to use their own money when they are already charging crazy high interest rates every day.
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#14 – Pay Late Fees
This goes right along with paying bank fees. Frugal people are always focused on their finances. They know exactly when their payments are due and how much they owe before they even get a bill. They know exactly where to send their money. Having all this knowledge means that they never pay late fees. Late fees are just money down the drain, never miss a payment!
#15 – Ignore Clearance Racks
Back when I was in high school and shopping with my friends (and my mother’s money) I used to ignore clearance racks because there was something in my brain that told me I was too good for them. I didn’t nee discounts. I had mama’s money! Who was I kidding? There is no reason to think like this. Fashion is fast and people think that if it’s on clearance that it must not be in style, nah.
Frugal people know to check the clearance racks first. You can honestly find awesome things in clearance racks, sometimes you can find a shirt that’s 75% off just because there’s a small tear or string hanging. Grab a darn sewing kit and fix that crap and save yourself some money.
#16 – Skip Free Events
Why spend your hard earned money on an expensive night out when you can find tons of FREE entertainment in any city? There are so many free options for concerts, festivals, walks, and so much more. Being frugal means you’re totally awesome and aware of these free events and know that you should take full advantage.
#17 – Try To Live Someone Else’s Life
The final thing that frugal people don’t do is to try and live someone else’s life. The key to being able to save money is to not focus on everybody else. You don’t know what their true financial situation is. They could have a $30,000 car, but a $29,000 car loan. Their amazing clothes could have been purchased entirely on credit. The truth is you never know what other people are experiencing and what kinds of negativity there is behind the facade they put on.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real problem in our society because of social media and it’s causing a lot of people to go into debt because they see these perfect lives on Instagram. The truth is, people only post their best parts of their day. They would never post their credit card bill. You need to know that you are not alone, you can get out of debt and be happy without feeling like you’re missing out.
Being frugal doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of everything you love in life it just means you start to be better with your money! I hope this list of 17 Things Frugal People Don’t Do really helped you to learn how to be more frugal with your money and make better decisions!