If you do five frugal things every single day then you set yourself up for financial success.
Of course, there are many large, sweeping actions that you can take when living a frugal lifestyle. For example, if you choose alternative housing, then you can significantly cut your living costs.
These things definitely matter. However, it’s the little things in life that add up to big savings.
After all, if you drastically cut spending on housing only to use that same amount of frivolity, then you aren’t exactly living frugally.
Here are five frugal things to do every day:
1. Stick to Your Budget
Yes, this is obvious. Yes, it’s boring. And yet, many of us fail to do this on more days than we would like to admit.
First of all, if you don’t have a set daily budget, it’s time to make one. Figure out your annual budget. Break that down by month. Break that down by category, then assign each category a daily amount.
For example, if your monthly food budget is $300, then your daily food budget is approximately $1o. Start each day with awareness of this budget. Do not exceed it for any reason. Challenge yourself to get creative to stick within that limitation.
Use an app such as Mint to stay abreast of your monthly progress. Adjust your daily budget accordingly if you see that you’ve gotten off track.
2. Ask Yourself if You Need to Spend This Much
Each time that you take out your cash or card, take a pause. Before you pay, ask yourself if you really need to make this purchase. Whether or not you decide to make the purchase isn’t really the point. Instead, the point is to practice daily mindfulness when it comes to your money. Be aware of what you’re buying, why you’re buying it, and how that cost impacts the rest of your life.
Make sure that you apply this thinking to even the most routine activities. For example, before you get in the car, consider how much the drive costs you. When you weigh the gas and car depreciation, you might realize that you could walk, bike, or bus for much cheaper. Over time, this daily decision could lead you to opt for a car-free life.
As this becomes a habit, you can begin the same practice around savings. Ask yourself how you can save more, invest more, or otherwise make your money work for you more today.
3. Make Smart Eating Decisions
You have to eat each and every day. Therefore, one of the five frugal things you do daily should be related to your food. Frugal food decisions include:
- Meal planning around a specific financial amount
- Eating leftovers and using up what’s in the fridge
- Taking your lunch instead of buying it
- Using coupons and grocery shopping for deals
- Eating in instead of dining out
- When you do eat out, choose an appetizer instead of an entree
4. Minimize Home Energy Use
The less energy you waste at home, the more money you save. Moreover, you help the environment. Therefore, you should look for five frugal things you can do around the house. Make sure to do them daily. These things might be:
- Turn off all lights when not in use.
- Open windows to get a breeze instead of relying on fans and AC.
- Put on socks and sweaters instead of turning on the heater.
- Take shorter, cooler showers.
- Stay abreast of maintenance repairs such as changing out air filters.
5. Talk About Money
This one is much less obvious than the others but no less important.
Money is still such a taboo topic in our society. When we keep quiet about it, we make assumptions as well as poor decisions. Therefore, we need to learn to normalize talking about money.
Make it a daily practice to mention financial topics. This doesn’t have to be a huge conversation about what money means to you or how to invest properly (although it could be). In contrast, the idea is to simply mention budgets, finance, spending, or other aspects of money in a common, casual way.
As you talk more about money, your feelings around it should loosen up. As they do, you’ll be better able to make money decisions from a rational place rather than an emotional one.
What is one frugal thing you do every day that’s not on this list?
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