In this day and age, one can’t afford not to be frugal. There are many things we do on a daily basis that cost us in the long run. Here are a few tips on how I avoid such “traps.”
1. I don’t own a credit card or even a debit card for that matter.
Personally, I have had exactly one credit card in my entire life. It was for credit at a music store. I learned a valuable lesson, and I will never have another. We rely far too much on such things these days, and in debt ourselves for years to come on purchases of things we don’t really even need.
I have never had a debit card either. The temptation to spend so is simply too great. I have seen others go though their entire paycheck in one day with these things, simply because it is so easy to use.
2. If I can’t pay cash, I don’t need it.
I take only extra cash with me when going out. If I don’t have the surplus cash to spend, then I don’t need the object of my desire to begin with. I have seen people spend their rent money, simply because it was burning a hole in their pocket. Leave the rent money at home, or pay the rent first. It will save you much grief later on.
3. I don’t need new clothes; I mend what I have.
It pays to invest in a good sewing kit, and learning to sew. This applies to both men and women. If you can sew a button back on, why invest in a new shirt?
4. I don’t like what I have, so I change it to suit me.
I love to “re-create” things anyway. If I get tired of a certain piece of clothing, I simply modify it. Granted, this takes extra sewing skills, but even my children have been thrilled at seeing an outfit they hated become something they adore.
My youngest daughter has even learned to modify things herself now, She can turn an over-sized t-shirt into a stylish dress with a few snips of the scissors, and a few strategically placed knots.
5. Furniture, clothes, housewares…all from the Goodwill, thrift stores, flea markets.
If you came to my house, you might think I spent a good deal on the antique and vintage furniture and decor I have amassed. The truth is, most items cost 5 to 10 dollars tops. It has to really “wow” me to get me to put more than that into it, but it has happened.
Truth be told, these items will last centuries. Furniture made of real wood is hard to come by these days, unless you have the money for it, or are willing to shop thrifty.
6. I barter too. It is an age old tradition that needs to come back.
I am not above making an art or craft item, doing an alteration on a piece of clothing, or even editing someones work in exchange for equivalent goods or services. Far more worrisome are the people who expect these things for free. Bartering is as old as possession. Make me an offer, it doesn’t have to be cash to catch my eye.
7. I DO need to fix my car, for longer travel, but in the meantime, I have feet, and a bicycle!
We talk of needing the exercise, yet hop in our cars for a simple trek to the corner store. Even when my car was running, I made shorter trips on foot. This saves gas in addition to being a healthy work out. For longer travel at the moment, I have a bicycle, if needed. I often ride it for the simple enjoyment of doing so.
8. I don’t have cable TV. If it isn’t on Netflix, I don’t need to see it.
Many will disagree on this one, but personally, I have far more important things to do that rot my brain watching TV. If I feel the need for entertainment, I have Netflix and DVDs for movies, which are far more entertaining anyway. Otherwise, I have every gaming system from Atari and Pong, up through a Play Station 3. I think I’m good!
9. I want something “pretty,” be it jewelry, accessories, decorative furniture or other decor…I make it.
No, every one does not have my “crafty” nature, but if you ever tried it, you might find you enjoyed it. You might also find you spend far less money, and have these things sooner than you could buy them too.
10. I need makeup or toiletries. I make or buy cheap.
These things are all now readily available in your nearest dollar store. Often you can find exotic brands and products you might not be able to find or afford otherwise.
I also make and reconstitute many of these things, and you don’t need a degree in chemistry to do so. A bit of trial and error is all it takes. If your little experiment fails, so what? You can always hit the dollar store later.
11. Medicines…grow herbs.
I use mostly herbal remedies and alternative medicines. I often buy these at local shops, but am finding I can grow them as well, and save even more money. All it takes is a sunny window seal, and a bit of patience and attention.
12. Gonna try that with food too.
Though I have yet to try this one lately myself, due to overcoming my painfully brown thumb, my success with herbs makes me want to. In the meantime, I am certainly open to bartering with those who do. Fruits and veggies are expensive, and how else are we to avoid GMOs?
13. I refuse to keep up with the “Jones”! They have no style anyway!
Who cares what your neighbors have. Have you seen how far in debt it has taken them? Follow the tips above, and the “Joneses” might just find themselves trying to keep up with you anyway!
Source: Over 30 years of frugal living as a single parent of four children, and various other people’s children as well.