Do you yearn for financial freedom? Do you know that to realize financial freedom we need good habits, in particular, frugal habits?
This may not be something you might want to hear, but what if I were to tell you they hold the key to realizing your financial freedom?
Would you be willing to work consistently on your frugal habits?
It doesn’t matter how much we make. Adopting frugal habits helps us live below our means.
Doing this lands us our ultimate prize – financial freedom.
Why should frugal habits matter to you?
Frugal habits help you to:
– pay off and stay out of consumer debts
– stop living from paycheck to paycheck
– build an emergency fund
– go for vacations without the guilt
– save more money for retirement
-grow your money through investment
In this post, you’ll learn about frugal habits that you can apply in your daily life, 365 days a year, so that you can make financial freedom YOUR reality and retire early.
Most of us need to focus on different frugal habits at different points in our lives. How long does it take for you to form a new habit?
According to this article in Healthline.com, it takes an average of 66 days.
My suggestion is that you pick the new habit you want to work on and do it on a consistent basis for about two months, until it becomes a habit and comes naturally to you. Then pick the next one to work on.
Don’t beat yourself up if you think you’re too slow. Even if you take three months to develop a good habit, it’s worth is as the good habit remains with you for life, and gives you much stronger finances.
The most important thing is you’ve committed yourself to making a good start to reach financial freedom.
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Are you ready?
Frugal habit #1 Ditch non-essentials ASAP
A word of caution on membership subscriptions and recurring fees.
Spend money on them only IF they are essential. Among the most notorious of them: gym memberships and magazine subscriptions.
A colleague of my spouse had paid for a year’s gym membership, but then realized near the end of the year that she had been to the gym in 2019 only . . . Twice!!
Top Tip: Go through your bank statements and check for recurring deductions over the past 6 months. Decide if they are truly essential or if they are money down the drain!
Frugal Habit #2 Get Back Some of the Money You’ve Spent
You need to know that you’re NOT earning this money. It’s some of YOUR money you’re getting back from spending.
So, make sure that you develop frugal habits to save you bucket loads of money.
When you shop online for necessities with Ebates, for example, you get a percentage of your money back.
Another way to save money is Paribus.
It is a free online tool that tracks your purchases AFTER you’ve bought your items.
If there’s a price drop, it’ll get the refund for you from retailers that are part of their program.
This is very useful and saves you time and effort during your holiday shopping, especially when you shop for Christmas.
Frugal Habit #3 Compare and Contrast
Don’t always go for the cheapest deals. What looks to be cheap and cheerful might actually be the ‘meanest’ deals.
They’re not necessarily the best deals. In the end, they might cost you more than you think.
My past painful experiences of buying cheap shoes end up costing me more money, effort and time.
Investing in quality shoes like Skechers made my wallet and feet happy, besides saving me time and effort on having to hunt for new ones.
I’ve included the picture below for your convenience. Click on it to learn more.
Another example is Mr MMT’s cheap skin moisturizer, which did nothing for his eczema in winter.
The doctor-prescribed moisturizer was cheap BUT loaded with nasty chemicals. And instead of alleviating his sad condition, it was worsened as the “moisturizer” merely sat on his skin.
With each new application of “moisturizer”, the layers built up, clogging his pores.
They couldn’t be removed by washing. Regular hard scrubbing in the shower was needed to reduce the residue that stuck tenaciously to his skin.
After hours of internet research, we found this brand that uses only natural ingredients.
This has since been proven to work – it penetrates the outer layer of skin to give that much-needed moisture boost.
Mr MMT finally gained much welcomed relief from the itchy eczema when he used this product.
Top Tip: Always Do Thorough Research Before You Buy What’s Needed
Frugal Habit #4 Minimize Food Wastage
Food costs is one of the biggest living expenses. So, it’s crucial we reduce our food waste to near zero.
Always be on the lookout for creative ways to reduce food waste.
Frugal Habit #5 Squeeze the very life out of your products
Don’t trash your items if they’ve not been totally used up.
Top Tip: Some common items like toothpaste can be cut open to use up all the contents, minimizing wastage and saving money.
Frugal Habit #6 Consider Multiple Uses for the Same Item
Find multiple uses for the same item before trashing them. Some examples include lemons, used sponges and meat trays.
Frugal Habit #7 Find New Uses for Old Items
Before you trash anything, Stop. Could this item be used in a different way?
For example, old shirts can be cut up into rags and used as wipes for spills.
Frugal habit #8 Think Up Creative Ways to Source Second-hand Items Super Cheap
Mr MMT went to a scrap yard to find a pair of replacement tailgate gas struts for his car. The cost? $27.
This was less than half the price of used struts available over the counter ($58).
He saved $31 by dismantling the parts himself. (He learnt for free how to dismantle it by watching a YouTube video).
Bonus – he had some fun on his first visit to a scrap yard, a place he’d always been curious about.
By reusing used parts, he did his part for the environment and saved good money too.
Mr MMT in action again!
Recently, he bought a pair of great condition second-hand tires. They were only a couple of years old, with about 80 percent of the full tread on them.
The labor to fit and balance them was free at the shop he visited!
The total cost for the two tires was $67. New tires would have cost double: $130 or more. His saving: $63.
Frugal Habit #9 Pay a Bit More for Quality Products
To save money, we bought two or three hair cutting sets that weren’t top quality.
They were corded and slow – as a result, our hair cutting took more effort and time. Sadly, we also spent more money than necessary.
We learnt our lesson – at a sale, we bought a top quality set that is rechargeable. It allows us to cut our hair quickly, saving us precious time.
What’s more, the blades are self sharpening. Now, every hair cutting session is a breeze.
Click on the picture below to find out more.
Frugal Habit #10 Save for Emergencies
Don’t underestimate the power of an emergency fund. You need at least 3 months of living expenses to cover you for unexpected expenses.
Never get caught out by financial surprises.
Frugal Habit #11 Always Look Out for FREE Things
For instance, look into skips for free building materials like wood or carpet. Or check out Craigslist online for free stuff.
Our family gathers free apples and peaches each autumn.
Frugal Habit #12 Rescue Discarded Stuff
My dad used to retrieve unwanted and abandoned items like broken electric fans. He repaired and used them – they worked perfectly.
Frugal Habit #13 Have a Balanced Lifestyle
There’s no need for you to spend on entertainment all the time for example, attending costly concerts.
If always having fun, soon you become bored.
Frugal Habit #14 Ask for a Second Opinion on Intended Spending
Write down on a sheet of paper why you think you need to buy something.
Show it to a helpful colleague or friend, and ask for their opinions. They are likely to remain objective and give you the right advice.
Listen with an open mind – you’re likely to save money and avoid more debt.
Frugal Habit #15 Minimize paying full price if you can
Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount if the new item you’re buying has a slight defect. This was what I did and I paid only $7 which was a 50% discount!
Mr MMT bought a new dishwasher for only $380 instead of $600.
The box it was in was slightly damaged. It was such a great deal he hauled it away ASAP. A saving of $220!
Frugal Habit #16 Take good care of your things
Looking after your appliances well and maintaining them go a long way towards minimizing your need to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on repairs and replacement.
Frugal Habit #17 Always pay bills on time
Make sure you foot your bills in full and on time. This is especially true for credit card interest which is sky high.
Frugal Habit #18 Stock up during sales
This doesn’t mean stocking up on 20 blouses when they are on sale. I mean essentials like food items that your family consume regularly.
Frugal Habit #19 Know and keep within your limits
Can you think of ways you enjoy doing that don’t blow your budget?
Frugal Habit #20 Go with the Flow
Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Off season produce are transported over long distances.
Not only do you pay for the extra transport cost, this places an additional impact on our already-strained environment.
Frugal Habit #21 Fun Money
Set aside a certain amount as fun money.
Developing frugal habits doesn’t mean you deny yourself some little ‘rewards’. The danger is not setting the limit to the fun.
Frugal Habit #22 Must you Pay?
Paying for parking near the workplace or warranties on appliances.
Once Mr MMT advised his co-worker never to pay for fixed parking near their workplace.
As she starts work at 8 am, there’re actually free parking spaces nearby that just needs a bit of searching.
She was smart as she took the advice. That was several years ago. She has since saved several thousands of dollars.
Frugal Habit #23 Understand and Solve Problems Yourself
Until I became frugal, my solution to most problems was to make purchases.
For example, my vacuum cleaner seemed to have seen better days, with its suction power diminishing rapidly.
Cleaning the filter made no difference.
Being the reasonable wife that I am, I talked about buying a new vacuum cleaner.
But frugalist Mr MMT politely turned me down.
He was very sure that some maintenance would restore its suction power.
He removed another filter, which was choked to the brim.
After careful cleaning, washing and drying, the filters were re-installed.
Yes! The super strong suction power returned.
#24 Be a Savvy Shopper
Buying canned food?
Check out the percentage of meat or fish per 100 g. The higher the better. You’ll be getting more of the good stuff.
#25 Invest Your Money
Find out how to invest wisely so that your money can grow over time. Wealthsimple can guide you with this.
They help build your investment portfolio and advise you on how to reach your financial goals.
They review your non-Wealthsimple financial accounts, the fees you’re paying and whether your account is tax efficient.
If you’re serious about reaching financial freedom, sign up with Wealthsimple here.
When you take up these 25 frugal habits, your dream of financial freedom will crystallize into reality.
Don’t wait. Start now. I know you CAN do it.
If you know this information will help others, share it.
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