I am all about being frugal. Let’s be honest, it’s been a necessary way of life for me for quite awhile. I love hearing frugal tips but I am not going to the extreme like some people do. These are some strange, gross, or down right dishonest methods I’ve come across:
Pay for a movie and then sneak in another one afterwards without paying.
Share your partner’s toothbrush or floss. (Gross)
If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. (Again…gross)
There are some simple things I try to do, especially if funds are tight to save a little bit of change over the course of the month/year though. None of these take much effort on my part, nor do they affect my standard of living noticeably.
1. Try the store brand
This can apply to your favorite cereal, milk, pasta, shampoo, paper towel, etc. I do a lot of shopping at Target and Kroger and for the most part, I find very little difference in the taste or quality of most of the items I’ve tried the store brand on. I am a little particular about my cheese and my favorite body wash but even if you can’t swap everything out, it’s worth trying a few out.
2. Drink water when you eat out
I love my diet coke and I love sweet tea but if money is tight and I still want to join friends out for dinner then I choose water as my beverage of choice. Soft drinks out at a restaurant in my area tend to run about $2.59-2.79 a drink. Figure in the tip on that if me and my two boys both get soft drinks then we’ve just easily added an extra $9-10 to our bill.
3. Go to the matinee
Going to the movies is one of my favorite budget busters. Movie ticket prices have skyrocketed the past few years though. A ticket at my favorite movie theater for a Saturday evening showing runs $11.50 a ticket. I can see the same movie before 4pm for $8.50, and if I choose the first viewing of the day then the price drops to $6.50. Most theaters also have a designated discount day (Tuesdays at my theater) and you should also check to see if they offer senior discounts or student discounts if that applies to you. Some theaters also offer discount programs so movie ticket purchases might score you free tickets or discounted concessions. Speaking of concessions, try to avoid that because there is a huge markup there.|
4. Use the library
I love to read so this tip has saved me an absolute fortune over the years. Favorite author putting a new book out? Reserve it at your local library. I love Danielle Steel (don’t judge me…this blog is a safe zone and not everyone wants to read Shakespeare or Chaucer). I actually get emails from her periodically where she’ll announce her upcoming books and I will quickly jump online and put my name on the list for it at my local branch.Not a big reader? Well, first off, what’s wrong with you?? Sorry, just kidding (sorta!), this is still a judgment-free zone. Every library is different but below are just a few of the services mine offers:
- Ebook and Audiobook rentals
- Computer classes
- Internet stations
- Music CDs and DVD rentals
- Free tax assistance of low-income and elderly taxpayers
- Free online courses through Lynda.com
- Telescope rentals
5. Ask for Discounts
I’m going to venture to say that for most people there’s going to be some type of discount available to you for the majority of your purchases.
Are you a senior citizen? Are you a student?
Have you checked with your employer to see if there are any discounts available to you? Especially larger companies or government or educational employers will offer discounts on everything from cell phones, to shopping club memberships (Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.), home and auto insurance, adoption assistance, etc.
Need an oil change? Check out the shop’s website for a coupon or a service like Groupon.
Many businesses offer their own discount cards. Just looking though my wallet I see a Target red card, Chick-Fil-A, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Xscape Theaters, and Barnes & Noble discount card.
Hopefully I’ve shown you that you don’t have to go to extremes to save money each month. Try a few of these ideas and see how they affect your bottom line. Saving money sometimes comes down to just tweaking our habits a bit.