I have a confession: I am not a frugal person. Nope. Not at all. I like to spend money. But, I am working my way out of massive student loan debt, so I am really interested in adopting frugal habits to help me accomplish this goal. Just a couple months ago, I moved into a less expensive apartment to reduce my expenses and it has helped relieve some money stress already. You don’t have to be frugal to be successful with money. But you do have to be smart and responsible with the money you have.
As I find more ways to reduce my expenses and increase income in the name of getting out of student loan debt, I am very aware of my spending habits. I believe that these are the main habits of frugal people — all of which can help you on your financial journey (whether it’s to get out of debt, save for a downpayment on a house, or something else). Here are the habits that I find most commonly among frugal peopole.
1. Set financial goals
Frugal people value their money and want to hold onto it. Setting financial goals helps them accomplish this.
To set financial goals, use the SMART method of goal-setting and always put your goals in writing. This will help you actually achieve your goals.
Financial goals will give you a roadmap to where you want to go financially (instead of just wandering).
2. Come from a place of “do not spend”
Frugal people come from a place of “do not spend”. If they’re on the fence about something, they will err on the side of “no” (whereas the spender would do the opposite). Frugal people find ways not to spend money. They would rather see money in the bank than new clothes in their closet.
If you are spending too much money, trying saying “no” to yourself once a day. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Track your progress and celebrate your wins so you’re able to build momentum and enjoy saving money by not spending it.
I am such a spender at heart, but over time, I have learned to come from a place of do not spend. I really don’t even think about spending anymore, whereas a few years ago it was very hard for me. The more you practice not spending, the easier it becomes (like most habits).
3. Use coupons and shop deals
When frugal people spend their money, it’s at discount stores with coupons. You usually won’t find frugal people at high-end stores, where things are overpriced..
If you get in the habit of shopping at discount stores and with coupons, you can save a lot of money (this is really helpful if you’re trying to lower your expenses).
4. Always live below your means
No matter what, frugal people always live below their means. They have “financial margin” as I like to call it. There is money left at the end of the month.
Frugal people value keeping their money – not spending it. If you are not living below your means (or you’re living paycheck to paycheck), I recommend that you start budgeting and you can start by downloading this free eBook (written by a ton of awesome bloggers!).
If living below your means is hard for you, you’re not alone! With a little help and persistence, you can change this and get ahead. I cannot tell you how good it feels to have money in the bank and financial margin every month — it’s worth all the sacrifices it takes to get there.
5. Don’t eat out often
Frugal people are really selective about eating out. They either eat out very infrequently or they eat out very inexpensively. Either way, frugal people are not splurging regularly at fancy restaurants and more than that, they are aware of how much money they spend eating out every month.
6. Shop at discount grocery stores
Frugal people find ways to get good food inexpensively. They value good quality food but they know they don’t have to pay a lot for it.
Sometimes it takes a little creativity to find where to shop for less, but this is an excellent way to lower your expenses.
7. Buy second-hand
Frugal people don’t spend a lot of money on material things that they can get second-hand. Anything that isn’t a high priority on their value-list (like clothes) is something that frugal people will try to buy second-hand.
This is a hard habit for someone who is a spender. But like anything, practice makes perfect. If you start buying second-hand, you can get used to it over time. This is something that you have to decide whether to do in terms of your financial priorities.
8. Make financial decisions as a family
Frugal people value money, so they make financial decisions as a family. Frugal people take time to make sure everyone is on the “same financial page” and prioritize their financial health as a family above material things. Financial decisions are taken seriously and frugal couples work together to make sure they’re on the same financial page.
9. Have a plan
Frugal people have a plan. They know where they’re going. They know why they’re frugal. They know their values and make financial decisions in line with those values.
10. Prioritize financial health over “things”
Frugal people prioritize their financial health over material things. Suze Orman says “people first, then money, then things.” Frugal people live their lives by this.
A Final Note!
These habits are just part of how frugal people live. Frugal living is also a lifestyle about contentment and minimalism. Most frugal people love how they’re living. Of course there are exceptions, and some frugal people won’t do every habit listed above, but in general, this is how frugal people live.
The good news is that even if you aren’t frugal, you can use these habits to get your finances in order. If you are in debt or need to decrease your expenses, these habits can help you accomplish this.
- Up Next: The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living