The cost of living seems to be getting higher year after year. Life on a budget can be tough, but developing frugal habits can make it easier.
These six penny pinching habits can save you money when times are tough, and help you save some for the future too.
1. Knowledge Is Power
It’s never been easier to find the best price on almost anything. All you need is a quick Google search to compare prices.
Don’t just compare prices on the big things, like a new laptop, compare prices on the little everyday things as well, like groceries, cleaning supplies, and clothing, because these are the things that really add up.
2. Ask Others
If you have a friend who is successfully living on a budget, ask them where they shop and what they buy.
You might find some local hidden gems that you otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.
For example, it might cost you $2.50 a cup for coffee at a Starbucks franchise. With an inside tip though, you may find a local shop that sells it for just 50 cents a cup.
3. Be Open to Alternatives
Being open to alternatives can save you a lot of money. Do you have certain brands of items that you always insist on buying?
Your money will often go much further by switching to similar generic items that are just as good. The same goes for dining out.
Even when you’re on a budget, everyone needs a treat once in a while.
However, you will likely enjoy your night out just as much at a local mom and pop pasta place as that fancy Italian restaurant, and for less.
4. Stay Away from Credit
When you don’t have the money to get something you really want, putting it on credit is always tempting.
If money is tight though, the last thing you need is an even bigger bill to pay off.
Always pay in cash whenever possible. Never use credit unless it’s for something you simply cannot do without.
5. Spread the Word
Sometimes, expensive things wear out and you have no choice but to replace them, like your couch or your washer.
If you need a certain item that you don’t know how to fit into your budget, spread the word among friends and family.
They may have something that they want to get rid of and will pass it on to you for free, or at least at a good bargain.
Turn to social media sites too, and post on local online classifieds to get the word out on what you’re looking for. There are whole communities of people who buy and sell this way every day.
6. Count Overall Costs
Before deciding if something is a good deal or not, count the overall costs – if you buy food in bulk, make sure it’s something that won’t spoil before you can finish it all, or if you purchase a second hand car, check the gas mileage, because a gas guzzler won’t save you a thing.
Yes, life on a budget can be tricky in today’s tough economic times. Getting into the habit of thinking before you spend will make it feel far less stressful. And, since a dollar saved is a dollar earned, you might even end up with a little extra.