Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Frugality Burnout

It's inevitable; sometimes the proverbial belt just gets a little too tight. Sure it feels good to "splurge" once in awhile, but when things are going well (or are even just decent) it can be all too easy to let that "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality get the best of you.

Here are some rather painless ways to keep your budget in check. Think small effort, big impact. For an example - if you want to to take a vacation but you feel as if its too hard to save, keep a jar somewhere visible (on your dresser or desk) with a picture of your destination or goal and every time you think "what's five dollars?" think of that vacation (and that money!)

Here are some of my favorite ways to save money (and save for what you really want!):
  • Before you buy something, ask yourself - do I really need this? Many of us are always trying to get rid of clutter -- why not save yourself the trouble and only buy things you really want or need? (Read more about how I save money on clothing)
  • Keep last minute shopping trips to a minimum. When we run out of one or two things, it's easy to get side tracked and buy other things we think we need. Need eggs or a cup of sugar? Borrow from a neighbor or relative. Wouldn't you rather have a quick conversation/interaction with someone you enjoy then spend time driving to the grocery store, shopping and waiting in line? (Just make sure you return the favor, or bring them some of the cookies you're baking!)
  • Forgo fast food. Kid friendly foods like PB&J are just as fast - and those savings can really add up. Feel like you don't have anything on hand? Keep a list of quick meals inside your cabinet or pantry door that you can make with staple foods.
  • Cut your coffee habit - brew it at home and bring it with you. You'll not only save a lot of money, but when you do buy one, it'll feel like more of a treat.
  • Watch what you spend. Keep your receipts for a week and see where you spend the most money. Then see if you can cut back on those areas. Example: if it's gas, try to condense your trips or carpool.
  • Redeem your credit card points. My husband and I rarely use cash - we put everything on our credit card and pay it off in full every month. It's an easy way to track our spending and our credit card company gives us points for everything we buy. We redeem our points for gift cards to restaurants or for clothing stores - it's great!
Frugality can't start and stop at couponing. It needs to be a lifestyle. You can do as little or as much as you desire - but it's easier when you have goals in mind (like that dream vacation.)

What little ways do you save?

0 gave me some sugar: