There’s no magic trick or big, closely guarded secret in how to be frugal. All you need to do is look around you to see where you could cut costs or stop wasting money.
Here’s an example. Do you always need to have the latest smart phone, HDTV or tablet computer? Why? It might be fun to own the latest and greatest electronic gadget but it’s just not necessary. You could probably get by fine with the phone or TV you own now.
Look at your trash
Check out the stuff in your trash. If you’re throwing away a lot of empty soda or beer bottles, maybe you could start drinking ice tea or lemonade instead. How about things you could cook or make yourself? If you’re eating a lot of convenience foods, maybe you could cut back by, say, 50%. That alone could save you a bundle.
Buy your produce locally
It’s summer. There might be a weekly farmers’ markets in your city or town. If you can find one, buy your produce there, instead of the supermarket. You’ll be saving money and supporting a local business.
Buy in bulk when “staples” are on sale
You probably buy staples such as cereal, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, pasta, flour and some canned goods almost every week. You can be very frugal by stocking up on these staples when they’re on sale. Buy 12 week’s worth at a time if you can.
Every supermarket I know of has coupons. You can find them in your local newspaper (look for them on Wednesdays) or online. Check out the coupons every week and then try to build your menus around coupon items, especially meats such as chicken, hamburger and pork. We’ve found that if you plan carefully, you can build entire meals around items that were on sale or that had coupons.
Do you buy generic items or store brands?
Another way in how to be frugal is to look for store brands and generic items. The supermarket where we buy most of our groceries has its own store brands for probably 70% of everything it sells. These products often cost anywhere from $0.50 to $1 less than comparable name brand items and, as nearly as we can tell, are just as good.
Shop the discount stores
Stores such as the Dollar Tree and the Dollar Store often have products at deeply discounted prices. But make sure that you buy quality items, as some of the stuff you find in those stores is just incredibly cheap and practically worthless.
The truth is that how to be frugal is fairly simple. Some families even make frugality a fun game by giving a prize to whichever family member comes up with the most frugal ideas month. In other words, frugality doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a fun challenge.