It is my solemn wish to be frugal…and I am getting better every day. However, I still have some habits that I need to work on. For instance, I love a good shopping trip and often end up with things I don’t need thanks to a credit-card-slinging little monster called the “Impulse Buy.” Do you have bad habits that are stopping you from being a frugal person? Check out our list of 30 things frugal people don’t do.
1. Turn Down Free Offers
Whether it’s a friend offering to take you out for dinner or a company offering a trial granola bar, accept it! Frugal people don’t let a free item pass them up, unless of course there are strings attached (such as the tricky auto-ship offers).
2. Buy Items without Comparing Prices
A truly frugal person knows which stores have the item they want, and which one is offering it at the cheapest price. Let’s face it: they also know whether they can purchase the display item at a cheaper price, whether a small scratch on the side will take off 10%, and whether or not the company will be marking that item down in the near future! Do your research.
3. Receive a Paycheck without Putting Some Amount Into Savings
Frugal people save money out of each and every paycheck, even if it’s just a few dollars. In fact, most frugal individuals will save at least a percentage of every check as a base savings amount. If they can save over that amount, you can be certain they will!
4. Make Impulse Buys
Ah! My downfall! Frugal people never buy something on the spot, simply because it’s appealing to them at that moment. They will sleep on it…many times, and will decide whether the item is truly needed before buying it. If impulse buying is a problem for you as well, take at least 2 weeks to decide if you really need something before forking out the money.
5. Pay Attention to Brand Names
Most frugal people don’t care about a product’s brand name, unless the quality of the brand name product is better than the quality of the generic product.
6. Waste Items
Frugal people are notorious for preventing waste. They squeeze the very last of the toothpaste from the tube, freeze foods to save them for the future, enjoy plenty of leftovers, and repurpose unused items into functional items.
7. Pass Up the Chance to Make Their Own Products
Frugal people will never buy something if they can make it for a cheaper price. This is true for all types of items, from cleaning supplies and personal hygiene supplies to home decor and even clothing. If you’re naturally talented, you could save a ton of money by making your own items.
8. Pay Full Price
To the frugal individual, every price is up for negotiation. You’d be surprised how easy it is to receive discounts on items of all kinds. Whether it’s requesting a coupon from the company that makes an item or patiently waiting until a store places the item in their clearance section, paying full price is almost never required.
9. Skip the Clearance Section
The clearance section in any store is a treasure chest to a frugal person. This is true for grocery stores as well. Why pay full price for a package of meat when you can buy the reduced meat that is closer to the expiration date? The second-day bread is just as good as the bread baked fresh this morning. Last season’s teal sweater is as cute as this season’s teal cardigan. These are the thoughts that save a frugal person big bucks!
10. Ignore Giveaways
Giveaways are fun little lotteries that frugal people love! Even if the giveaway is for something they would never actually use, they automatically start thinking about upcoming holidays and birthdays that would allow them to make use of the item.
11. Shop at the Last Minute
A frugal person will never shop at the last minute, whether they need items for an upcoming holiday or a family vacation. I know people who start shopping for Christmas gifts on December 26th! Why? Because when they’re not rushed, they aren’t forced into making purchases that may be more expensive.
12. Start a Half-Empty Dishwasher or Washing Machine
Frugal people know the value of saving energy in their homes, and will wait until the dishwasher or washing machine is jam-packed before starting a cycle.
13. Utilize the A/C or Heat Unnecessarily
Along with the dishwasher and washing machine, a frugal person pays close attention to their appliance usage in every other part of the home. If a nice breeze is blowing, they’d rather open the windows than turn on the air conditioning. If it’s a little chilly, they will put on a sweater instead of turning on the heat.
14. Leave the Lights On
Speaking of energy savings, you’ll never catch a frugal person leaving the lights on in rooms they aren’t occupying. You’d be surprised just how much you can save on your electric bill if you’re diligent about cutting down your energy usage.
15. Leaving Appliances Plugged In When Not In Use
While you’re at it, you may want to unplug those appliances you’re not using as well. Frugal individuals know that even items that aren’t being used can still utilize electricity. This is especially true for appliances that have “stand-by” modes like stereo systems, televisions, gaming consoles, etc.
15. Pass Up Discount Stores
Many frugal people do all of their shopping at discount stores like Tuesday Morning or Burke’s Outlet. These stores purchase inventory from high-end department stores and sell them at a deeply discounted price. They are the playgrounds of frugal people and save them lots of money.
16. Ignore Thrift Stores, Yard Sales and Flea Markets
Some of a frugal person’s best finds can come from thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets. From clothing to home decor to kitchen appliances, these are great places to find items at a super cheap price.
17. Ignore Their Health
Besides the importance of being healthy to maintain a high quality of life, frugal people understand that ignoring their health can lead to large medical bills. Dental cleanings twice a year can prevent expensive fillings or root canals down the road. Immunizations and flu shots can prevent expensive sicknesses. Regular check-ups can identify potential problems and save big money.
18. Forget to Pay Bills on Time
Bills that are laid to the side and forgotten often result in late fees, and that is something a frugal person would never allow! They often take advantage of automatic payments to ensure that late fees don’t end up being tacked onto their bills.
19. Spend Lots of Money on Entertainment
When it’s time for date night or girls’ or guys’ night out, frugal individuals would much rather enjoy events that are free or cheap than spending lots of money on concerts, shows, etc. They might spend an evening at the local community theater rather than seeing a Broadway show, or see a matinee showing of a movie rather than the evening showing.
20. Buy the Snacks and Drinks at the Movie Theater
We’re not saying they sneak their snacks in using an over-sized purse, but we are saying frugal people aren’t likely to purchase the small popcorn at $7 a bag or the Mike & Ike’s for $6 a box! If they’re not the sneaky types, they will probably have lunch before they go to the theater.
21. Spoil Their Children with Material Items
A frugal person’s child is very likely to learn the value of a dollar early on. The frugal parent is more likely to purchase books and craft supplies for their child than video games and cell phones. They are also more likely to require their children to earn money for extra items they want rather than just handing it over.
22. Purchase a Lot of Pre-Cooked and Microwaveable Foods
You’re not likely to find a bunch of TV dinners and pre-packaged foods in a frugal person’s house. Chances are, they do the majority of their cooking from scratch and enjoy natural snacks like fruits and fresh veggies. Pre-cooked foods are much more expensive and don’t usually make it to the frugal individual’s grocery list.
23. Always Give Store-Bought Gifts
If a frugal person can make a gift for a loved one, they are much more likely to do that than purchase a store-bought gift. In fact, most of the hobbies of frugal people are productive hobbies where they are creating things, growing things, or re-purposing items.
24. Automatically Throw Broken Things Away
In today’s society, most people will automatically toss a broken item and purchase a new one, but not the frugal individual. If it’s broken, it can be fixed and fixing something is more cost-effective than purchasing a new one often times. A broken heel can be glued back, a torn dress can be sewn, a broken belt on a vacuum cleaner can be replaced, etc.
25. Delay Repairs
When it’s time to call in the experts, frugal people don’t typically delay repairs. They understand that a small leak in a faucet can become a large leak, or that minor roof damage could result in deep and expensive home damage. They are usually very meticulous about maintaining their home and vehicles.
26. Drive Vehicles with Poor Gas Mileage
Frugal individuals understand the importance of great gas mileage and are much more likely to drive a smaller, more efficient vehicle.
27. Eat at a Restaurant for Lunch Every Day
While it may seem like a nice idea to visit a different restaurant each day during your lunch break, this can become quite costly. Frugal people typically pack their own healthy lunches from home and save money doing so.
28. Pay for Expensive Cable or Satellite Bills
When you really think about the television channels you watch and the amount of time you spend watching TV, can you justify the price you pay each month? Rather than spending a few hundred dollars on cable or satellite bills each month, a frugal person is much more likely to opt for Netflix, which costs just $11 each month, or another low-cost streaming option.
29. Use a Credit Card for Items with the Thought, “I’ll Pay for It Later.”
One of the most important things a frugal person will never do is use their credit card with the thought that they will pay for it later. While it’s just too easy to do this, the interest charges drive up the cost of those items and you always end up paying way more than if you had cash.
30. Spend a Lot on Memberships
Memberships can often be money-drainers that nickel and dime a person to death. While one membership may not seem like a lot, when you add up the various ones most people have, they can be very costly. Why pay a monthly gym membership when you can purchase a bike and utilize natural exercise options? The same goes for other memberships that may not be giving you the best bang for your buck.
By avoiding these things, you too can live more frugally and enjoy the money you save. Do you have any great tips for becoming a more frugal person? Please share them with us in the comments below!