Living frugally is hard. There is always a temptation to buy something you really want, your spouse really wants or the kids want. Then there are all the unexpected expenses that pop up; car maintenance and repair costs, a bigger than usual heating or cooling bill, lawn care or new mower costs, the list goes on and on and on. If you’re sprinting to pay off debt or are managing off one income, then you already know you need to take any frugal tip you can get.
Sometimes, to really get ahead, you need think outside the box. Here are 4 frugal living tips that do just that, and that you likely haven’t already thought of.
1. Mystery Shopping for Free Eats
As a frugal person, you probably greatly limit your eating out expenses. However, no matter how most people try to limit restaurant expenses, we all cave once and a while (or more). However, if you just sign up for one of many legitimate mystery-shopping services that do business in your area, you can take your entire family out for free. You have to evaluate your server online afterward and upload a copy of your receipt but this isn’t that much work for a free meal ticket.
2. Cut Your Family’s Hair
If you have a big family and take them to the hair salon once a month, then you’re probably spending about $100 bucks or more each month, when you account for tips. As a frugal enthusiast you probably try to stretch this out too, meaning everyone goes around for a time with scruffy hair! Buy a shaver and a pair of scissors and watch an instructional YouTube video and eliminate this expense forever. You may face some resistance at first from wary family members, but after a few good cuts this will fade!
3. Consider Shopping for Groceries Online
If there is a service in your area (this is an expanding market), compare their prices and consider using their service. Most places will deliver groceries to your door for a very small fee ($5 to $10, usually). Yes, this is an extra expense but it saves you money in gas and the real kicker is it will cut down your overall grocery bill significantly. Grocery stores want you to buy more than you need and fall for the marketing. Plus if you have to take kids shopping with you, all your concentration and frugal meal planning usually flies out the door. I personally started using one of these services, and it’s so much easier to stay exactly within budget and get exactly what I need. I was able to shave off over $200 a month on my food bill just by switching to this method.
4. Petition for Lower Property Taxes
With the housing market having tanked tremendously over the past few years, it’s highly likely that your home is being taxes at a higher value than its current worth. Call your town hall and ask them how you can petition to have the property assessor appraise your home to see if the value has fallen since it was last assessed. This could save you a good amount of money each month.
written by: Jessica Drew
Jessica Drew is a freelance writer and editor who blogs about a variety of topics including frugal living, money management and personal loans.