In times of economic downturn, many people start to look for ways to reduce their household budget and save extra cash. Living a thrifty lifestyle does not have to mean doing without. Making small changes will allow you to save money and still enjoy your favorite treats and activities. Being frugal can help you save for retirement, pay off your credit cards faster or even just save money for a dream vacation. To live in a thrifty way, you need to pay attention to your day-to-day expenses.
- Track your spending for at least 2 weeks. You won't really know how to live a thriftier lifestyle until you know where your money is currently going. Write down every time you spend money and take a look at it at the end of the month. You will see obvious ways to reduce the small daily expenses that many of us accrue.
- Scour the Internet when you have to make purchases. Because of the easy access to information, you can compare prices from more stores in less time. Check your local stores as well as online providers to find the best price.
- Turn off the lights and other electronics in your home when you are not using them. Open a window and let in the natural light instead. Leaving electronics on can use a tremendous amount of extra energy, costing you money. Also, unplug chargers when you are not using them. Your cell phone charger is still using a residual amount of electricity when it is plugged into the wall.
- Cut back on your cable. You probably don't really need 500 channels. Reduce your cable package or eliminate it altogether and save a large chunk of money every year. If you decide you really can't live without it, call your cable company and see if there are any promotions or discounts available to you.
- Use coupons when you do your regular grocery shopping. Many websites offer free printable coupons you can take with you to the grocery store. Check sites like BettyCrocker.com for coupons of a variety of name brand products (see link in Resources). Combining manufacturer's coupons with store discounts can lead to major grocery savings.
- Eat at home most nights. When you do go out, look for available deals and discounts. If you are a frequent restaurant diner, consider purchasing an Entertainment Book for local restaurants (see link in Resources). These collections of coupons typically cost around $30, but provide 2-for-1 deals at local restaurants and places of interest.