Do you want to do a better job of managing your money and even save some of it? Check out these 29 things frugal people don’t do!
Frugal people are smart.
They know how to make their money work for them instead of living on a whim as a slave to their money.
There are a lot of things frugal people do and some things they don’t do (that everyone else seems to continue to do!).
And they enjoy being frugal! (And this does not mean that they have to live in a tent!).
First, let’s distinguish between being frugal and being cheap.
Frugal vs. Cheap
Being frugal means living within your means (spending less than you earn) and making thoughtful, conscious decisions about what to do with your money.
When you are frugal, you get to choose what to spend your money on.
First, you take a look at your wants and needs. Then carefully pay for your needs and selectively choose to buy wants within your budget.
Being cheap (sometimes the term “cheapskate” is used) often means just simply buying the cheapest item available.
Frugal people, however, know how to look for a good deal and may even spend a little more for an item that will last longer.
Frugal living does not involve tons of sacrifices.
It starts with a mindset change:
I am going to make smart choices about what to do with my money. I don’t need to keep up with the Joneses.
The benefits of frugal living
Check out some of these great benefits to frugal living:
- save money for financial goals
- stay out of debt
- be in control of your finances (instead of letting them control you)
- put money toward retirement
- save for your kids’ college fund
Personally, since I’ve recently had a lot of changes in my life (became a single mom, moved, started a 2nd job), I realized that I want to be so much more mindful of where my hard-earned money goes and try to save more for my (and my kids’) future!
Here are 25 things frugal people don’t do:
1.Forget to budget
Frugal people make sure to budget.
I get it, budgeting is not fun! But, you must know how much money is coming in and going out each month.
2. Get take out or eat out often
Eating out more than once a week is a huge drain on your budget. It’s hard to keep to a food budget if you eat out often.
Frugal people carefully plan the days they eat out (personally, we eat out once a month or less!) and make use of meal planning.
Related: Meal planning made easy
3. Throw away food
Food waste is money waste. The more food you throw away, the more money you are also throwing away.
Aim to not throw away food, instead make use of:
- meal planning
- eating leftovers (for breakfast, lunch or dinner the next day)
- freezing leftover portions
4. Use bottled water
Besides being very environmentally unfriendly, bottled water can be a huge waste of money! Especially if you get bottled water on a regular basis.
If you are worried about quality or filtering nasty stuff, use a filter. We have this one and it’s great!
5. Shop mindlessly
Frugal people have a budget and stick to it.
Don’t shop without a plan. Know what you need to buy, make a list, and shop with a purpose!
6. Do last minute shopping
“Panic” shopping last minute often means you pay full price for an item. Take time to shop ahead and look for deals.
7. Impulse buy
Impulse buys are the worst!
Have you ever made a fast purchase and later realized that you don’t need it (or even actually want it!)? Don’t do this!
Follow the 24 hour rule: wait 24 hours before making a purchase. Give yourself time to think about whether you really need that item or not!
8. Pay full price
Frugal people don’t pay full price for anything!
Look for ways to pay less by:
- using coupons
- comparison shopping
- using cash back/cash savings apps (Rakuten, Ibotta, Honey)
- keeping an eye on sales
- buying needed items after season
- ask for a discount (I once went shopping with my sister and she saw a small flaw on a skirt and she asked for $2 off and they said yes!)
9. Dump items
Don’t toss items you don’t use anymore.
10. Waste lots of time
Frugal people don’t browse the internet mindlessly for hours or regularly binge-watch shows.
Instead, they find ways to save or invest money and make good use of their time.
11. Care about brand names
Nearly all non-brand items work just as well as the name brands. Don’t pay extra just for the name!
12. Buy sale items
But it’s on sale!
If you don’t need it and won’t use it, then don’t bother, yes, even if it’s “on sale“!
13. Make emotional purchases
Feeling bored? angry? sad?
If you know what emotional slumps trigger you to shop, counteract that with a positive activity – go for a walk, clean your closet, call a friend!
14. Go shopping without cash-back apps
15. Shop without comparing
Do you need a new fridge?
Don’t just go out and buy the first one you see! Check out different places and compare prices first!
16. Pay for late fees
There’s no need to pay for late fees. Get on top of your bills and avoid costly late fees.
One way to do this is to set up auto pay on your bills to get them paid every month on time.
17. Buy stuff they don’t need
Be in control of your money! Buy only stuff you need and don’t go on wacky shopping sprees.
18. Pay for things they don’t use
Are you spending money on magazine subscriptions, apps, or other things that you don’t use (or hardly use)?
Get rid of them and save the extra cash!
19. Don’t ignore debt
If you don’t get rid of debt it just continues to add up (with monthly fees, for example).
When I first became a single mom, I made it my goal to get out of debt as fast as possible and stay out of debt for good!
You can read more about how I paid off my student loans fast here.
Related: How to get out of debt fast
Related: Habits of debt-free people
20. Pay credit card interest
When you pay credit card interest, you are actually paying more for the item you purchased! Why? Stop!
21. Borrow money
Frugal people don’t borrow money. Instead, they have an emergency fund for emergencies.
If you need to borrow money, you need to think hard about whether it’s an actual emergency or not.
22. Savings funds
Frugal people also have savings funds for other big purchases:
- downpayment for a home
23. Pay someone to do something you can do
Why pay someone for something you can do yourself. There are a lot of YoutTube DIY tutorials on tons of things!
You can learn how to:
- paint your own house
- cut your kids’ hair
- invest your money
- change the oil in your car
Don’t pay someone to do everything for you. Learn how to do things yourself!
24. Pay for cable
Or, take up a new hobby instead of watching TV!
25. Buy the latest technology each year
The newest iPhone, the latest Tablet – new electronics are expensive!
Even if you wait just a few months, you can often get the coveted item for cheaper. Better yet, buy the previous model and save even more!
I’ve used Swappa to buy used electronics.
26. Ignore free events
I always try to take advantage of free events!
Free concerts, free community events, free kid events! Check out local Facebook groups, community centers, or libraries for ideas.
27. Compare with the Joneses
If you compare with the Joneses, you’ll always find a way that you come up short. Be happy with what you have and live within your own budget!
28. Forget to contribute to an IRA or 401K
This is especially important if your employer matches contributions (that’s free money!). Frugal people know the value of investing in their future!
29. Neglect to teach their own kids good money habits
Frugal people know what to do and what not to do in order to save money and live well. Be money smart and take control of your finances. Make sure you consciously choose to buy things that help you live your life! Any other things that frugal people don’t do? Share your thoughts below!