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Being frugal isn’t just about clipping coupons, scouring daily deal sites or finding the next bargain. It’s really more of a lifestyle—the little things I never think about that all lead to a better budget. Frugal living is about being smart with your money. For us, that mean creating simple habits to live within our means.
The single biggest factor in our budget lifestyle is planning ahead. Seriously.
A quick look at next month’s calendar will tell me what events and expenses we need to save money for now. We know license plates are due at the same time every year—we can’t wait until the time arrives to find the money. Holidays & birthdays come on the same day as well—I save a little every paycheck to have what I need, when I need it.
It works for the little things, too.
When I know we have a road trip coming, I fill up as soon as the fuel prices drop that week. This also includes paying attention—the gas station by our school raises their prices hours earlier than the one by my house so I’m able to take advantage of a lower price for a short window. If I see that we have a busy night next week, I know I need to plan a simple, easy meal to avoid the drive-thru.
Steering clear of fast food & restaurants is a big part of our frugal life. We have three meals each day at home. I serve breakfast in the morning, pack lunches for school & work and plan meals for our evenings. I know it sounds like such a little thing, but we just don’t dine out much. And, that’s not a bad thing—not only does our checkbook thank us, but a dinner out is just a little more special when it happens.
Once you identify your money sucks, you just have to find a way to avoid them. Dining topped that list for us. Now we stay home and find that we kinda like it that way. I’ve also identified a few other triggers for me to avoid—shoe stores, for one. Also? I stay out of Target as much as possible. No matter how much I love their clearance deals and everyday savings, I save a whole lot more money when I steer clear altogether.
It’s just smarter that way.