Toledo Talk

50 Tips for Frugal Living

View the zenhabits.net article for details about each item. Some of the suggestions included links to additional info, and I've included them here.

Why live frugally? First, because it allows you to spend less than you earn, and use the difference to pay off debt, save or invest. Or all three. Second, because the less you spend, the less you need to earn. And that means you can choose to work less, or work more but retire early. Or take mini retirements. You have more options with a frugal lifestyle.
  1. Go with one car
  2. Go with a smaller house
  3. Go with a smaller car
  4. Rent rather than own - more
  5. Look for used first
  6. Eat out less
  7. Eat out frugally - more
  8. Brown bag it to work - more
  9. Adopt a minimalist wardrobe
  10. Stop online impulse buys
  11. Don’t shop
  12. Use a 30-day list
  13. Cut out cable - more
  14. Use the library
  15. Find free entertainment - more and more
  16. Frugal exercise - more
  17. Stay healthy
  18. Commute by bike - more
  19. Carpool or ride the bus
  20. Walk
  21. Sell your clutter - more
  22. Frugal gifting - more
  23. Quit smoking - more
  24. Alcohol in moderation
  25. Sweets in moderation
  26. Drink water - more
  27. Batch your errands
  28. Stay home
  29. Stop using credit cards - more
  30. Cancel subscriptions - more and more
  31. Make your own
  32. Do it yourself
  33. Stop paying interest - more
  34. Reduce convenience foods
  35. Travel frugally
  36. Cut the cell phone
  37. Cut your own hair
  38. Maintain stuff
  39. Save energy - more
  40. Save gas - more
  41. Only buy bargain clothing (when you need clothes)
  42. Telecommute
  43. Plan ahead
  44. Cook ahead
  45. Wash clothes less
  46. Sun-dry clothes
  47. Eat less meat - more and more
  48. Save on groceries - more
  49. Frugal Christmas - more and more
  50. Eat a cheap breakfast - more
created by jr on Aug 29, 2007 at 06:10:42 pm     Comments: 9

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Comments ... #

1. Go with one car: check
2. Go with a smaller house: I rent.
3. Go with a smaller car: can't. I driving the smallest car I can get by with.
4. Rent rather than own - more: I rent.
5. Look for used first: rare
6. Eat out less: check
7. Eat out frugally - more: Nope. When I eat out I must enjoy it.
8. Brown bag it to work - more: check, and I was surprised at how much I spent on lunch every day.
9. Adopt a minimalist wardrobe: check
10. Stop online impulse buys: Never had any
11. Don’t shop: check
12. Use a 30-day list: what's this deal?
13. Cut out cable - more: wish I could, but I need the Internet hook up.
14. Use the library: I should start this
15. Find free entertainment - more and more: check!
16. Frugal exercise - more: Fair.
17. Stay healthy: check.
18. Commute by bike - more: Not in Toledo you don't. It's worth your life to try and bike in T-town.
19. Carpool or ride the bus: Nope, no bus. No carpool either.
20. Walk: Can't. Too far.
21. Sell your clutter - more: Gotta do this.
22. Frugal gifting - more: Check, sometimes.
23. Quit smoking - more: don't smoke
24. Alcohol in moderation: What are you, some kind of bleeding heart liberal commie or something?
25. Sweets in moderation: check
26. Drink water - more: check
27. Batch your errands: check. I hate running errands and always optimize.
28. Stay home: right.
29. Stop using credit cards - more: Only sometimes.
30. Cancel subscriptions - more and more: check
31. Make your own: generally no.
32. Do it yourself: sometimes
33. Stop paying interest - more: check
34. Reduce convenience foods: eliminate convenience stores
35. Travel frugally: check
36. Cut the cell phone:check
37. Cut your own hair: real wrong.
38. Maintain stuff:check
39. Save energy - more: this is another excellent tip
40. Save gas - more: check
41. Only buy bargain clothing (when you need clothes): check
42. Telecommute: I did this for a couple years, and there is nothing as good as telecommuting (except money, sex, booze, my dog, my cat, etc.)
43. Plan ahead: someday I'll get around to this
44. Cook ahead: check
45. Wash clothes less: Stink more.
46. Sun-dry clothes: double check! Not only do you save money, your clothes last far longer. And, you can piss your stuck up neighbors right off!
47. Eat less meat - more and more: maybe...
48. Save on groceries - more: somthing I need to start doing
49. Frugal Christmas - more and more: I want to eliminate Christmas gift giving entirely, with a very few exceptions
50. Eat a cheap breakfast - more: check, but know that if you have to eat out, breakfast is the cheapest meal of the day.

posted by madjack on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:20:50 pm     #  

For free entertainment you can always start up a new account on the Blog of your choice and start a few flame wars. Very entertaining and cheap. Right, GZ?

posted by madjack on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:24:15 pm     #  

Think 3 hots and a cot. lulz

Or realize the American dream has moved south and now takes pesos. doublulz

posted by charlatan on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:50:24 pm     #  

Now it's time for GuestZero to demonstrate his legendary charisma.

2. Go with a smaller house.
39. Save energy.
40. Save gas.

I also rent. What I have is well managed for heating and cooling. I don't understand all those modern buyers and builders with those huge ceilings. Sure, they look nice, but they also setup large convection cells that transfer your heat right to the ceiling in the winter. You might as well just open a window a crack, the losses are that large.

3. Go with a smaller car.

As a working man I have to budget for replacement. I assure you the next thing I get will get a lot better gas mileage. I'm also considering a motorcycle in addition, to choose transport options; a car or truck for hauling and severe weather, and a 'cycle for personal transport only.

4. Rent rather than own.
33. Stop paying interest.

Since there's no way I can be assured of my ability to finish a 15-30 yr mortgage, it would be insane to enter into a purchase agreement. I can't stay gainfully employed long enough to either save the necessary money, nor show enough stability to qualify for a survivable mortgage. America has told me that I can't have a home. Well, fuck America.

5. Look for used first.
9. Adopt a minimalist wardrobe.
11. Don’t shop.
41. Only buy bargain clothing (when you need clothes).

What's a store? Oh, yeah, places where you buy new stuff. Other than food and consumables I rarely get new items. My clothes come from the Salvation Army. I can buy a pair of pants at some dept store for 25 bucks, and chances are it won't fit me in a few months due to unpredictable shrinkage ... or I can buy a worn pair at the SA for 4 bucks. Hmm! Yeah, ain't THAT a tough decision ... NOT.

6. Eat out less.
7. Eat out frugally.

I rarely eat prepared food, but when I do, I pay a fair price to get good food. I tip well, too. I might as well, since I don't eat in a restaurant except rarely (most of my "eating out" is Chinese take-out).

10. Stop online impulse buys.

What's an "impulse buy"?

13. Cut out cable.

What's cable? Oh, yeah ... TV. Who has time to watch the most inane shows on Earth when I have all these books and blogs to read?

14. Use the library.
30. Cancel subscriptions.

I do like movies. As long as I'm willing to wait about 12-18 months, I see every major movie produced for free ... by taking them out of the library when they arrive. I just saw "Apocalypto". Despite that Hollywood thinks, I didn't feel the loss in the last 18 months for not seeing the movie on the big screen.

15. Find free entertainment.
16. Frugal exercise.
17. Stay healthy.

I chased burglars just the other day. Hey, it didn't cost me anything, and I didn't get shot. You can't get any more entertaining and cheap than that.

21. Sell your clutter.

{blush}

27. Batch your errands.

Who the hell DOESN'T do this?

28. Stay home.
35. Travel frugally.

You betcher ass. Why pay rent for a place you don't spend time in?

29. Stop using credit cards.

What's a credit card? Oh, yeah, that's that expensive little luxury that you use to buy a whole bunch of new shit that you don't need in the first place. Sorry, I'm not that deranged.

31. Make your own.
32. Do it yourself.
38. Maintain stuff.

Oh, yeah. When you don't blow through your money by buying stuff then tossing the shit out when it breaks (AND IT WILL), then you have to make do, use it up, and wear it out.

34. Reduce convenience foods.

I have no idea who actually uses those convenience stores.

37. Cut your own hair.

Short hair + mirror + $4 clippers = another $10 I don't have to spend every 3 months.

42. Telecommute.

That's a joke, right? I noticed back in the 1990s that telecommuting was just a scam. Businesses far preferred having employees show up for work regardless of how telecommutable their work was. Largely, telecommuting was used by the elites in business to avoid working. When telecommuting made more sense, companies just farmed out the work overseas, so you went from working to unemployed without that middle step.

43. Plan ahead.

What, doesn't everyone?

44. Cook ahead.

What do you think all that Tupperware is for?

45. Wash clothes less.
46. Sun-dry clothes.

I've found that a pair of pants gets less dirty than a shirt, so after wearing it once you can hang it up and it airs out well enough. Shirts tend to get sweaty, and as we all know, the minerals in sweat are feasted upon by bacteria and their subsequent waste products are fairly smelly. Batches of shirts and socks have to undergo washing, and washers are great for that.

Past that point, I air dry and only dryer-dry with extreme rarity. My clothes last longer -- what do you think all that lint in the dryer trap really is? -- and seem to feel better on my skin. Also, in the winter, when I'm struggling to keep inside air moist, drying clothes inside serves double duty.

47. Eat less meat.
48. Save on groceries.

Who can afford to eat so much of it?

I'm actually seeing a benefit from the recent, large climb in food prices: I'm eating less, and what I do eat is better stuff.

49. Frugal Christmas.

What's Christmas? Oh, yeah, that's when people insincerely give you gifts they bought on credit. NO THANKS.

posted by GuestZero on Aug 30, 2007 at 04:27:29 am     #  

I understand living frugally if you have to, but if you don’t, why do it. I think the trick is to live with in your means. I like my 300 channel cable package and nothing is better then Sunday football in HD on my 40 inch LCD.

I use my credit card for every transaction. I simple never carry a balance from one month to the next. The rewards I get back from using it, is free money. As for renting verse buying a house; buying seems better long term.

My wife and I have an interest rate of about 5.5% fixed and only 8 years left on our 15 year mortgage. If we stay in the house, we’ll be in our low 40s with no house payment.

And yes…we do save every month. We both contribute over 10% to our 401ks, plus have Roth IRA as well has traditional savings that we put way every pay check.

The trick is a good financial planner. He helped us plan your short term and long term goals for ourselves and our children. Once those are properly funded, the rest if gravy.

posted by SensorG on Aug 30, 2007 at 09:21:04 am     #  

I have, in GZ fashion, engaged in deep self-inspection and since this is a subject dear to my heart and more importantly, my wallet, I have come to the realization that I comparatively suck at this.
What I'm continuing to maintain goes like this:

Home: I own, or at least share an increasingly larger and larger portion than the bank.
For reasons as sentimental as a white picket fence, In the event that I have someday have grand kids, I want them to visit their crotchety, opinionated granddad at the home where their mothers grew up.

Car(s): I confess I have a damned fleet, but when I downsize I promise to get a smaller car (but with a huge freakin engine!!!)

Eat out less/ Eat out frugally: As very recent empty nesters we (I) justify going out often but find it’s not the food that costs. It’s those pesky jumbo margaritas.

Brown bag it to work: I do, and at work and on the way home from work.

Eat a cheap breakfast – see above

Eat less meat –Don’t it much of it

Save on groceries – What, and lose Fuel Perks?!

Reduce convenience foods: Yucko!

Adopt a minimalist wardrobe/Stop online impulse buys/Don’t shop/Only buy bargain clothing (when you need clothes):
My wife is the queen of eBay and pays fractions of retail prices. Otherwise, she shops infrequently and when she does she does it for the thrill of the hunt. She only paid $39 for her wedding dress.

Cut out cable – Wife’s company pays for the bundle in case she needs to work form home. Besides I’d miss Hanah Montana.

Use the library: I do. Big time. (and in case of VHS, I always rewind).

Find free entertainment: Like airport restrooms?

Frugal exercise – Very good at this. One only needs push-ups, dumbbells and a chin-up bar.

Stay healthy: Eat clean, workout and say prayers.

Commute by bike: When I can

Walk: Home from bars

Sell your clutter: I give away and donate

Frugal gifting: Pet peeve. I have two kids but dozens of nieces and nephews with birthdays and religious rituals. It doesn’t balance out.

Quit smoking – Never smoked (cigarettes)

Alcohol in moderation: I’m with Madjack.

Sweets in moderation: No sweet tooth here.

Stop paying interest: Except for sub-prime

Stop using credit cards: I did years ago and don’t miss them.

Cancel subscriptions: Did that too. Don’t miss the Blade either

Drink water: Do ice cubes count?

Batch your errands: Yes, yes, yes. Now tell my kids.

Stay home: I once lived in a remote place but now find value in close proximity to things.

Make your own/Do it yourself/ Maintain stuff: I sincerely try. But it often ends up more expensive to have someone come in and fix my mistakes

Travel frugally: I am the king of this art.

Cut the cell phone: Can’t but learning to text

Cut your own hair: Okay, but I’m not giving up my pedicures.

Save energy: Yes, good at this and can often be heard around the house saying ”wear a sweater”

Save gas: Most people tell me I drive like their grandmother.

Plan ahead/Cook ahead: Am very good at this.

Wash clothes less: “Yes dear”

Sun-dry clothes: There’s probably some ordinance against this where I live but we do it anyway and love the results.

Frugal Christmas: We’re good at this in terms of presents but we usually travel during winter break. We would much rather garner experiences and memories than things.

Use a 30-day list: My wife is good at making her list. I’m trying to figure out how to get on it.

posted by Offshore on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:29:46 am     #  

I think that SensorG hit the nail on the head - to live within your means. Knowing we'd be short one paycheck as of this past January, we saved up so I could have the time to not work...and we changed many of our habits.

The days of arriving home at 7:30 p.m. and having nothing to eat all day and not feeling like cooking, thus ordering takeout or delivery are gone - thankfully!

But we still use a credit card for most purchases as we dislike having to carry cash. However, the issue is to not carry a balance - but to pay it in full every month, which we do. Besides, those points are quite handy for my husband who travels quite a lot...

The only one I'd have to disagree with is the 'cut your own hair.' This might work well for some men, but there are those of us for whom "scissors and hair" would mean run for your life! However, with the opening of a new hair place by our Point Place Krogers, there's no reason to spend more than $5.99.

You can live frugally while still allowing yourself some enjoyment along the way. However, it's a matter of priorities. If you're focused on saving for a specific purpose, then you're willing to forego some luxuries...making short-term sacrifices for long-term gain.

posted by MaggieThurber on Aug 30, 2007 at 11:28:53 am     #  

Remember when Bill Gates said he wanted a piece of all online transactions and peeps were alarmed?

It seems Mastercard and Visa drive prices up 2-3% on every transaction since it is illegal to get a cash discount. Why isn't this considered inflationary or detrimental to this economy we have?

By paying cash, you're actually paying more for inconvenience.

posted by charlatan on Aug 30, 2007 at 02:56:08 pm     #  

The other perk of using the same debit or credit card to pay for everything is that it makes it easy to track your expenditures at the end of the month. (Without having to save and manually enter cash receipts.)

posted by mom2 on Aug 30, 2007 at 06:44:04 pm     #