Penny-pinching comes naturally to some people, while others face an inner struggle between frugality and the deep urge to spend like crazy. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there are always more ways to sock away some extra cash. Think of it as putting your spending habits on a temporary diet for the overall good of your financial well-being.
Borrowing Instead of Buying
A shiny new set of tools or the latest bestseller sounds like a solid investment, but many purchases only get a few uses before being tucked away to never again see the light of day. Borrowing items you won't use often saves you money in your overall budget. Share tools with neighbors, borrow a specialty cake pan from a friend, or head to the library for new books, movies and music.
The thought of buying used bothers some people, but you can cut the cost in half or more in many cases by going secondhand. Items made from solid materials, such as a wooden or glass table, are easy to disinfect if you're worried about where they've been. Other items, such as mattresses, are better purchased new.
Opt in to Emails
Daily emails pushing the latest and greatest products get annoying quickly, but some company messages give you a heads-up on special sales, coupons or other deals that save you money. Stick to your favorite companies when you sign up for newsletters so they're more useful than annoying.
Find Cheap Entertainment
Balancing entertainment with frugality gives you a break from the everyday tasks in life. Swapping out expensive dates for free or low-cost entertainment keeps more money in your wallet. Look for free entertainment around your city, such as free live music or festivals. Instead of dropping loads of cash at the movie theater, rent a movie and pop your own butter-covered popcorn.
Spice It Up
A dash of cumin, sage or oregano gives your meal a cheap upgrade from blue-plate special to brag-worthy dining. Cutting back on the food budget makes some people worry about taste and quality. The simple addition of herbs and spices dresses up even the most plain dishes, allowing you to buy more affordable food without sacrificing flavor.
Join the Club
Some grocery stores offer savings clubs that are free to join. Each time you shop, you earn rewards which could end up saving you money. Other grocery store clubs give you a lower price on certain items. Check with your favorite supermarket to see if it offers a program.
Cut the Phone
Scan through your caller ID on your land line phone. If the only calls are telemarketers, consider ditching the phone. Using your cell phone that you already pay for keeps more money in your pocket. Before cutting ties with the land line, review your cell phone plan to make sure you aren't paying too much.
Get a Tune-Up
When it comes to vehicles, spending money could actually save you money. Regular tune-ups with a reputable mechanic keeps your ride running smoothly. You might avoid major problems down the road. A tuned car also uses gas more efficiently, saving you cash every time you fuel up.
Leaving the car at home at least a few days a week means lower gas consumption and less wear on your car. Carpooling with coworkers is a thrifty option, but you could get stuck listening to the office gossip dishing the dirt all the way to work, so choose your carpooling buddies carefully. Taking the bus, walking or riding your bike are other options.
Wait to Purchase
Impulse buys empty your wallet and sometimes result in buyer's remorse. That pair of lime green pumps looked great under the department store lights, but they don't have the same pizazz when you get them home. When you feel the urge to make a purchase, wait at least 24 hours before actually purchasing. You might still want the item or you might decide it's not worth the money.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.