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  • 8 Tricks to Living Frugal

    Sandra Sherk

    I am not ashamed to say I am a frugal person. Why? Because there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap.

    Being frugal means being smart and understanding that value is just as important as price. Frugality has helped me as a Credit Counsellor. I practice what I preach, so I’m able to discuss different options and ideas with my clients that will help them save and get out of debt, and I can tell them that the ideas do in fact work! Living frugal has also allowed me to do well financially, even though my whole career has been in the not-for-profit sector.

    If living frugal seems like something you would like to try below are some of the different ways I’ve been able to live frugal and love it.  

    Here Are 8 Tricks To Living Frugal

    1. Consider used over new. When I got my first job after university I had to move and get my own apartment. I was lucky in that my parents had just downsized and I could furnish my place with family items. I would love to have bought a new sofa bed but I knew that would make the other furniture look old and I couldn’t afford to buy all new items.  So instead, I bought wallpaper and spruced up my apartment that way. Many people commented on how well co-ordinated my place was.

    2. Save on gas. My Dad shops at a grocery store that includes gas coupons on the receipt to a particular gas station. He doesn’t go to that gas station, so he saves them for me. The only difference is that instead of paying at the pump I have to go inside to pay, but I’m saving 4 cents a litre! To me it’s worth the effort but that might not be true for everyone. For example my son, who could really benefit from the savings, says it isn’t worth the effort for 4 cents a litre. To each his own, but I can truly say I’m happy to save 4 cents a litre on gas.

    3. Avoid ATM service charges. Don’t pay for additional service charges you can avoid. For example, I only use my bank’s ATMs and therefore avoid paying $6 in service charges for using another bank’s machine. 

    4. Brown bag it. Even after all these years of working, I still consider a morning tea and lunch out as ‘treats’. I pack my lunch the majority of the time and I take my tea in a travel mug. When I do go out for lunch, I thoroughly enjoy it!

    5. Earn points that matter… and use them! Points or Air Miles on your credit card are good if you have the right card and if you use the card and its points wisely. I have booked a number of flights using my Air Miles and the savings have been fantastic since it’s a no-fee credit card and I clear my balance every month so I don’t pay interest charges.

    6. Save on travel. I like to travel but I don’t like to pay the price that airlines charge for their inflight meals. I take my own snacks to eat during the flight and I eat before or after the flight. I also take my own earphones. Another tip is to wait to book your seat until 24 hours ahead of your flight time to avoid that $25 charge.

    7. Shop with a purpose to save. I shop carefully for my clothes, shoes, etc. I like to buy quality items because they last longer, so I always watch for sales. I don’t just go to the mall and say, “Here I am!” with wallet in-hand. I plan.

    8. Quality over quantity. My friends know I like colourful, quality purses. I shop at outlets to get the purse I want at a price I am willing to pay. I also wait until they offer an additional 50-60 percent off. I may pay a little more than I would for a department store purse, but I enjoy the purse more and I get a number of seasons out of the purchase. Purses go through a lot of wear-and-tear and I’ve noticed quality purses last significantly longer and uphold their quality, so you’re saving money if you shop smart and get them on discount.

    Being frugal over the years has allowed me to have a nice home, travel and save for my retirement. It’s a great way to help you save for the things that are most important to you, like a home, school, wedding, or retirement, while not compromising your overall lifestyle. As Confucius said, “He who will not economize will have to agonize.” Use our Budget Calculator to see what areas you can cut back on in your everyday expenses that will help you achieve your financial goals.  

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    Topics: Money Management

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