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6 Frugal Living Tips for Beginners6 Frugal Ideas and Tips For Beginners:

I dyed my own hair today. It took me about 45 minutes and cost less than $10.

Last time I went to the salon, it took 1 ½ hours and cost me $80 – which is cheap.

I’m not saying I don’t love to have it done professionally.  I hate dying it myself and know that the salon does a significantly better job than I do.  However, right now I can’t rationalize the numeric difference to make it worthwhile.

***PS.  I use the Garnier dye and really like it.

It is purely a budget decision for me.

My ways of saving money are probably completely different than yours.

Everyone has their little cheats that enable them to spend money in other categories.

As I thought about my spending decision today, I realized that I save in certain areas so that I can spend in others.

I love the outdoors. I have no problem spending $80 on a nice pair of hiking/climbing pants. I still have my first pair of Prana hiking pants that I purchased over 10 years ago. They are a bit thrashed, but I still wear them.

The extra money was totally worth it for a quality product that has lasted me years. I’m sure that I’m in the minority on this one, but for me, hair is just not worth spending $80 on every 2 months.

Obviously, for some people, this is a worthwhile expense. And there is nothing wrong with prioritizing hair over hiking pants. I have a feeling that as my gray hairs continue to overtake me, I’ll be changing my tune.

It is all about personal spending priorities.

I love being outside and that is my little piece of heaven.  One of my best friends loves getting her hair and nails done.  It is her escape from the kids and she loves the boost that comes from looking her best.

Frugal living is all about choosing your discretionary spending wisely.

Frugal spending patterns are designed to save in some areas so that you can spend in other areas.  Very few people have the disposable income to spend on a whim.

Most of us live on a budget.  I’ve found that when I take the time to determine my priorities and spend my money based on my priorities I have a significantly easier time sticking to my budget.

6 Frugal Living Tips And Ideas For Beginners

1. Always look for a deal regardless of the product.

I’m a bargain shopper, I go directly to the sales rack in clothing stores and will rarely spend money on full price items. When shopping online I look for coupon codes and I do my grocery shopping based on sales. Except when I completely blow my budget because I’m a dork.

Why pay full price for something if you can do a little bit of research and save 10-60%.

I’ve noticed that when I’m constantly looking for a deal, I tend to find them.

When I’m shopping online for general products I open both Amazon and Walmart and order based on the pricing.  Amazon isn’t always your cheapest option.

I also use a program called Ebates for general internet shopping.  They contract with around 2,000 online stores to provide discounts for purchases made through their system.  The service is free to you.

Frugal Living - Why I still dye my own hair - Learning to control you spending habits and prioritize you spending is a critical component of your budgetEbates contracts with merchants to get a discount for directing traffic to their site.  They then share a portion of this discount with you.  It isn’t a lot of money, but if you do a lot of online shopping it adds up quickly.

For example, they contract with some of the following stores, which gives you the discounts listed below:

  • Macy’s – 6%
  • Charlotte Russe – 2%
  • Expedia – Up to 10%
  • Hotwire – Up to 6%
  • Barnes & Noble – 4%
  • Carters – 2.5%

I highly recommend trying them out if you do even a little bit of online shopping.

2.  Keep a running list of future needs

I’m a planner, so I always have a list of items that are on my wish list. They aren’t things that I need right now, but things that I’d like to have in the future.

I love making smoothies for breakfast and my current blender was on its last leg. I just kept watching the sales until I found a new Ninja Blender Kitchen Set (best blender ever) for $129.   The $36 I saved was worth the hassle of using my old blender for an extra month.

I just keep a list of household items, outdoor gear and Christmas gifts in my purse and watch for sales. I’ve been amazed at the deals I’ve been able to get by planning ahead.

3.  Don’t be afraid of used products

Obviously, this has to be done with discretion, but slightly used products can save you a lot of money.

After all one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  This is the epitome of frugal living.

I draw the line at used shoes and under clothing but have shopped extensively at used clothing stores. You can find some amazing deals if you are willing to dig.

We were recently able to replace our fridge when I business I knew of went out of business. They sold us their $2,500 fridge that had been used for 5 months for $800.   I cleaned it thoroughly and replaced the filter and you’d never guess it was used.

One of my favorite used clothing sites is ThredUp – they have saved me hundreds of dollars on clothing.  Check out my post on ThredUp – How to Cheat Your Clothing Budget and Dress in Style. 

4.  Ask for a deal.

For some reason, people are scared to ask for discounts. You will never get a discount unless you ask for one. I’ve gotten discounts purchasing clothing, food, and furniture.

The trick is to ask. All they can do is say no.

This is especially true when negotiating with a private party, you should always ask for a deal, particularly when paying for cash.

Always be prepared to walk away and you will be surprised what a little bit of cash and a willingness to walk will get you.

Earlier this week, I was at Target and was able to get a price match simply by asking and showing them the same item for sale at Walmart.  I was able to save $20 just by asking.

5.  Do your research

It is hard to get a good deal when you don’t know how much a product is worth.

Years ago when I purchased my first car on my own (meaning no dad or boyfriend to help) I feel in love with a Nissan Murano. I had $5,000 in cash and found a one-year-old vehicle that was selling for $21,999, I was able to talk them down to $20,500 and was so proud of myself.

I thought I had gotten a great deal.

I got a decent deal, but if I had taken the time to shop around and do additional research I think I could have saved myself another $500-1,000.

That is a lot of money and I’ve always regretted not taking the time to properly research my purchase. Which leads to my next point.

6.  Don’t make a rash decision

This is particularly true with large purchases. If I had stepped back a bit after test-driving my first Murano and not rushed into my decision, I can guarantee I would have saved more money.

I’ve noticed this is particularly true with clothing. Maybe it is just because I’m a girl, but sometimes I just fall in love with an outfit. If I make myself wait a day, I will invariably decide I don’t actually need it.

Take the time to think through your purchases and make sure it is an item that you actually need, will use, and most importantly is within your budget.

PS.  On a side note, I still have that Murano 9 years later.  I may have overpaid slightly, but I’ve gotten my use out of it.  Check out Why It Pays to Run Your Car Into The Ground.

Is Frugal Living Your Way of Life - Frugal Living is prioritizing your spending so you can afford the extras you want on your termsHow Frugal Living Will Impact Your Life

I wish I could say I always follow all of these guidelines, but there are definitely times when my credit card seems to work independently of my brain. However, as I’ve used these guidelines more and more of my spending habit have gradually changed.

I’m in control of my money and my budget in ways I never thought possible before beginning our debt free journey.

I may have to delay my purchase or get a slightly different product, but I rarely have buyers remorse. I like to think this is a sign that I’m finally starting to grow up.

PS.  If you are looking for other money saving tips you may enjoy these posts as well:

Photo Credit:  Austin Kirk

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