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Personal Finance

Frugal spending habits that don’t suck – part 2

frugal spending habits

Frugal spending habits you should adopt

Last post on frugal spending habits was more focused on attitude and mentality towards spending, and a lot of you guys seemed to enjoy that post.  So todays post is going to provide some specific spending habits to make frugal spending even easier.

Habits that most people should follow if they don’t already.

Quit smoking, drinking or any expensive habit that harms your health

frugal spending habits

This is an obvious one, unless you live in a place where tobacco and alcohol are cheap to buy. I’ll refrain from sounding like a nagging mother about the health implications of consuming both substances on a regular basis.

So let’s just focus on the financial aspect of these habits instead.

A pack of a cigarettes from a popular brand in Hong Kong can cost around $60 hkd. That’s actually pretty cheap compared to most places in the world. But even with a comparatively low price, a regular smoker will easily smoke their way through $1,800 per month.

That’s $229 USD every single month!

Alcohol bought at the store is always going to be cheaper than at the pub or bar. But even a regular glass of wine or bottle of beer in the evening adds up.

I single out these two bad habits because their not simply sunk costs where you pay for it and get nothing back. These habits make you pay continuously in the long run from the health impacts they bring.

It’s worse than a sunk cost!

It’s one thing to use your money in a way that gives nothing back, and it’s an entirely different thing to spend your money to cause you even more monetary damage in the future.

Stop having the latest version of anything unless it’ll cost more if you don’t

We live in a fast pace consumerism society and it’s easy to constantly want the latest version of everything we see.

…Marketers are great at making us feel like the old model of just last year, is obsolete and irrelevant in our lives. Most of the time that’s just not the case, and attempting to keep up with the latest offerings will see you spend so much more than you need to.

Refrain from buying the latest version every time there’s something new is a habit of a smart consumer. But this isn’t true all the time, sometimes purchases last only a set amount of time and must be upgraded to provide the same level of benefit.

In those incidents, buying the latest version makes sense.

Maximize the discounts and offers you have available to you

Different places may have different cultures on coupons, discounts and offers. Hong Kong doesn’t have a big coupon culture, but I know for a fact that USA does. Coupons get sent to your door regularly and it just doesn’t make sense to not use them.

frugal spending habits

A great frugal habit is to make use of what is already available to you. You don’t need to be a coupon expert and get your weekly shopping bill down to zero, but taking advantage of what is readily available at your finger tips will save you so much money.

Do you have store discounts? Is there a special discount day? Can you get cashback? Is there a loyalty rewards program? Etc etc.

Many people ignore these offers and discounts all around them and I don’t know why. Retailers want you to use them, it’s why they exist and why most of the time it’s shoved right to your letter box, inbox, or face!

Keeping up with the Jones’ is not smart – stop it

Peer pressure is real and it’s not just for teenagers in the school yard. It’s for everyone. Some people are more susceptible to it than others, but we all kinda do it to a certain extent.

I think it’s only normal to not want to be at the bottom of whatever social circle you are in. However, if your social circles put a lot of emphasis on material possessions. Then I’m afraid you’re most likely playing an expensive version of keeping up with the Jones’.

I’m not saying you should drop your friends, but I am saying, you’re going to have to ask yourself how important it is for you to be matching your spending habits with your peers.

Frugal spending habits
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How important is that really? And is it worth sacrificing your financial stability for it?

Keep your food waste down

This is a nice simple habit that is great for the environment and great on your wallet. A lot of us cook, buy or order too much food. Most of us don’t even think about the amount we waste and throw out. It’s become such an acceptable habit to have.

But that’s saying throwing money in the bin is an acceptable habit to have. Because it’s just that. Money down the bin.

But the most mind boggling part of this point is, it’s not hard to correct.

Only buy what you need or know you can consume. Cook only what you need and if there’s leftovers, then make the effort to store it away for the next day.

Are the portions a bit too big for one person? Share it.

A lot of people underestimate the cost of food and how much they spend on food. It’s a necessity and so most people don’t keep tabs on how much they spend on it. But everything costs something. And if you’re wasting food, then your money isn’t being spent wisely.

Minimize areas of excess in your life

How many cars do you have? Do you have a spare room you don’t need? How many computers do you have? When was the last time you used that bread making machine?

Having too much in life isn’t obvious and we don’t tend to notice it unless we make an effort to evaluate ourselves.

We buy houses that are too big, get that extra car we don’t actually need. Gadgets that we don’t use often enough to ever justify the purchase. It’s just excess.

In some ways, this point goes hand in hand with minimalist living. But I wouldn’t go as far as having ALL your belongings fitting in a bag.

The idea is simple, only buy what you need and will actually use. You don’t want your possessions collecting dust being unused. You can forget about all the other points on this post and you’ll still be able to get yourself in a better financial position from this one point alone.

Be a savvy credit user

Using credit to make purchases can be potentially great if you have sufficient self-discipline. A lot of credit cards have perks to encourage you to use their services.

The most common perks include cashback, reward points, air miles, and exclusive discounts. All of these perks when used efficiently make your spending cheaper.

Get free plane tickets, household appliances, cheaper meals or other spending discounts that make what you needed to spend in the first place cheaper or even free!

Business owners spend a lot on a regular basis for businesses expenses and it’s common knowledge that they use credit cards to leverage rewards for air miles. They don’t call business class, business class for nothing.

But using credit cards is also dangerous for the undisciplined. It’s a common trap many people fall into because a swipe of a card is a lot harder to track than cash in your wallet. There’s this mental disconnect which makes the whole buying process almost too easy to comprehend.

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Swipe, swipe, sign, sign.

And now it’s gotten worse since we can connect our credit cards to wireless payment apps or other easy payment methods. It makes the disconnect even bigger than before.

Use cash as much as possible

This leads me to my last point. It directly contradicts the previous point, but if you’re not great at monitoring yourself, then this point is for you.

Forget about the rewards and perks credit cards offer if you can’t control your spending with them. Stick with cash and you’ll have an easier time not going over budgets.

No credit card sign up reward is going to counter the extra spending you’ll do with mindless swiping.

Other resources you should check out:

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