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33 ways...

October 19th, 2011 at 01:23 am

I just saw CreditCardFree's post about the article '33 ways to reduce debt'.
Technically, I don't call myself frugal. Not at all. I'd say we're conservative, at best. It leads me to thinking, what exactly is frugal? While one person can say someone who does the following 33 things are frugal, another (like me) may say that it's not, or that it's just common sense, or whatever. I guess it's the same as what we view as a want and a need: it's subjective really.

Anyway, I decided to analyse our financial habits according to this article. What about you? Where do you stand?

1.Re-shop auto, home and life insurance to see if you can bring down your payments.
My auto insurance was the cheapest I could find this year. When it expires, I'll search around again. Our life insurance and home & contents insurance is one of the cheaper ones combined with a 15% multiple-policy discount which makes it the cheapest I can find, also.(It should be noted that you always need to consider your location and risk in association with insurance - no point having it if it's never going to help you, you may as well have no insurance at all).

2.Downgrade your cable package, or get rid of it entirely.
Never had cable in my LIFE, and until recently the Australian free-to-air television stations consisted of exactly 5 channels. Now we have about 14. I hear people in other countries have more free-to-air channels than us... why on EARTH would you pay? Sheesh.

3.Disconnect your home phone if you have adequate cell service at your home. Or downgrade to a cheaper package.
We do not have a home phone, and our internet is the cheapest you can find, unless you're willing to use dial-up, which we're not, as I use it for uni...

4.Buy and sell clothes at your local consignment or shop at Goodwill.
I sell old clothes on eBay, and I shop at opshops. We don't have consignment stores here (that I know of)

5.Have a massive garage sale. (If you’d rather be out of debt than have an item, choose to sell it to help you get you there.)
We just had one, and netted a nice chunk of money for savings.

6.Advertise higher quality items on Craigslist, Facebook, or your local newspaper to get better prices.
I'm currently selling a piece of furniture in the paper right now.

7.Focus on buying mostly sale items at grocery store or generic brands to reduce your cost.
I shop at aldi. Can you get any more generic?

8.Use a grocery store awards program to earn money off gas.
I do this, and I also fill up on Tuesdays or Wednesdays (cheapest petrol price day)

9.Cancel unnecessary expenses like magazine subscriptions, newspapers, manicures, pedicures etc. Anything that could be considered a “want” instead of a “need” should go until you are out of debt or greatly decrease your debt.
Subscriptions? Manicures? What are they? LOL. The only subscription I have ever had has been a gift from my dad.

10.Go to the matinee movies instead of paying full price (and skip the concessions).
Or better yet - try not going to the movies for over 12 months. Big Grin (and when you finally decide to go, use a cinema loyalty card that offers half priced movies).

11.Or better yet, use the Red Box for at-home movie entertainment.
We borrow movies from friends and the library? Does this count?

12.Get temporary work or seasonal part time work to boost your income.
I have two jobs, and DH is part of a family business. I'm currently looking for a third job.

13.Read books from the library or take a few trips to Barnes & Noble to complete a book.
Well, I don't know how welcoming the bookstore would be about that, but I do use the library regularly.

14.Buy your most expensive groceries in bulk at Coscto: meats, breads, cheese, produce, paper products. Establish a monthly grocery budget for the additional needs at regular grocery stores.
We don't have a Costco, but when I spy something cheap at bulk price that we use, I buy it.

15.When eating out, skip the soft drinks and stick with water. Skip the extras too (dessert, etc.).
We eat out very rarely, and usually only have the meal, nothing else. You can also try to stick to the specials board too...

16.When eating out, share a large entrée or have small appetizers instead of the costly meal.
Often these end up being of a similar cost in my experience.

17.Plan your errands more efficiently to conserve gas.

18.Find friends that you can trade services with…haircutting, handyman, photography, babysitting, pet-sitting.

19.Give home-made gifts, baked goods, or service IOU’s rather than expensive presents.
We don't give expensive presents, in fact most times we don't give presents unless someone needs something. For children, we screenprint shirts.

20.Boxed cereals are expensive; switch to oatmeal, eggs or fruit for more nutritional and financial bang.
We don't eat cereal, full stop. I work at a bakery so bread is free, this is what we eat for breakfast.

21.Call the utility companies and get on a budget plan to give you more consistency with expenses each month.
We have signed up for two year plans in exchange for two months free service.

22.Set a spending limit with family at Christmas and/or draw names.
Or in our case, just don't buy presents for anyone.

23.Use exercise videos, walking or hiking instead of paying for the gym.
I have never paid for a gym membership in my life.

24.If your haircut is too expensive, find a less expensive stylist or see if your hairdresser will cut you a break on price temporarily – ours did.
My hairdresser is reasonably priced, so is DH's, and they both offer a loyalty card scheme for free hair cuts after the 6th or 7th cut.

25.Say “no” to hosting and/or attending in-home parties where you feel pressure to purchase.
Luckily we don't have friends that pressure us to purchase anything to attend their parties.

26.Does your family live nearby? Once a week dinners with mom or dad saved us a meal out of our shopping budget. Additionally, it usually led to leftovers and our parents looked forward to our visit each week.
Yeah this is one thing we do occasionally but avoid. Our family is a little... different.

27.Make your coffee at home instead of buying it each day.
We no longer drink coffee every day.

28.Pack your lunch – not once a week, but regularly.
We never buy our lunches unless we have special guests on the weekend. Even then, we will usually suggest bringing some salads and having chot hips at the park.

29.Make extra dinner servings on purpose to have leftovers for lunch.
Yep, this is what DH takes nearly every day.

30.Our dentist advised us we could skip the fluoride treatments if we were using a daily dental rinse – which we did… and bought on sale.
Flouride treatments? Never had one. My teeth are fine.

31.Program your thermostat for savings on heating/cooling when you’re not at home.
We don't have aircon or heaters. We do, however, have long pants & jumpers, pedestal & ceiling fans...

32.Tempted by certain retail stores? While digging out of debt, avoid window shopping these places where you’ve failed to control your impulses before.
We actually like window shopping. We are not impulsive buyers and so this is kind of like cheap, free entertainment for us.

We give to a certain charity every year, and make regular deposits to op-shops.

1 Responses to “33 ways...”

  1. Jerry Says:

    Those multi-policy discounts on insurance can make a big difference, but I still shop around every year or so just to see if anything else can lead to more savings. Sometimes it pays off. FWIW, I think that you are frugal -- or at least, far more frugal than most!

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