Does Frugal Living Help To Evade Debt?

This is a guest post by Christina Jones, a financial content writer. She has also been contributing to many personal finance blogs as a guest columnist.

Are you under the notion that frugal living is all about leading a colorless and wretched life?  Then the answer is surely no, as you are harboring wrong notion. Frugal lifestyle helps you save considerable amount of money by trimming your budget smartly. You can enjoy your life by inculcating a good spending habit and staying within your means. Avoid getting into debt by exercising financial discipline with a frugal budget. However, if you have already incurred overwhelming debt then enroll in a debt reduction program to regain control over the situation. Once you get out from the trap of debt then you can have a frugal lifestyle to avoid debt in future. Remember that frugality can help you manage your finances.

What are the frugal strategies to avoid getting into the trap of debt?

1. You can avoid splurging your hard earned money by trying out frugal fashion. Make sure that you avoid branded clothes if you are planning a frugal lifestyle. You can look for fashionable clothes on discounted price. You are not required to comprise on your style statement by avoiding branded clothes. You need to change your way of expenditure to manage your finances when you are practicing frugal living. Look for offers on stores and buy clothes when the stores offer sale.

2. Whenever you are visiting the departmental store make sure that you take your coupons. Coupons can help you lead a frugal life so it is considered to be important item when you are planning to save money. You can save considerable amount of money when you use coupons while shopping for grocery. Therefore, you are not required to compromise on things that you essential require.

3. When you are visiting the department store where you get items on whole sell price, try to get things in bulk to avail the discount. You can prepare a list of the items that you require every month and get those in bulk on whole sell rate. If you purchase things in bulk then you can manage to save considerable amount of cash. It’ll also help you save money on gasoline as you are not required to visit the market often.

4. When you use your credit card then you can spend more than you’ll be able to afford. Make sure that you use cash more than card otherwise you might spend more than your means. When you frequently use your card then you might incur insurmountable amount of debt if your expenses exceed your income.

5. You can save considerable amount on entertainment. Avoid going out for dinners in posh restaurants rather prepare your dinner at home. Instead of going out for a movie order come pop corn at home and watch films with your friends on DVD.

6. Try to save money on electric when you are planning for a frugal living. You can install a power strip in your house and connect it with the electrical appliances that you use presently. When you are not using the appliances then it will be automatically switched off. So it will help to lower the electric consumption.

You might take time to practice frugal living and learn the process of spending wisely. But if you sincere follow the tips mentioned above then you can easily inculcate a good spending habit.



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Frugal Money Saving Tips

In today’s economy, it make sense to stretch your dollar.  I’ve listed some frugal ways I’ve saved some money in practically every category! Whether it’s shopping for cheaper car insurance, having a clothes swapping party with your friends or saving money on prescriptions, these frugal favorites has one motto: SPEND LESS!

FRUGAL SHOPPING

  • Keep coupons you might use in your wallet so they are handy when you need them.
  • Shop from sites that give you cashback when you shop through their portal, such as BigCrumbs.com it’s free to join.
  • Visit thrift stores, yard sales, swap meets for furniture, clothes, tools, etc.. Check out Goodwill, Salvation Army, and your local thrift stores for great deals.
  • Show your discount cards wherever they accept it; such as student ID’s, senior cards, military cards, etc..
  • Before paying retail, check Craigslist, eBay, Pennysaver and Freecyle for what you are looking for.
  • For more frugal shopping tips and information, visit our Shopping page.

FRUGAL BEAUTY & HEALTH

  • Save time and money when you shop for items on Beauty.com, get free samples and free shipping too!
  • If you don’t use it regularly or it’s too expensive, cancel your gym membership.  Instead, you can exercise at home with a DVD or do some walking around the neighborhood or hike at the park.
  • Get a discount cards here when you buy prescription medications, it can save you up to 75% off.
  • If you only need to dye your roots, use only half the application and save the other half for next time.
  • For more frugal health and wellness information, visit our Health page.

FRUGAL MONEY & FINANCE

  • Refinance or reduce your mortgage payment.  It may save you a substantial amount. Take advantage of the low rates available.
  • Shop around for high yield interest rates on CD or Savings accounts.
  • Use a credit card rewards card for monthly expenses.  Pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges.  Depending on your expenses, you can usually redeem your points for a gift card or cash at the end of each month.
  • Keep a log of your daily expenses.  This can help you determine a realistic budget you can adhere to.
  • Pay bills online, it saves time and you save money on stamps too.
  • Earn money for college bills and student loans when you shop for groceries, shop online, fill your gas tank and more via Upromise.com.
  • For more frugal money and finance information, visit our Finance page.

FRUGAL BUSINESS & OFFICE

  • Join a rewards program at one of the office supply retailers, such as Office Depot.  Get cash back whenever you recycle toner cartridges.
  • Design your own website and host it for FREE at Yola.com.
  • Instead of going out to restaurants everyday, pack a lunch to work.
  • When mailing books, CD’s magazines, DVD’s, etc.. at the post office, specify the package as Media Mail. The rates are usually less than First Class postage.
  • For more frugal business tips and information, visit our Business page.

FRUGAL BOOKS & MAGAZINES

  • Instead of buying books retail, buy them at a discount at BookCloseouts where all books are 50-80% off.
  • Rotate reading magazines amongst your friends.  Each one of you can subscribe to a different magazine and pass it to the next friend when you are done reading it.  You can order magazines (up to 85% off) at MagazineDiscountCenter.
  • Another free option is to check out books at your local library.
  • Here’s a good resource eBook on 1011 Money Saving Tips.
  • For more frugal books, magazines and resources, visit our Resources page.
FRUGAL AUTO & INSURANCE
  • Do preventative maintenance on your car regularly.  It’s much cheaper than having to buy a new car.
  • Wash your own car vs. paying for a car wash.
  • Get car insurance quotes and compare it with your current policy.  Chances are you will save money by switching.
  • Some gasoline stations charge less when paying in cash vs. with a credit card.
  • Use coupons for oil changes , smog checks, etc..
  • Shop for a new car on a weekday at the end of the month.  The salespeople are often pressured to meet monthly quotas then.
  • For more frugal auto and insurance information, visit our Insurance page.

FRUGAL GROCERIES & DINING

  • When at a restaurant, split a bigger meal between two people.  You not only save money, but you won’t be tempted to overeat.
  • Cook more often at home.  Eat leftovers.  Eat out less often.
  • Here’s a couple of eBooks to help you save thousands grocery shopping and to shop for better groceries for less cash.
  • Instead of sodas, coffee, tea, or juice drink water – it’s free and has zero calories.  Try adding lemon or a slice of cucumber in the water.
  • Host potluck parties with friends.  It’s more fun, saves you money, you can be loud and you don’t have to tip.
  • When you do go out to eat, get discount vouchers to your favorite restaurants at Restaurants.com.
  • Want an alternative to expensive coffee?  Check out CoffeeForLess.com.
  • When at the shopping at the grocery store, reach for items on the top and bottom shelves, they are often cheaper than the ones at eye level.
  • For more frugal food, groceries and dining ideas, visit our Food page.

FRUGAL TECHNOLOGY & PHONES

  • Compare internet, home phone and wireless phone here. Chances are you can find a better deal.
  • If you don’t watch TV that often or only watch select shows, consider canceling your cable or satellite service.  More than likely, you can watch your favorite shows on Hulu.com for free!
  • For more frugal tech, telecom and phone information, visit our Tech/Phone page.
FRUGAL HOME & GARDEN
  • Check out estate sales for deals on unique antique furnishings and home decor accessories.
  • Buy an inexpensive soaker hose from a home improvement store. Using a soaker is a more efficient and less wasteful way to water your lawn.
  • Shop flea markets, swap meets, thrift stores, yard sales for great finds in home decorating.  If you are looking for something specific, check out Craigslist, or eBay.
  • For great looking home accessories, shop Ross, Target, Marshall’s, Home Goods or TJ Maxx.
  • For more frugal home and garden decor tips and ideas, visit our Decor page.

FRUGAL STYLE & FASHION

  • Host a fun clothes/purse/accessory swapping party with your friends.  What’s old to them is new to you.
  • Make your own gifts, such as handmade jewelry, crafts, personalized cards, etc..  Reuse and recycle gift bags, tissues, bows, ribbons when putting together your next gift.
  • Get discounts on fashion and accessories at a great price at FractionPrice.com.
  • Instead of buying each friend or family member a gift for the holidays, treat yourselves to a nice dinner to your favorite restaurant.
  • If you have a AAA card, you can get a discount when you shop at Payless Shoe Source.
  • Check out ShoeBacca.com for great deals on shoes plus it’s always free shipping!

FRUGAL TRAVEL

  • When traveling with friends, split the cost of the hotel accommodations.
  • Book your next vacation and save money through BookingBuddy.com.
  • Looking for a cheap travel alternative? Consider home swapping at HomeExchange.com
  • Bring snacks and non perishable foods on vacation.  Limit eating out at fancy restaurants during your trip.
  • If you need to rent a car on your trip, check out CarRentals.com for great deals.
  • For more frugal travel information, visit our Travel page.

Inexpensive Cars Under $16,000

In the June 2011 article in AAA’s Westways magazine, Peter Bohr wrote about how there really are affordable new cars under $16,000! He has assembled a list of his favorites and he shares it with his readers. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

Every car on the list comes with luxury and safety items. I considered only cars that included air conditioning for my $16,000 price limit. Every vehicle has a host of safety features, including side air bags. Except for the Ford Ranger, each also has curtain air bags. Except for the Suzuki SX4, each has stability control. All have, at a minimum, a 36-month/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Most have combined EPA city/highway fuel economy ratings in the high 20-mpg or low 30-mpg range.

I used manufacturer suggested retail prices including destination fee, minus any advertised factory-to-consumer rebates. The prices do not include sales tax or fees, which typically add another 10 to 12 percent. In alphabetical order, here’s the terrific 10:

Fiat 500 – $16,000 including remote keyless entry, cruise control.

Ford Fiesta SE sedan – $15,590 (after $500 rebate), including automatic transmission, remote keyless entry.

Ford Ranger XL two-door – $15,255 (after $3,500 rebate).

Honda Fit – $15,850, including remote keyless entry, cruise control.

Kia Soul – $13,995, with 60-month/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Mazda 2 Sport – $15,775, including automatic transmission, remote keyless entry.

Nissan Cube – $15,070, including remote keyless entry.

Nissan Sentra 2.0 Sedan – $14,980 (after $2,500 rebate), including automatic transmission.

Suzuki SX4 Sport S sedan – $15,874 (after $1,250 rebate), including navigation system, alloy wheels, remote keyless entry.

Toyota Yaris three-door hatchback – $15,839 (after $500 rebate), including automatic transmission, remote keyless entry, iPod interface, 24-month/24,000-mile free maintenance.

 

Kia Soul

 

Free Caribbean Vacations!

Who says there’s no such thing as legitimate free stuff. I found this awesome website that gives away complimentary travel certificates to the caribbean. Most hotels and resorts are never booked to full capacity, except perhaps during the holidays and long weekends.

Some of the exotic locations include Cabo San Lucas & Cancun, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Aruba, and many more destinations. Check their website for updated information.

Check out this website, they truly give you a free trip to the caribbean! The only thing you and your guest(s) need to do is attend a 90 minute no-obligation presentation and pay the room tax.

Go to www.RedeemTrip.com and mention the certificate promo code: GFF547 to receive your free exotic vacation!  For more frugal deals, visit TheFrugalLifestyle.

 

Freebies and Discounts on your Birthday!

There is an upside to turning a year older. Here’s some sweet b’day perks, courtesy of Real Simple magazine. Check with each merchant to make sure these birthday offers still apply.

AVEDA: I have taken advantage of this treat myself. Birthday-club members receive a free product – up to a $25 value – custom blended with the aroma of their choice to be redeemed within two months. The body lotion is quite popular, one time I waited almost 2 months until they got more in.

BASKIN-ROBBINS: You’ll receive an e-mail coupon for a free scoop of ice cream and a discount on a birthday cake when you join the Birthday Club.

BENIHANA: Sign up for the  Chef’s Table e-newsletter and you will get an e-mail with a gift certificate for dinner worth up to $30 to be used during your birth month.

COLD STONE CREAMERY: Sign up for its birthday club and receive a free treat on your special day.

DSW: Loyalty members, who participate in a rewards program, get a $5 certificate that’s good through the member’s entire birthday month.

EXPRESS: Customers who are store credit-card holders receive a $10 coupon to be applied toward their next purchase during their birth month.

IHOP: By joining the Pancake Revolution, you’ll eat for free three times – once when you sign up for IHOP’s mailing list, once on your birthday, and once a year after you register.

NEW YORK & COMPANY: Store credit-card holders receive a coupon for up to 25 percent off purchases (in store and online), valid during their birth month.

OLD NAVY: Subscribe to Old Navy e-mails and receive $10 off purchases of $50 or more (online and in stores) for two weeks during your birth month.

RED ROBIN: Enroll in the eClub or the Red Royalty program and score a free burger!

RUBY TUESDAY’S: Sign up for the So Connected list at rubytuesday.com and get a free burger on your birthday and other food and bar redemption offers during the year.

STARBUCKS: Toast your day with a free cappuccino (or any another drink of your choice) when you have a My Starbucks Rewards card. Pick one at any location. The more you use it, the more freebies you can get, including gratis syrup and refills. In addition, I personally have received many free drink cards in the mail after I’ve ordered 15 drinks.

VICTORIA’S SECRET: Angel credit-card holders receive either a $10-off coupon for in-store purchases or an e-mailed coupon code good for $10 off online during their birth month.

PLUS a birthday gift for your pet …

PETCO: Register Fido’s D.O.B (or adoption date) in the Birthday Club and get 10 percent off products during that month.


Save on all the things you love to do!

Year-Round Money Savings Goals

Most people make resolutions at the beginning of each new year, but it’s smart to keep check of your finances all year long. If you are truly serious about “saving more money” this year, here are a few tips that can ensure that you are taking steps towards that goal.

  • Determine a realistic monthly budget. If you aren’t able to pay cash for everything, consider using one credit card that you pay off every month (to avoid interest fees). Ideally it should be a credit card that offers reward points, not only will you earn points for merchandise or cash, but you can “float” that month’s expenses until next month, giving you a month to pay off the entire amount.
  • Pay your bills online. This not only saves you time and the cost of stamps, but if you sign up for monthly payments on recurring monthly expenses, you will never be late and therefore won’t get hit with late fees. A bonus is that it’s paperless system which saves the environment in a small but significant way.
  • Are you getting the most out of your CD, savings or checking account? If not, shop around for better interest rates, it pays to look for an institution that offers more for your money. For rate comparison, try MoneyAisle.com.
  • Save money on your energy bill this year. Certain states have deregulated electricity and natural gas, which means you have the freedom to choose who your energy provider will be. You have the power to shop for the best rates. Check out SpendLessOnUtilities.com to find out if your state has deregulated electricity and/or natural gas.
  • If you aren’t lucky enough this year to pay off your mortgage, consider refinancing or reducing your mortgage payment. Interest rates continue to be low. You could save a good amount of money each month which you could save towards paying off your home loan earlier.
  • You can save money on your car, home, health, life insurance. I recently saved almost $400 a month on car insurance! Shop around for the best rates here.
  • Let’s face it, it’s fun to shop. However, for me it’s more fun if I can get a bigger bang for my buck. This year, one of my goals is to save as much money for things I shop for, whether it’s groceries or clothes, etc.. By regularly using coupons, shopping for online deals or buying stuff at garage sales or thrift stores I can ensure I won’t be paying full price on most things.

Frugal Home Decor Ideas

I love looking through home decorating magazines and books for inspiration ideas for my own home. I take those ideas and find similar items for less money in order to create my dream room.  I recently furnished our living room in Oceanside, California with furniture and accessories from thrift stores, discount home stores, sidewalk finds and hand me downs.

You really can have a stylish room without spending a fortune.  The total cost of the living room was only $350. For more home decor ideas visit the Decor page on TheFrugalLifestyle.com.

Here’s a photo of the living room and an itemized list of where I acquired my frugal items:

  • Shabby Chic Sofa + Ottoman – Thrift Store $200 set
  • Assorted Pillows – Ross, Marshall’s $7 each
  • Coffee Table – Yard Sale $5
  • Small Nesting Tables – Donated (thanks Leslie)
  • Silver Bowl and Shells – Donated (thanks again Leslie)
  • Sun, Sand, Surf Coasters – Ross $5 each
  • Colored Glass Vases – Rummage Sale $3 each
  • Retro Ashtray – Swap Meet (free at end of day)
  • Vintage Lamp + Shade – Antique Store $25
  • Sheer Curtains – Ross, Target $8 per panel
  • White Tray – Salvation Army $5
  • Flea Market Book on Tray – Gift
  • Side Table – Sidewalk Discard (re-stained with new knobs)

Beach Cottage Living Room