7 Frugal Habits for Building Savings
In this article: Simple, effective frugal habits that can help you significantly boost the amount of cash you have in the budget to save this year.
by Andrea Norris-McKnight
It looks like we’re in for another bumpy financial ride in 2024. A healthy savings account balance can make the trip a little easier and may help you prevent pulling out the plastic to make ends meet.
If you’re struggling to put money into savings each month, a change in habits can help free up the needed cash.
Here are seven simple-to-develop frugal habits that can help you put more into savings. You might hate giving up some of these things, but remember, it is temporary. As your savings account balance grows and the economy improves, you can add some of these things back into your budget. Or you may find these habits are so simple to maintain that they become part of your lifestyle rather than simply a way to get by during tough times.
1. Cook More, Eat Out Less
Frequently dining out and ordering in is quite expensive. Cooking at home is healthier and much more cost-effective — and a very easy way to free up extra cash.
If a busy schedule prevents you from cooking from scratch, switching to a meal service rather than ordering fully-cooked restaurant food several times a week should help you save. However, plenty of simple, inexpensive recipes can allow you to throw meals together quickly.
2. Buy Secondhand
Consider purchasing items second-hand whenever it makes sense, such as clothing, furniture and household items. Thrift stores, online marketplaces and garage sales often have great deals on gently used items.
Buying second-hand can help save money, but you can also feel good about making the eco-friendly choice to buy used.
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3. Use Coupons and Shop Sales
If you can’t buy second-hand, take advantage of sales, coupons and cash-back apps to save money on items you must buy.
Remember that buying used and shopping sales will help you save, but avoiding non-essential purchases will help you save even more. Any purchase you can put off until later can help you put more into savings now.
4. Take Control of Utility Bills
Being mindful of your utility usage can help you save quite a bit. Weatherizing your home, minimizing hot water usage and using energy-efficient appliances are just some of the ways you can lower utility bills.
The following articles explain some of the many ways you can cut utility costs:
5. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships
Review all your subscriptions and memberships and cancel those that you don’t use frequently enough to justify the cost or make a point not to renew this year. This includes a gym membership, streaming services, warehouse club membership and even Amazon Prime.
You can always sign up again once your bank balance improves.
6. Find Free and Cheap Entertainment Options
Often, entertainment can be one of the more challenging budget categories to trim. You may have to get creative to come up with free and cheap options you enjoy.
Host a potluck at your house rather than meet friends out for an expensive restaurant meal. Watch for low-cost community events, such as concerts or movies in the park. Treat your family to a day at the beach or lake rather than an amusement or theme park.
You might be surprised at the fun things you discover that require very little cash outlay.
Which Frugal Habits Will Help You Save?
These tips can help you get through tough times a little easier. But making these habits a lifestyle choice rather than a temporary tool for freeing up extra cash can lead to substantial growth in your savings over time. Just make some of these savings actually make it into your savings account. These tips can help make sure your savings don’t disappear.
Reviewed December 2023
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