You’re out with friends for coffee, and you settle for a small regular brewed cup. You’re too embarrassed to admit to your friends that you can’t afford that favorite latte of yours. But what can you do? You don’t want to miss out on your usual lunch dates. But, instead of sulking and getting frustrated, here are 7 tips on how to be frugal without being cheap.
Visit thrift stores
It’s not embarrassing to visit thrift stores. In fact, even the rich and famous visit these shops. They have great quality clothes in amazingly low prices. All it takes is a little patience and a few dollars, and you have a new set of great stuff.
Find frugal friends
Your friends mirror your lifestyle, so it’s best that you have frugal friends around. Hang around with them long enough and soon you’ll catch the fever too. They might also know places where you can eat out much and spend less. You can share shopping tips with each other, too. It’s a win-win deal.
Purchase at the right time
There’s a certain pride you feel every time you buy the latest games, the latest versions and the latest trends in fashion. But, timing is the key. For example, some of the latest gadgets drop prices after a few months. You’ve waited for that model to come out long enough, so what’s a few more months? Also, it’s always best to wait for sales to come out. You can buy more things with the same amount of money. Nifty, right?
Plan first before buying
Always have a list of things to buy before you go out and shop. This prevents you from “overbuying” things you think you need. This also works when you’re shopping for clothes. Do a quick window-shopping first, and then come back when you’ve made up your mind which ones to buy. Window-shopping also gives you time to think and find the cheapest pair of jeans.
Plan trips off season
Or, buy tickets off season. It’s common knowledge that ticket prices skyrocket when it’s Christmas season, so buy them early. If you want to go on trips, plan early on and go to places that are less famous. The less famous the place, the less expensive the trip is. Also, try to find neat packages and deals when planning your trip. It’s always best to travel with friends; most packages are for groups of people.
Exercise outside instead of going to the gym
Why spend on monthly gym charges when you can just jog in the nearest park? You get fresh air and you get to spend less. Search the internet for home-based exercises, home-made barbells and training programs.
Rent a movie
If you’re into movies, you must be a part of that crowd that lines up the moment a new movie goes out in the cinemas. But again, timing is everything. If you want to save up, you can always wait for the DVD to come out and rent it. Or, you can borrow movies from friends. You can also host a movie-watching event at your place to replace your cinema date with friends.
Cook your own food
It’s time to bring out those cooking pots and your hidden cooking skills. Aside from spending less and instead of eating out, you can regulate what you eat. If you’re on a diet, you can control your calorie intake because you prepare your own food. It’s healthy and cheap. What more can you ask for?
The key to a frugal life is patience: patience in finding the cheapest deals and patience in waiting for sales to come out. You don’t need to sound cheap and lose your social life just because you’re saving up. You’ll be viewed as the practical person, and who knows? You might even convince the others to be frugal as well.