Back To Basics: Stop Whining And Frugal Up Your Finances

PinExt Back To Basics: Stop Whining And Frugal Up Your Finances

It takes a little frugality and sacrifice to get ahead with money once you’ve gotten yourself in a hole.  In other words, you may need to give up a little in terms of your lifestyle now in order to achieve a level of financial success tomorrow.  This really isn’t so bad.  Frugality doesn’t hurt as much as you think it will. 

Making a few financial sacrifices is kind of like ripping off a band-aid.  Sure, it hurts a little just for a second, but then the pain goes away and you realize your boo-boo is all better. 

Is it time for you to make some changes to your finances?

Someone once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 

Are you guilty of this behavior in your personal finances?

pocket change Back To Basics: Stop Whining And Frugal Up Your Finances If what you have been doing up to this point isn’t working, then it is time to try something new.  It is time to get radical!

Take a look at your finances and net worth (assets minus liabilities).  Are you gaining or losing ground?

Many people have a decent income, but still seem to barely be able to keep their heads above water financially.

If this is you, then the only way to start getting ahead is by creating margin.  You have to get your spending down below what you earn.  How do you do this?  By making some cuts.

10 Ways to frugal up your finances in a hurry.

Okay, so you are ready to make some sacrifices, right?  You have made a serious decision to get your spending under control so you can have money left over to create an emergency fund and pay off some bills, but you aren’t sure where to start. 

Well, let me give you a few ideas.  Once you get started, you’ll find all kind of places to reduce spending and save money.

Keep in mind that not one of these by itself is going to be the solution you are seeking.  It is the savings from making several cuts that when added together will give you the traction you need. 

You will be amazed at how even $100-$200 of monthly margin will get the ball rolling on your personal finance bailout plan.

I want to let you know that this isn’t just a list that I’m making up.  I have personally taken these steps myself.  As a result, in less than two years, my wife and I paid off about $28,000 in debt and started seeing our net worth increase substantially!

Here’s what we did:

1.  Give up cable or satellite television.

I can hear the screams from here.  I figured that I’d lead off the list with one that will make many people squirm.  I’m testing your resolve here.  There are numerous excuses for why you need the extra channels, but none of them hold water.  Call today and have the cable or satellite company cut off or at least significantly reduce your service.  It might save you $25 to $75 per month!

2.  Stop eating out all the time.

Restaurants are expensive!  Have you added up what you are spending each month on eating out?  When my wife and I did this, we were shocked!  This was a tough area for us to cut back in because it was something we seriously enjoyed.  Therefore, we didn’t stop eating out all together, but we did cut way, way back.  We budgeted a certain amount each month and when that money was gone, we ate at home.  Again, this could easily save you $50 to $100 per month or more!

3.  Cut telephone costs.

Look for ways to lower your monthly cost on your home phone and your cell phone.  My wife decided to move to a pre-paid mobile phone which saved us most of her monthly cell phone expense.  We also negotiated with our long-distance company to get a lower rate.  I have also heard of people eliminating their home phone altogether to save money.  These efforts could save you $40 to $60 per month.

4.  Go to the library and stop buying books.

I love to read and prior to getting control of my finances I bought books regularly.  However, to save money I decided to reacquaint myself with my local library.  I now check out books, music CDs, and DVDs regularly.  I can search and reserve books on the library’s website.  They then ship the books I desire to the library of my choice for pick-up.  It is all very convenient and never costs me a dime!  This saves me at least $20 per month.

5.  Adjust the thermostat for savings.

You can save a significant amount on your monthly electric and gas bill by adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees.  In the summer, we turn the thermostat up during the day and wear shorts around the house when we are home.  In the winter, we turn down the heat at night and throw an extra blanket on the bed.  You can even automate this with a programmable thermostat.  This saved us $20 to $30 per month.

6.  Stop going to the mall.

Going to the mall is not entertainment!  We used to go when we were bored.  Of course, we usually ended up spending money while we were there.  If you need clothes, then shop sales or go to stores that offer name-brands at a discount.  You can save a ton on these items if you are a smart shopper.  Dave Ramsey says, “Never pay retail!”  We probably save $15 to $30 per month by staying away from the mall.

7.  Cut your spending on groceries.

Buy the basics at the grocery store.  You will save a tidy sum by buying staples and cooking at home.  Search the Internet for cheap and easy recipe ideas.  Cut some coupons and shop at discount grocery stores instead of the full-service chains.  Eat simple, healthy meals that are nutritious without costing a fortune.  By cutting back on groceries, we saved $40 to $50 per month.

8.  Sell off some of your toys.

Many hobbies end up costing a lot of money.  I love recreational activities, but there is season in life for everything.  It might be time to scale way back on some of the toys in order to get some financial freedom.  We sold a boat, Seadoo, and hot tub to cut back on our expenses.  It not only saved us some monthly payments, but it also eliminated storage and maintenance costs.  This saved us $60 to $90 per month.

9.  Scale back this year’s vacation.

I love adventure!  So, the thought of a staycation or even cutting back severely on our vacation plans seemed sacrilegious to me.  However, we did it and it wasn’t that bad.  We set a budget and then worked hard to plan a trip that stayed within the boundaries we set.  It worked out beautifully and turned out to be very enjoyable.  It is absolutely possible to have a good time without busting the bank.

10.  Get competitive quotes on your insurance.

Visit or contact an independent insurance agent to get competitive quotes to save money on your auto, homeowner’s and term life insurance.  Now is a great time to get better rates on insurance.  If you haven’t compared what you are paying recently, then I highly encourage you to do this now.  It saved us $50 to $60 per month.

Are you ready to stop whining and frugal up?

If we continue spending our money in the same manner as we always have, then we are going to get the same results we’ve always gotten.  Make sense?  By following the advice above, you can conservatively cut about $300 off of your monthly expenses!

If you want to do better with money, then stop whining and wasting precious time!  A proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The second best time is now.”  Today, you have the power to make positive changes in your personal finances that will help you achieve greater success tomorrow.

What’s the alternative?  Would you rather continue living with the stress, anxiety and pressure of trying to make ends meet?  I didn’t think so!

What other ideas do you have for frugaling up your finances?

Photo by africankelli

PinExt Back To Basics: Stop Whining And Frugal Up Your Finances

22 thoughts on “Back To Basics: Stop Whining And Frugal Up Your Finances

  1. @Ron – Maybe frugality will become the “in” thing. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change of attitude?

    Thanks for the comment!

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  2. @Kim – You make a good point. There are individuals and families that have tightened their budget as much as possible. The only alternative that remains if they still cannot make ends meet is to increase income. There are several ways to do this. In fact, I created another list awhile back titled 50+ Resources To Legitimately Raise Your Income that might help. There is also the idea of getting additional part-time jobs assuming that you are working full-time already. Obviously, no one wants to work multiple jobs forever, but it might be a necessity for awhile.

    One point I want to emphasize is that no one should count on the government to fix this kind of a problem for them. It ain’t going to happen regardless of who is elected. It is better to take responsibility for your situation and fix it yourself.

    Thanks for bringing up such a good point!

  3. Great list! The programmable thermostats are a great idea, since they can automatically turn on the heat a few minutes before you get up and turn it down when you leave for work or at bedtime, etc. That way you don’t head off to work and forget to turn the heat down. I make good money, but I still feel guilty if I do something like that. ;)

    Also, zone heating is a great way to save money on energy bills. If your family spends the majority if the time in the living room, it doesn’t make sense to heat the whole house.

    Read Lindsay´s lastest article – Are You Smart Enough to Make a Living as a Writer?

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  6. @Kim – I’m sorry for any confusion. I went off on a tangent with my earlier reply. I guess I used your comment as an opportunity to get on my soap box. Here I go again…

    It just seems that many people living on tight budgets seem to expect something or someone external to themselves to fix their dilemma. Most often, people expect the government to do something to help them.

    I just wanted to make the point that one should not wait on a government program, policy, or decision to rectify a personal financial crisis. I believe it is best when we take personal responsibility for our situation.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify!

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  8. Great advice!! I have enjoyed all your insights & counsel regarding $$$. My husband & I are & have been debt free, but we have become “lax” or rather “loose” with the bucks. I’m reining us in…decreased meals out, brown bagging lunch & cutting back on hubby’s DirecTV…shhhh, don’t tell him! He’ll still have the NFL package..he’ll never miss the rest! LOL (seriously, he knows I’m making the change!)

  9. Jeff – Your comment implies that I said something about wanting assistance, which I find a little insulting. And then you did it twice.

    If you want to discuss that issue, perhaps a separate article would be the best platform rather than my comment.

    My point was that I frequently see these lists on different sites and they are always the same.

    Read Kim Woodbridge´s lastest article – (Anti) Social-Lists 10/26/08

  10. @Kim – I am so sorry. I in no way intended to insult you nor was my comment directed specifically toward you. You definitely did not imply that you wanted assistance. I sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding.

    It was just something you said that made me think of something I wanted to say. I’m sure you can understand how that happened. Perhaps a separate post would have been a better place for my comments about government assistance.

    Again, I hope you’ll accept my apology and my thanks for pointing out an obvious idea for an article!

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