To help you on your journey towards financial independence, we’ve gathered 15 frugal living tips from financial advisors, founders, and other professionals.
From delaying big-ticket purchases, to asking for deals to save money, these experts share their best practices for frugality and financial independence.
- Delay Big-Ticket Purchases
- Master Budgeting and Tracking Spending
- Align Budget with Personal Values
- Plan Meals to Control Food Budget
- Distinguish Between Needs and Wants
- Prepare Lunch at Home for Savings
- Leverage “Stoozing” for Mortgage Savings
- Track Expenses for Financial Insight
- Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions
- Use Technology for Financial Management
- Prioritize Spending with Budget Tracking
- Cut Expenses from Seldom-Used Subscriptions
- Invest in Experiences, Not Impulse Buys
- Wait a Month Before Impulse Buying
- Ask for Deals to Save Money
Delay Big-Ticket Purchases
When climbing the pay ladder, I purposefully delayed purchasing big-ticket items such as a newer or more expensive home, car, or luxury item. When I review my spending in detail, I’ve found it typically isn’t an $8 latte (or several of them) that puts me over the discretionary-spending edge, but rather something like a luxury handbag that I felt I deserved at the time, yet doesn’t bring me sustained happiness.
That is to say, in hindsight, it would feel better to see my investment portfolio increase than to have a closet of designer wares. It’s important to build a budget for yourself, but equally or more important, to reconcile your past spending and decide whether to make an adjustment to the budget or your spending to be more accurate moving forward. — Morgan Jarod, Financial Advisor, Royal Private Wealth
Master Budgeting and Tracking Spending
There are many clever ways to cut expenses or generate extra income, but there is no replacement for the discipline of budgeting. A budget is the daily application of your long-term goals. It serves as a compass for your financial journey, making sure you are consistently moving towards your destination.
There are two parts to every great budget: planning and tracking. First, you need to write out a plan for how you are going to spend every dollar of income you will earn in a given month. Then, you need to track your spending to ensure you are following your plan.
It would amaze most people at how much progress they can make toward their financial goals by simply using a budget to align their spending with their goals.
Luckily, becoming a master budgeter is easier today than it has ever been thanks to several budgeting apps that make the process simple and convenient.
Align Budget with Personal Values
Review your budget so that it aligns with your values, not what society tells you to value. Many of us get trapped in consumerism and in looking the part. Society tells us that, in order to prove that you are wealthy, you must have an expensive car, home, and wardrobe.
What happens if you value none of those things? You spend more money than necessary, proving you have money. Look at your expenses. Do they truly align with what you care about? If they don’t, change it and be free. — Tremaine Wills, MBA, CFEI, Financial Planner | Investment Advisor, Mind Over Money
Plan Meals to Control Food Budget
Plan your meals for the week on the weekend before. Make your grocery list from your established menu. This habit keeps you from buying groceries you don’t need and helps avoid the late-afternoon query, “What should I make for dinner tonight?” that often ends up with something quick and less healthy, or convenient but more expensive.
Additionally, planning out your menu helps maintain variety. In our home, we have an outline we tend to follow: Sunday’s meal has pork; Monday tends to be a hearty soup or salad; Tuesday is “Breakfast for dinner” (egg bake, blueberry crepes, etc.); Wednesday is a chicken dish; Thursday’s dinner has fish or sausage as a base ingredient; Friday is Pizza night (make yourself or order out), and Saturday is a beef dish. — Keith Piscitello, Certified Financial Planner, S2 Wealth Planning
Distinguish between Needs and Wants
Frugality is about mindset and intentionality more than deprivation. One of the most impactful practices for me has been to shift my mindset around needs versus wants. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we “need” the latest technology, furniture, clothes, cars, etc. But most of these are simply wants. Focusing on true needs — food, shelter, basic clothing, transportation to work — frees up a lot of money.
I ask myself, “Do I really need this, or just want it? Will this purchase add value and enjoyment to my life, or am I buying it just to have it?” Distinguishing needs from wants has allowed me to dramatically cut discretionary spending. I buy very few material items now, and focus my time and money on experiences, relationships, and personal growth. — Brian Meiggs, Founder, My Millennial Guide
Prepare Lunch at Home for Savings
Wherever possible, prep your lunch at home if you’re eating at the office or somewhere other than your home. Over the course of a month, the savings really stack up! This could be as easy as batch-cooking at the weekends, ready for the week, or just making a homemade sandwich in the morning. — Jordan White, Financial Planner, A Money Thing Happened
Leverage “Stoozing” for Mortgage Savings
In financial strategies, one unique money-saving hack I’ve employed is using an offset mortgage combined with savings. This approach, popularly known in England as “Stoozing,” can significantly reduce monthly mortgage payments.
Stoozing involves utilizing the funds from 0%-interest credit-card offers. Instead of spending this money, one deposits it into a bank account linked to an offset mortgage. This approach effectively reduces the mortgage balance temporarily, leading to significant savings on mortgage interest.
As the 0% period on the credit card nears its end, the “stoozer” then pays off the credit card using the deposited funds, having benefited from reduced mortgage costs in the interim. At one point, I had over £100,000 on credit cards, but this was sitting in my bank account, significantly reducing the interest payments on my mortgage. It accelerated my financial independence by at least 10 years. — Shane McEvoy, MD, Flycast Media
Track Expenses for Financial Insight
As a wealth-management specialist, one frugal-living tip I recommend to new clients is to track and record all your expenses. While this may seem time-consuming, it’s a great way to gain insight into where you are spending your money and how much you’re actually saving each month.
Making sure you can see exactly where your money goes will help keep it in check and prevent impulse purchases that add up quickly. This is especially important when trying to reach financial independence because every dollar saved means more freedom for the future. — Adam Fayed, CEO, AdamFayed.com
Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions
Getting rid of subscriptions and simplifying my monthly budget has played a significant role in speeding up my journey towards financial independence.
Subscriptions might seem harmless, but the costs can really sneak up on you if you’re not careful. For years, I was paying over $100 a month for cable. I also was spending $50 on various streaming services, had an expensive gym membership, and would occasionally try services like meal delivery kits. And I hadn’t negotiated my Internet or phone bills in years.
One day, I realized I was spending well over $350 per month on these services, some of which I wasn’t using. I cut cable out completely, got a cheaper phone plan, and moved to a more affordable gym near me. I also scrapped the meal delivery kits and just cook myself now. This saves me $200+ a month easily, and it hasn’t impacted my quality of life.
Use Technology for Financial Management
As a tech firm CEO, one frugal-living practice that’s been paramount in my journey to financial independence is leveraging technology in everyday life. Just like how technology optimizes workflows in business, it can automate and help control personal finances.
From budgeting apps that alert you to overspending, to shopping apps that compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal, technology is a powerful tool for frugality. It’s about smartly managing your resources, and in our tech-savvy world, what’s more apt than using technology to do that? — Abid Salahi, Co-Founder and CEO, FinlyWealth
Prioritize Spending with Budget Tracking
Having a financial roadmap that helps to prioritize your spending can be very helpful in any situation. Just having a visual representation of how you spend your money can really make a difference, by helping to cut unnecessary expenses and allowing you to save up more.
Financial independence usually means building an emergency fund, paying off any debts, and investing, so having a budget can ensure that you allocate resources to each one of these goals over time.
It is also a flexible tool that can be adjusted to accommodate big life changes—including changes in income, expenses, or financial goals. Having an adaptable budget helps you stay on course despite fluctuations in your financial situation. — Peter Reagan, Financial Market Strategist, Birch Gold Group
Cut Expenses from Seldom-Used Subscriptions
One money-saving strategy that has greatly aided my progress toward financial freedom is reducing expenses from seldom-used subscription apps and curbing impulsive buying habits. I discovered that even seemingly minor monthly subscription charges can accumulate rapidly.
By eliminating these superfluous costs and reallocating the savings, I’ve successfully diverted a significant sum into lasting investments. This intentional tactic not only conserves money but also multiplies it, hastening my journey to financial security and autonomy. — George Fakorellis, Head of Growth, WealthyHood
Invest in Experiences, not Impulse Buys
Cutting out all unnecessary expenses isn’t realistic and can cause you to minimize the quality of your life. However, I tend to focus on spending money on things that bring lasting happiness and joy, rather than spending it on fleeting, one-time feelings. Cutting out impulse buying is a much easier option, and instead, look at other ways you can spend your money that are more rewarding.
I like to spend my money on experiences like travel, concerts, and going to once-in-a-lifetime events. For these things, you tend to know well in advance, which allows you to save up and stick to a budget. This is a much healthier way of spending extra money, and you reach financial independence because you plan for these expenses instead of simply spending money haphazardly, which means you are not spending more money than you are financially able to.— Michael Charalambous, Director, Invezz.
Wait a Month before Impulse Buying
With access to savings and a large credit limit, one of the biggest challenges is impulse buys. They can quickly stack up.
We have a simple rule. If something is an impulse buy, or you think it’s an impulse buy, just wait until next month. If you still want it after 30 days, then you can start saving towards it over the course of a few months.
If you still want it, then it’s probably something you won’t grow tired of in a few days, so it’s safe to buy it confidently.
We try to strike a balance between saving and growing our wealth, and living life in the present. This compromise has worked for us, leading to tens of thousands of dollars in savings simply because we didn’t want the thing after a while.
Of course, sometimes it doesn’t work, but the goal is to make more good decisions than bad, not to completely cut off your ability to buy something in the spur of the moment. — Daniel Ndukwu, CMO and Co-Founder, DoxFlowy
Ask for Deals to Save Money
In my early 20s, I was on a shoestring budget and asked for deals on everything. When I shopped for my monthly food items, I’d ask my butcher if he had leftover meat, and he would always give me several pounds of beef at massive discounts.
Or, if I was struggling to make ends meet, I’d give my cell phone or car insurance company a call and tell them that my premium was too expensive and that I wanted to cancel. I did this because they would always offer amazing last-minute discounts to convince me to stay.
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