When you hear the word frugal, do you think of coupons and thrift store shoppers? I think of frugal as being smart and thoughtful with money and time. I’m one of those who practice a frugal lifestyle, so hopefully, I don’t find myself in a position of frugality by necessity.
I have committed to being fabulously frugal by choice for my remaining years.
Save on Transportation Costs
Luckily I save money on my daily commute which saves money for fun travel. I recently joined the Vanpool program at work which saves me about $150 a month on gas. The money I save goes into my travel fund.
Vanpools, carpools or sometimes public transportation can not just cost less but also give you a little time to unwind after work.
Read more about saving money on transportation here.
Save money with rewards programs
Rewards programs that give me the most bang for my buck and a great way to be frugal without coming off as cheap. By using my travel rewards I can stay in nice hotels and experience a little luxury inexpensively.
- Starwood Preferred - I use my AMEX for just about everything and get points toward free hotel rooms.
- Total Rewards – Who doesn't love a little Las Vegas trip once in a while and this program always has free room offers, I just pay the resort fee, usually $25 a night.
- JetBlue Airlines - I think this is the best low-cost airline. Great legroom and smooth flights. JetBlue if you are reading this, may I please have Mosiac status?
- American Airlines –I use their shopping portal to double dip on points earning.
- Ebates - A little cash back on things I buy online.
- Gift Card Granny – Only use discounted gift cards if you are sure you will keep what you buy, otherwise, you may find yourself stuck with a store credit instead of a cash refund.
Review Your Credit Card Spending
Going over a years’ worth of credit card and bank statements I found my trigger points are clothes, shoes, and beauty products. Of course, this makes sense now, because until you find your “perfect” fill-in-the-blank item I kept spending money on the same things. Now I know not to settle and buy something because it’s just "almost" perfect. I can't even count the number of lipsticks I purchased looking for the perfect neutral pink before I found it, and then it was discontinued.
Review Loyalty Rewards Memberships
Currently, I'm in the process of canceling all my reward programs for department and clothing stores. I receive too many marketing emails and not enough real savings. All those temptations to buy stuff I don't need doesn't fit with my frugal by choice lifestyle. I'm deleting the shopping Apps from my phone. I looked at the last time I accessed each app and frankly I just don't use them so why have them cluttering up my phone and messing the aesthetics of my home screen.
Saving money on beauty and pampering
Regarding my Sephora, and Ulta Rewards programs, I’m planning on canceling both. Honestly, every time I tried to use Ulta coupons the item I was purchasing was “excluded”. The coupons are mostly good for drugstore type products, and I can get those cheaper and with additional coupon savings from CVS.
Another area that was simplified is my beauty routine; I found that one lipstick that flatters my complexion, a moisturizer that doesn’t make my skin break out and a neutral shadow that just screams Parisian chic! Also, throw in a quality Made in Italy mascara for $10 and scented body lotion and viola you saved yourself a boatload of cash.
I've recently started buying the Poshpeel pedicure and facial masks from Patchology which can be found at stores like Anthropologie and Madewell. Something about ting your har=ir back with a silk band and sipping a glass of Chianti all whilst experiencing an at-home pedicure. Don't forget to put your favorite romantic Comedy in the background.
Look at how you spend money on food
Being frugal isn't about deprivation or completely changing your lifestyle. If you LOVE to eat out I'm not going to tell you to start cooking all your meals at home, that's just not realistic. Instead, make a few adjustments. Being frugal is saving money on some things so you can spend in the areas that bring you joy
Saving money at restaurants
Share a meal. This is my favorite way to enjoy dining out without breaking the bank. Nowadays restaurants serve up enormous portions and almost always there are leftovers. So why not skip the leftovers and share a meal.
Drink water. order a glass of water with lemon or lime, it's cheaper and healthier.
Go to Happy Hour. A glass of wine an a plate of free or really inexpensive appetizers can be enough to satisfy a light appetite. Google 'happy hours near me" and make a list.
Opt for take out - Order take out and have a picnic lunch or dinner at the park or your own backyard.
Use Coupons! - not all coupons are created equal. Do the math before purchasing coupons from restaurant.com. Check out he local paper for 'buy one, get one free" offers. Always tip on the full amount before the coupon is applied.
Being frugal when buying clothes
I simplified my wardrobe so I can stop always trying to find the perfect this or that. Now I have the classic white shirt, black pant, cashmere sweater, striped t-shirt, jeans, leopard jacket, leather jacket, and more than a few pairs of perfect shoes and boots. It may sound boring but a great pair of shoes a good haircut with a well-selected accessory equal’s affordable and chic style.
Always quality over quantity. With some expert shopping, you can look great without going into debt or damaging your wallet. This is my wheelhouse and I wrote a post about Useful Thrifting Tips for Buying Used Clothing.