Hello, there. My name is Jaclyn and I am thrifty/frugal. Some of you may call it cheap. I call it wise. Currently in my third degree and not really working I am proud to say I have not accumulated any debt. Scholarships and living at home (free food, car, and basically everything) are the major factors to thank, although working part-time, wise-spending, and saving has played a big part as well. Over the years I have picked up some tricks to save money while enjoying life (read: not eating only peanut butter and sitting at home bored). Please, indulge me whilst I share my "Top Ten" with you.
1. PRIORITIZE and BUDGET: First, decide what the heck is most vital to spend moola on. Food takes preference over new shoes. As for the budget, you don't have to do a strict one to be successful. Have more than a vague idea of what money needs to be allocated where. This will prevent surprises like having an maxed out credit card when rent is due.
2. NEED versus WANT: This goes along with number one. Do you NEED that dress or do you want it? Be realistic--will you wear it? How often?
3. BUY SECOND HAND: I love second-hand shopping! It is good for the earth, a great way to find some neat items, and can really save you some serious cash. There's no shame in thrifting, my friends. No. Shame. Clothes, kitchen gadgets, decor, books (including textbooks!), sewing/crafting supplies (be creative and buy a cheap-ass muumuu for the fabric), and gifts (for friends who appreciate the second-hand lifestyle) are things I regularly buy at thrift stores. Basically, if it's not underwear or sketchy stained sheets I am not above purchasing it.
**However, it is easy to fall into the mind-trap of "Oh, this dress is only $3...I'll get it!" and end up with a bunch of crap you don't really need.
4. BORROW: Hit up the library for movies and books. Swap clothes and books with friends. If you do not need to own something and can get away borrowing it, do it! Renting at a good price is another great option (such as cheap nights for movie rentals).
5. DRIVE SMART TO SAVE ON GAS: I drive. A lot. I have an hour commute to school and it takes at least 20 minutes to get to anywhere I really want to go (i.e., to visit my nieces, go to a grocery store that has a great organic/health section, visit Mr. Boyfriend). And we all know that gas ain't cheap. The following really help me save cash on gas:
1. Carpool (I can't do this as often as I would like, but when the stars align, it is glorious).
2. Do several errands on one trip.
3. Don't speed! Aside from being safe, you will burn less gas. Also, I hear speeding tickets can be pricey.
6. EAT OUT LESS: Okay, not gonna lie...I eat out a fair bit. Like, at least twice a week. Mr. Boyfriend never has actual groceries. However, he pays for dinners right now as I am semi-broke, so I guess I am saving money....haha.
7. DRINK TAP WATER: Eating out? Ask for a glass of water. It's free and healthier than a pop. Going out for the day? Fill a reusable bottle with H20. My well-water is delish, so I drink it straight outta the tap. Otherwise, using a Brita Filter or the like is cheaper than buying bottled water.
8. PACK A SNACK: Pack some treats to take with you if you are going out for a bit. An apple is cheaper than a cinnabun. (And healthier).
9. SKIP THE GYM: You can get a great workout without paying mucho cash to use a gym. Yoga podcasts, skipping rope, running, walking, snowshoeing, skiing (which I have never done), swimming, workout DVDs, et cetera are free activities! I am LOVING the workouts from bodyrock.tv, which are 100% FREE!
10. COMPARISON SHOP: Pretty self-explanatory. Look around for the best deals (especially on larger ticket items). Be willing to buy generic versus name brands (although that can be hard with certain items, such as organic sweeteners). Heck yes, I will buy undies at the superstore!
There you go! I hope it was a bit informative for you all. I'm thinking of doing some more posts in this vein, focusing on specific ways to save money (such as cheap dates, a more detailed look at my cheap/free workouts, etc.), so please comment below if you would be interested in reading them.