Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Being called a tightwad isn't so bad anymore.

A few years ago a friend of mine teasing, said I could swim across the Ocean with money in my fist and it wouldn't get wet. Boy have the tides changed being frugal and thrifty is in. Families are searching the Internet and scouring over the coupon sections of newspapers in search for good deals. Being a long time frugalist (yes I made that up, I think it sounds better than being a tightwad)  hope this fad becomes a tradition. Despite harsh economic times saving account balances are on the rise. Many families are in the process of buying their first home, taking advantage of tax credits and low interest rates. Many Americans are searching for ways to cut back on expenses pay down debt and expand emergency funds.

Here are a few ideas on how to be more frugal.

1. Cut back on television costs. Make a record of the actual shows you watch and then see what channels you can do without. For most of us we have a few channels we watch on a regular basis and the rest we are paying for without use. Also look online and see which shows you can watch online. My wife and I have opted not to get cable or satellite because for the most part we can see everything we want online or via netflix.

2. Spend your summer vacation at home. Flying across or out of the country is extremely expensive. Take the week off and spend it doing things in your own area for less, here are a few great ideas.
     A. Spend a day at the lake, if you have a boat or access to one spend a day at the lake with the family. It is a ton of fun. If you don't have one renting one is a great option and if you are spending the night at home you can put the would be hotel costs towards the boat. Also finding a family member or friend to invite along can cut costs and be a great activity for everyone.
    B. If getting out of the house is a must, find a nice hotel nearby where you can go for a night or two for far less than a week in a shabby place.
   C. Enjoy the great outdoors, camping is a fantastic way to enjoy nature and spend time together. Camping is also very cheap compared to many other vacation opportunities. Hiking, fishing, and sitting around the fire are all low cost activities.

3. Utilize public transportation, unless you live in a large city I doubt you are using your public transportation. Next time you head to a local sporting event or just for a day at the Mall. Take the bus or train, enjoy the leisure of not having to worry about traffic and save on the gas money. If you are a student look to see if you can get a discounted yearly pass for public transportation. This can significantly lower your cost of living if you don't have to fund the up keep of a vehicle.

4. Only use coupons when going out to eat. If you can't use some kind of coupon don't go out. My wife and I do this and its great we eat for less and it forces us to try new places. We have found a few of our favorite places using this method.

Being frugal is a way of life that yields rewards for years and years. I want to know what you are doing to be more frugal??

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