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The Frugal Life: How to Cut Back on Daily Expenses

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Are you ready for a more Frugal Life?

Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance.

With money getting tighter, it’s challenging to enjoy the finer things in life.

Studies show that nearly 40-percent of Americans can’t afford to take a vacation this year. Further research shows that almost 70-percent of millennials are living from paycheck to paycheck.

Everybody deserves to get away from the pressures of their job at some stage during the year or to afford some of life’s other luxuries.

Fortunately, with a little financial magic, it’s possible. We have put together this list of proven ways to help you save money throughout the year.

Millennials & Money

Read: Millennials & Money: The Personal Finance Struggle is Real

Saving Money on Daily Expenses

Do you know where your money is going? If you don’t account for every cent you spend each day, then how do you expect to save for a vacation?

Sit down and work out a budget, and make sure you stay within your spending limits each day. Use these tips to help you reduce your daily expenses and build your vacation fund.

Make Use of Apps That Offer Cash Back

The chances are that you use a credit card to pay for most of your daily expenses. Do you have a rewards program attached to your account? Many credit card companies offer a cashback incentive for their customers. You earn between 1 to 5-percent on the total value of the sale, which the lender applies to your credit card statement at the end of the billing cycle.

A cashback card is an excellent way to save money on your daily expenses throughout the year. If your average credit card statement is for $1,500 per month, that’s $18,000 you’re spending with this facility a year. With a cashback card, you could make savings of between $180 to $900 every year.

When shopping online, make sure that you use a cashback app. Apps like Ibotta and Receipt Hog are excellent tools that can save you money and get you more cashback on your daily spending. Some apps also pay you for doing tasks while you’re out shopping. You can scan barcodes and check on stock levels to earn cashback points or money deposited directly into your PayPal account.

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Check Your Energy Consumption

You finish washing your hands in the bathroom, and then head downstairs for dinner. However, did you turn off the bathroom light? Being wasteful with electricity every day can add hundreds of dollars to your electrical costs over a year. Every time you leave a room, turn out the light.

The same goes for using other electrical appliances and devices around your home. Did you know that your cellphone charger still draws electricity, even if your phones not charging? Remove the plug from the wall and only use it when you change your phone.

Do you fall asleep in front of the TV? Set a sleep timer to stop it from blaring throughout the night. Electricity is one of the most significant household expenses, and doing all you can to reduce your consumption will help you reach your savings goals faster.

Install energy-efficient lighting systems throughout your home. Older-style incandescent bulbs that run filaments are more than 12-times more expensive to run than LED lighting systems.

Cut the Gourmet Coffee

How many cups of Starbucks do you have on the way to the office and throughout the day? The chances are that you need that second or third cup, and you’re throwing money away on your caffeine addiction.

One daily coffee from a gourmet coffee shop can end up costing you more than $100 every month, that’s $1,200 every year! This saving alone can help you pay for your vacation. Instead of heading into Starbucks in the morning, brew your coffee at home before you leave for work. Pour it into a travel mug and enjoy your coffee.

Living Below Your Means

Read: The Complete Guide to Living Below Your Means

Carpool with Colleagues or Friends

Car payments and gas are two other areas of your budget where you can cut back and save on your daily expenses. Sure, we all need a car to get around, but do you need to take it into work every day?

Look through Craigslist and your local newspaper classifieds for a carpooling opportunity.

By teaming up with your friend or neighbor on the way to the office, you save yourself hundreds of dollars in gas money throughout the year. Driving your car less also means there’s less wear and tear on the vehicle, reducing your servicing costs as well.

Avoid the Fast Food Drive-Thru

Similar to your coffee problem, cut out eating fast-food at lunchtime as well. Studies show that more than 68-percent of Americans eat from a drive-thru window at least once a week, with lunch being the most popular meal of the day for a fast-food binge. We get it; you need to eat in a hurry, but did you ever consider packing a lunch?

Eating from a drive-thru may only cost you $10 a day, buts that’s $50 a week, or $2,500 per year! Packing your lunch will make you significant savings on your daily budget, and it’s healthier for you as well.

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Toss the Bottled Water

Drinking bottled water is expensive, and it litters the environment with plastic trash. Why pay for something that comes out of your tap at home? Sure, public water systems are not as safe as a few decades ago, and there are reports of tap water contamination all over the United States.

However, you can mitigate this risk by purchasing a water filter for your tap. A reverse osmosis filter may cost you a few hundred dollars for the initial set up. However, after a few months of avoiding buying bottled water, the system practically pays for itself.

If you’re a rep that spends plenty of time on the road, then count how many bottles of water you buy during the week. The chances are that your findings will shock you at how much you’re spending on water.

Think About Purchases Before You Buy

We live in a world where we demand instant gratification. The invention of the internet and smart devices means that we have access to a world of shopping at our fingertips. If you have an addiction to buying on Amazon, it could cost you hundreds of dollars on useless purchases throughout the year.

Instead of checking out, take some time to think about your intended purchase. Do you need it? Or can you live without it? Sleep on your purchase decision overnight, and you’ll probably find that you change your mind.

Saving Money on Monthly Expenses

After examining your daily expenses, it’s time to take a broader view of your monthly budget. Make the necessary cutbacks to your costs by reviewing this list and seeing where you can save money for your vacation.

Save Some of Your Income

Studies show that 70-percent of millennials live paycheck to paycheck, with many of them not having enough savings to cover a $500 medical bill. If this sounds like your financial situation, then you have some work to do to manage your expenses.

You’ll need to start saving for your vacation, or you’ll end up with nothing to show for your work at the end of the year. Save a portion of your weekly salary each month. Open a CD savings account with the bank, and commit to saving a set amount each week toward your vacation.

If you’re struggling for money, think about other ways to increase your income. You could drive for Uber, take freelancing jobs, or work as a waiter on weekends. Increasing your income is one of the easiest ways to save for a vacation.

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Check Your Insurance Policies

If you have car insurance, and you have yet to get a policy adjustment on your premiums, call your insurer. Insurance companies offer incentives to customers that remain accident-free for a specific period. If you’ve never had a car crash, then you could be eligible for a discount on your monthly premium.

If you don’t ask, then you don’t get, and insurance companies will never call you to see if they can reduce your premium. It’s up to you to take the initiative and ask them for a discounted rate. If you recently turned 26-years old, then you also qualify for a discount on your premiums. Insurers believe that individuals under the age of 26 are a higher accident risk.

Stop Eating Out

How many times do you eat out in a month? Most people order from a delivery menu around two to three times a week. If this sounds like you, then cut back on your restaurant expenses and start cooking more at home.

Cooking at home will save you a bundle throughout the month, and make sure you send these savings to your vacation account. By eating out less, you can also afford better quality food at home, improving your health.

Save Up for Big Purchases

Read: How to Save Up for Big Purchases: Complete Guide

Cut Your Cable and Subscriptions

Are you still using cable TV? Sure, you may keep it to watch sports events, but is it worth the money? Many free streaming sites offer all of the sports events at no cost to users, so why bother with cable? If you’re a movie buff, then Netflix or Amazon has a much better selection than anything on offer on cable TV.

Cutting your cord can save you $200 a month, which adds up to significant savings over the year. Canceling additional streaming services is also a prudent strategy for saving you money on your entertainment needs. Do you need both Amazon Prime and Netflix? Pick one or the other and cancel the second subscription.

Avoid Premium Brands

We all love supporting the brands we buy. However, could you be getting a better deal with a low-cost brand instead? It may feel like you’re cheating yourself by spending less on premium brands. However, the reality is that cheaper brands are often as good a quality as more expensive products.

The next time you’re shopping at the grocery store, try a few lower-cost brands and compare your satisfaction with them compared to what you would usually buy. The chances are you will barely notice the difference anywhere except in your bank account.

How to Dress Well on a Budget

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Cut Back On Your Cellphone Bill

Your cellphone bill is another area where you can save tons of money throughout the year. Studies show that the average cellphone bill in the United States comes to $157 per month. To save on your bill, refuse that upgrade that’s coming in a few months.

Many carriers subsidize the costs of the phone into your monthly bill. If you refuse to take an upgrade on your device, you could cut your bill by as much as 60-percent! Call your carrier and ask if you can migrate to a lower-cost package, or compare providers and see which one offers you a better deal. It’s quite easy to save $30 to $40 on your cellphone bill by making a few adjustments and reducing your talk time.

Cut Back on Lifestyle Expenses

If you enjoy going out for drinks with your friends on the weekends, consider inviting them round to your house instead. Going out for dinner and drinks can set you back $200 quite easily. By entertaining more at home, you get to avoid the high prices in bars for wine, beers, and spirits.

If you smoke cigarettes, think about the savings you could make if you quit. This strategy alone could save you enough money to afford a holiday each year. If you have problems with stopping, speak to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy and cessation programs in your area.

Wrapping Up – Budget for Expenses

Using the strategies in this article will help you save thousands of dollars on your expenses throughout the year.

Adjust your budget to account for your new spending habits, and remember to bank your savings. With some financial prudence, you could be relaxing on the beach in no time!


Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business.His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More.He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased