Being frugal is often about 1,000 little things instead of 1 or 2 big things.
Obviously, big decisions have big money consequences: spending too much on a house or buying a car you can’t afford have big money implications. But assuming you’re making good big decisions when they come around, let’s look at making good little decisions.
I’ve realized that most of the frugal things that we do are just built into our everyday life. We don’t necessarily even notice that we’re saving money or that we’re doing anything all that different from the people around us.
Frugal Habits We’ve Built into Every Day
Getting Dressed: In the winter, I wear warm pants, long sleeves, a fleece, socks, and slippers. In the summer, it’s shorts and a tank top. By dressing for the weather, we save money from not needing to run the heat or A/C as much.
Coffee & Breakfast: Both made at home. Austin takes his coffee to work in a travel mug. We pretty much never go out to breakfast and going out for lattes is a once every few months treat, not a part of our regular morning routine.
Austin Leaves for Work: In our only car. Yup, we share a car. If I need the car, I drive him into work and then will pick him up after. We’re used to this frugal routine because we’ve only ever had one car, though it’s certainly not convenient at times.
Mid-Morning Walkies: I walk our dog Mozzie almost every single day of the year in almost every kind of weather (we live in Michigan, where winters are no joke). Free exercise!
Lunch: Eating at home again. I make myself a simple lunch. Austin takes a lunch to work 4 days a week and usually goes out on the 5th day.
Dinner: Surprise! We’re eating at home 🙂 Right now we budget $100 for eating out each month (see what our actual budget looks like here) and to be honest we have a hard time sticking to it. We really like going out. But we try to limit it to once or twice a week at places that are fairly inexpensive.
Working the Curtains: I open and close curtains throughout the day to help with the temperature in our house. In the summer, I close curtains where the sun is shining directly in so we don’t bake inside and make the A/C run like crazy. In the winter, I close the curtains right at dark to keep the extra-cold air out.
Fun at Home: It sure helps that we’re both introverts, but most evenings of the week we hang out at home. We have plenty of fun stuff to do! We often go for another walk if the weather is good. Between video games, Netflix, Amazon, library books, board games, and more, there is no shortage of ways to entertain ourselves.
Workouts: Hmm, I’m sensing a major pattern here. We work out at home! We’ve paid for gym memberships on occasion, but I’ve been happily working out at home for a few years now. I have a few weights, resistance bands, and a stability ball. Currently I just make up my own workouts based off of ideas I find on Instagram. We also have an exercise bike that we love. We take turns riding it while we watch shows to keep moving. A small investment in our mini home gym has saved us lots of money over the years.
Evening Routine: Part of our evening routine is that Austin makes his lunch for the next day. This is important to mention because mornings have a tendency to be rushed and the first thing to skip is the lunch-making if we’re running behind schedule. By making his lunch before bed, it’s ready to go even on rushed mornings.
Programmable Thermostat: Our thermostat does good things while we sleep. In the winter, it’s programmed to let the house get 3-4 degrees cooler through the night. Then it warms back up right before we wake up. A few times a year, I check the settings and experiment with if we can handle a degree or two colder in the winter or warmer in the summer to save money.
Lawn Care: We do all of our own lawn care throughout the warmer months. Last winter we splurged on snow plow service (#worthit) but up until last year we did that ourselves too.
Meal Planning: All that eating at home takes planning and grocery shopping. I keep our grocery bill low by meal planning.
Update: You can get the meal planning printable I use each week by entering your info below!
The great thing about frugal habits is that once you get used to them, you don’t even think about them. These habits are built into our everyday lives and are helping us save money constantly.
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⇒ What frugal habits do you have? Leave a comment and let me know!!
Saturday 23rd of June 2018
Christine my husband and I have all the same habits. I thought we were the only ones with one car haha. But we are talking about getting another vehicle. As you mentioned it can be a bit inconvenient relying on one car.
Saturday 23rd of June 2018
Yes! It’s obnoxious sometimes, but I’m not ready to pay all the costs of having a second car!
Monday 11th of June 2018
We do almost all the same things! We do, however, have a gym membership and have had one for years because my husband plays racquetball once or twice a week. One thing that may help with your desire to go out to eat is to menu plan extra special items that feel like restaurant meals (if it's in your budget). They tend to cost a little more but are definitely cheaper than going out to eat. OR - you could buy nice things like that and have a few "beans and rice meals" that same week, to make up the difference. :) We don't have a programmable thermostat because we live in the South and have a heat pump, and you are not supposed to use those with heat pumps for some reason. I cover my window in my (mostly unused) guest bedroom and big window on my front door with aluminum foil. We don't normally use that door. Yeah, maybe it looks tacky but it helps with the A/C bill in the hot South! LOL
Monday 11th of June 2018
That's great Chris! A gym membership can definitely be worth it if it gets used regularly. Good idea about planning special at-home meals! We do that sometimes but I could definitely plan special meals more regularly to help with the eating out urge. I've never heard of putting aluminum foil on the door! Haha, you gotta do whatever works!!!