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I am so tired of reading financial advice that tells me to give up my daily coffee or monthly mani/pedi in order to stretch my budget. I think most people know that when money is tight you have to cut out non-essential expenses. But, all this talk about a coffee and mani/pedi free life has given frugality a bad name. You can be frugal and still have fun. You can be careful with money and not be poor. After all, I think the best money advice is one that helps you be responsible while still enjoying life.
6 ways to be frugal that won’t make you feel poor…
1. Use the library
The library is a magical place where you can borrow books (including audio and ebooks), movies, music, magazines, newspapers, atlases and road maps for free. But, you might find some unexpected items as well. My library, also, has a selection of cake pans and musical instruments you can check out, and some libraries even have artwork you can borrow.
2. Get cash back when you shop
If you are going to make a purchase, you might as well get rewarded for doing it. My favorite cash back site is Ebates (get $10 when you use my referral link), which offers offers up to 20% cash back at more than 1,800 online stores. I just bought a pair of New Balance sneakers and was excited to see that I earned 10% cash back on my purchase. Ebates pays on a quarterly basis (minimum $5 for payout), and it’s a nice way to get a little mad money.
3. Sell your stuff
Depending on your personality, this tip may or may not seem fun to you; however, I like making money off things I no longer need. For clothing, I like to use Tradesy (get $20.00 off your first purchase of $50.00+ with my referral link and see my review here) and Poshmark (Sign up with AKALEISTAR to get $5 off your 1st order). The apps make it easy to snap pics and add details about what I’m selling, and both companies provide free shipping for sellers. For books, I usually use Amazon, and Ebay is for pretty much anything else.
4. Earn rewards with credit cards
Make sure your credit cards are earning a place in your wallet. Many cards now offer reward points or cash back on most purchases that can be redeemed for gift cards and travel miles. If you only charge what you can pay off every month, credit card rewards can be a great way to get more bang for your buck. Plus, this tip works great in combination with Ebates.
5. Try cooking most of your meals at home
I’m not one who loves to eat out. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and don’t mind eating leftovers. If this isn’t you, don’t feel pressured to give up your dining out habit, but an occasional meal at home can be a good break for your wallet. If you need ideas, a one pan dinner can be a great place to start.
6. Rethink entertainment
I can’t shut up about what a great deal Moviepass is. For less than $10 a month, you can see a movie every 24 hours. It makes going to the movies much more affordable. If movies aren’t your thing, Living Social and Groupon are good ways to save on events happening around town. But, getting out of the house doesn’t have to cost you money. My area has a wonderful art museum that has no entrance fee, and in the summer, there is music in the park.
What are your favorites ways to be frugal?
P.S. If you like this post, you might, also, enjoy Unplug: Thoughts on Slowing Down!