Frugality is the New Black

This past week, a local radio station running down a list of 9 ways to save money reminded me that Girlfriendology posted that Frugality is the New Black. I’ll be honest, I always thought it was!Though I did not hear the whole list, any person with common sense can make this list.

In no particular order, except for number 1 because I am a librarian!

1. Use the library for books, music and movies – if you missed my post celebrating libraries, do yourself a favor, read it and then visit your library! But avoid overdue fines.
2. Be aware of your bank balance and avoid overdraft fees
3. Avoid ATM fees
4. Avoid credit cards with an annual fee
5. Consider only a landline or mobile phone
6. Cut the cable – I’ve asked Who Needs Cable?
7. Drop the Internet – libraries, coffee shops, Chikfila, IHop and Panera are just a few places that offer free wi-fi in my area, which is great because my monthly rate increased as a means to force me into bundled services. No thanks!
8. Do you need the data plan on your mobile phone?
9. Reduce your out-to-eat budget, designer coffee splurges and vending machine runs
10. Use coupons to reduce your grocery bill
11. With above purchased food, brown bag your lunch and have dinner-ready meals
12. Stock your desk/locker with snacks to keep you from hitting up the vending machine
13. Invest in reusable water bottles and a water filtering system to create your own bottled water
14. Kill the energy vampires in your house – appliances with clocks and charging cords are a slow draw; turn off lights when not in use.
15. Explore the best, low-cost transportation option for your needs
16. Trim back on your hobbies – I love crafting and right now I am challenging myself to use what’s in my stash without buying anything new. If you like movies, maybe you reduce the number of movies you see per month at the theater (versus DVD rental or library checkout) or choose to go to matinees. If eating out is your social activity, take advantage of places offering specials, choose places within your budget, decline invites if you cannot swing it or delay until you can. I’ve organized combo friends happy hours so that I can see both groups of friends in one outing (caution: I’ve found not everyone likes meeting new people).
17. Reconsider memberships that you are not fully benefiting – whether the gym or warehouse clubs what works for some doesn’t always work for others.
18. Stop buying stuff you can’t afford – this SNL skit sums it up!
19. Live on a budget – know how much is coming in, where it is going and where you want it to go (ie not fees or credit card interest!). Most people do not set out on a vacation or road trip without a map, same for your financial life!

Much like energy vampires, there are time vampires like TV, internet overuse (I love it and would never tell one not use it!) and by reducing the amount of time I invest in each of these, reduces the money I spend (or want to spend) on them as well as allows time to do what needs to be done, like make meals for lunch and dinner.

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8 Comment

  1. Rachel
    March 14, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Great advice! Especially #1. I gave up my landline 4 years ago and haven’t missed it once.

  2. Andi
    March 14, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Thanks Rachel! I remember you and Heidi sharing 12-packs of soda, of course, we did not have a vending machine even if we wanted to waste money on it. The ones in our building are $1.25 for a 20 oz soda – 2 liters are about $1.25-$1.50 at the store.

  3. Gayle
    March 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you! Very good ideas. What a coincidence! My youngest son has a project that he needs to do for school this weekend – looking for vampires. Tonight we are going to turn off all of the lights, computers, etc. and then he will check the electric meter to see if it’s running. Then, come inside and look for the glowing lights to find the vampires!

    Gayle’s last blog post..Comfort Drawer

  4. Andi
    March 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    what a neat project, Gayle, let me know what he discovers! I have a microwave and alarm clock/radio that I never unplug and a night light that I plug in evenings when I go out so I’m guessing those are some you might find.

    I need to keep a list of other things I think of, like I never buy paper napkins (use cloth) or trash bags (use plastic sacks when I forget my reusable bags)

    Andi’s last blog post..BlogHer ’09 [Flickr]

  5. SwanDiamondRose
    March 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    howdy. oddly this is how i’ve been living my life for a while. took a bit to work up to it. had to stockpile designer jeans first? but heck, i have now transitioned and still want designer jeans but that’s ok, i can do without.

    SwanDiamondRose’s last blog post..the SWANclothing Tiny Rose purse rides again. almost!

  6. shawnee
    March 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    we LOVE the library. the only time we ever buy books anymore is if they’re books we’ll read or refer to over and over again. what’s the point in buying a book you only read once, or end up not really liking?

    shawnee’s last blog post..why yes, i do need another apron

  7. Robin
    April 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I knew the rest of the world would catch on to being frugal. I feel like such a pioneer in that movement. Been frugal forever. 🙂

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