Frugal tips

Cell Phone

Cell phone service can be out-of-this-world expensive. I (my whole family) switched to Visible Wireless a few years back. You get unlimited data, messages and minutes. Visible Wireless is owned by Verizon. All this for $25 a month! Since I live in the boondocks I have few options for internet. I use my Visible phone as my internet as well. They even have 5G in areas where available. I am writing this post over my Visible Wireless data using the hotspot. Visible Wireless is the best deal for cell service I could find. Be aware the link in this tip is an affiliate link. Also know that I went to check to see if they had an affiliate program if I refer them. They did and I signed up just now because, well, I may as well get paid for my referral if I was going to make the referral anyway.

Buy a Freezer

When a food item goes on sale it is time to stock up. . . . . . if you have the space. A freezer can cut 20% or more off your food bill. A meat special can be maximized. You can prepare larger quantities for later consumption. For the best meat quality and price, check your local butcher shop. Many sell the whole animal (already in the familiar cuts) for significantly less than buying piecemeal over time. A freezer is required is such a situation. A freezer is a must if you have your own garden or fruit trees. Nature produces more than you can consume before it spoils. A freezer pays for itself quickly.

Can and Dehydrate Your Excess Food

Canning is a lost art. It used to be that folks in the backwoods canned their food. I only know of one other person that cans their own food now. That is a shame since it is such a money saver. Mrs. Accountant cans and dehydrates like crazy. Fruits and vegetables fill our cellar. When a semi brings fresh Georgia peaches to Wisconsin, we stock up. A lot. We eat peaches until we have our fill and can the rest for later. The wholesale trucks are hard to find so keep your eyes and ears open. The prices are super low! A box of peaches can run a few dollar at most. And they are better than we can find in the grocery store. Consider canning as a hobby. One that pays you in more than one way. As long as you are at it, you should consider dehydrating food, as well. This is easier than canning. And your food will taste incredible.

DIY, Except When You Shouldn’t

The mantra is getting old. The frugal tip of doing everything yourself is a double-edged sword. Sure, you can save money doing it yourself. Sometimes. If you know what you are doing. When I owned rental property years ago I learned quickly I was not cut out for carpet laying. It was cheaper to hire it done. (Really, I was bad at it. One job was so bad all the carpet had to be ripped out and tossed.) Where you are able to handle the repair or maintenance, doing it yourself can save a lot of money. Changing the oil in the car, sharpening lawn mower blades, light appliance repair, changing a faucet and other tasks might be under your purview. If so, by all means, consider it a DIY job. However, knowing when to hire the professional is important. A DIY job when you don’t know what you are doing can lead to disaster. If you want to increase your skills, consider volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. A summer of free time spent learning several crafts of the trade is a powerful education that will pay off the rest of your life.

Consider a Spending Fast

Sometimes the best way to accomplish a goal is to go all-in. This is where a spending fast comes in. A spending fast is exactly what is sounds like. There are 5 levels to the spending fast. Each level teaches new financial skills and supercharges your frugality muscle. You can read more about conducting a spending fast the right way here.

Manage Your Taxes

Taxes will cost you more than any other thing in your life, including your home. It may not feel like spending, but taxes are a massive expense everyone can do better at reducing. I see people in my office all the time that had prepared their own tax return. In nearly all cases they overpaid the government. Since income, sales, excise, property and other taxes consume over half of the national income, you will need a two-pronged approach in applying frugality to your tax spending. First, most people need a tax professional to assure they are utilizing as many tax benefits as possible. The tax code is complex and getting more so every day. Even the pros struggle to keep up with the changes. What chance do you have? And the over-the-counter DIY software can’t do everything for you either. Second, even with a tax pro in your corner you need to keep yourself informed on tax issues. Read about tax breaks that apply to you. Question your tax professional. Don’t be afraid of paying for some consulting with your tax pro. When I consult with clients I have in excess of a 10x return for the client. That means for every dollar they spend they benefit over $10. We call that hyper-frugal!

Stay Healthy

Easier said than done. Illness is expensive and the cost goes beyond the medical. Lost wages and a lower quality of life are two huge costs of poor health. Staying healthy is easier for some and harder for others. Regardless, you need to eat quality food in proper proportions. Exercise is vital. Because everyone reading this will be in a different place with their health, I encourage you to consult with your doctor in building a plan to improve your health. Get on the right diet for you. Find the best exercise program for you. Don’t forget your social life. Family and friends play a large roll in your health. If you sit in taverns with friends that drink too much and smoke, you might have a problem. Consideration for your lifestyle is an important part of your frugal lifestyle. Choose who you associate with well.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent in the box stores have so many fillers just to make it look like you are getting a lot for your money when you are not. You can cut your laundry costs up to 98% by making your own laundry detergent. It is easy to do and it cleans better than store-bought detergent. Consider the detergent-making process a family project. It is fun and teaching your children the low-cost way of living is priceless; a gift that never stops giving.

Stay Put

As discussed above with vehicles, transaction costs add up fast. The same applies to where you live. It is expensive to move. It takes time and requires helping hands and/or a moving truck, etc. If you are renting there might be some damages that get deducted from the security deposit; the new place will also require a security deposit. Owning your own home can be a very frugal move! But take a page from Warren Buffett’s book. Buffett is one of the financially wealthiest people on the planet. He bought the home he lives in back in 1958 for $31, 500. His home is worth over $650,000 now. Buffett mentioned many times he would not be happier living in a bigger or newer home. He is happy right where he is. And good thing. The money he saved in Realtor fees and other selling costs would have come from the seed money he used to build his fortune. Fees generally are things you pay that give you next to nothing in return. Cutting fees is the surest frugal step you can take. Stay put. Move only if you have to (i.e.. job change).

Use a Clothes Drying Rack

Everyone loves the smell of clothes dried outdoors. We saw in Tip #19 how to save money on laundry detergent. How about cutting the cost of drying your clothes to zero? If you are able to hang clothes outdoors, do so. If not, you can use a clothes drying rack. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves many times over. As a bonus, you add moisture to the air during the dry winter months. That means your frugal clothes drying habit will also make your home more comfortable. You can read more about the clothes drying racks I use here. There are some links to Amazon to help in your search for the best clothes drying rack also.

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