Penny pincher, moneygrubber, tightwad and cheapskate all mean you hang onto every dollar as long as possible. Being thrifty is an asset. While others are whizzing away their hard-earned cash, you sock yours away in the bank. You don't have to spend hours clipping coupons, be deprived or give up the good things in life to be super thrifty.
Take a hard look at what's important to you and your family. Being super thrifty doesn't mean you have to give up everything. Cut way back on expenses that don't make a big difference in your life and splurge -- a little -- on those that do. That way, you won't feel you're giving up too much, and you'll be more likely to stick with a stringent spending plan.
Prepare your own food. That one step alone will save hundreds of dollars a month. A fast food lunch will set you back at least $5 each workday. That's at least $100 a month right there. Bring your own morning latte to save another $3 to $4 per day. Frozen entrees are convenient, but they cost four to five times the price of the ingredients. For example, a chicken pasta primavera is about $3.50. Make a batch yourself for less than 75 cents a serving. If you want to go super thrifty, eat vegetarian dinners three times a week. Beans cost pennies a pound.
Stock up on the basics like underwear, socks and T-shirts at big box stores when they go on sale. That usually doesn't happen more than twice a year. Shop at the end of the season for next year. In other words, buy summer clothing at huge discounts in September and a new winter coat at the end of March. Repair instead of replace clothing and shoes. Stay away from brands. A pair of name-brand sports shoes can cost triple what a generic sport shoe costs. Be really frugal and skip buying new clothes for one season. Wear last year's clothes.
Going to the movie theaters costs a pretty penny. Throw in popcorn and a drink and you've probably spent $20 for two hours of entertainment. Check out movies from the library at no cost. View movies over your Internet connection or order through satellite or cable services. If you absolutely must see a new release, go during the afternoon for matinee prices and avoid the popcorn and cola. All that salt, fat and sugar isn't good for you anyway.
Cash Only or Almost Only
Credit card interest rates average about 14.9 percent at time of publication. It's difficult to travel without a credit card. Most hotels won't accept a reservation without one. Credit cards have the advantage that you can dispute a charge if the merchandise isn't what was promised. However, if you want to save money, paying cash is the better alternative. Cash-back cards sound like a good deal but have limitations on how much cash you can earn back on what types of products and services. The interest rate tends to be higher on rewards cards, and you may have to pay an annual fee.
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