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Confucius said, “He who does not economize will have to agonize.” Fortunately, when you embark on a thrifty lifestyle, you can live better rather than feeling deprived. You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that by embracing what others cast off, you’re helping to stretch the planet’s resources.
Ramen noodles. Spam. Hot dogs. If you’re savvy about saving money, these “delights” need not be on your menu. Instead, shop your grocery store’s perishables-laden perimeter. Seafood, steak, pork, poultry and dairy all have limited shelf lives. When the sell-or-freeze-by date approaches, many grocers mark down these items, sometimes by 50 percent or more, so they can sell them rather than toss them. Often, the slowest-moving foods are the priciest (lobster, veal or filet mignon, for example). Don’t let this good stuff end up in a dumpster. Always browse the mark-down bins. When you find a great deal, snap it up and toss it in your freeze
You may be frugal by choice or necessity, but many people aren’t. These are the folks who spend $300 on a dress they’ll wear once, whose closets are packed with clothes they purchased at full price but never wore and who drop off bags of good stuff at local charitable resale shops. The clothes you try on at a department store have been tried on by multiple people, so it’s really no different from buying pre-owned clothes. Saving money is always in style. Wash or dry clean them and they’re good as new. You can score brands you’d never be able to afford (or be willing to pay for) at retail price for a fraction of the cost, you’ll keep good stuff out of the landfill and your purchase will benefit a worthy organization. And always check out Simple. Thrifty. Living. Deal Page to find great deals on stylish fashions.
What’s your biggest monthly expense? It’s probably housing. You could do a lot with a month’s worth of rent or mortgage in your pocket. If your lease is almost up and you plan to move, or if you plan to sell your house, take the time to re-evaluate your living situation. Do you need all that space, or can you downsize and save money while still living comfortably? You may not only save on rent or mortgage payments, but also utilities in a smaller place. You can also look at refinancing your home to save a few bucks on interest every month.
Some may laugh at these thrifty propositions. Heed them, though, and you can laugh all the way to the bank.