There are some huge penny pinchers out there that need to be frugal at every living moment. If you can cut the bigger costs out of your spending, you can eat up little ones. I'm not one to say "don't go to Starbucks" or "eat out only once a month" because that won't work for me. We should be able to enjoy ourselves, we are human after all. I just think cutting out the BIG costs will help you quicker and it will be easier too.
Obviously these tips are not for everyone since they are tailored to my life, but I thought it would be interesting to share!
1. Avoid shopping when you are bored.
This was the major reason I spent so much and racked up credit debt in the past. Shopping online when I was bored, stressed, sick, couldn't sleep, drunk was a fun hobby. It's an expensive way to spend your time and do NOT shop when you are bored. There were times when I even forgot that I bought things until they showed up at my doorstep.
2. Make a list before hitting the grocery store.
I know I am completely guilty of mindless grocery shopping, especially when I'm hungry. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy something that's not on your list, because there are times when you will see something you may need. The BF and I used to mindlessly look at yummy stuff and decide we wanted it, but never ended up making it.
3. Track your spending.
4. Budget for yourself.
Budgeting doesn't sound fun, and it's not fun setting limits on your spending. After tracking your spending for a month or so, sit down and look at what you have been spending on. See where you can cut back and where you absolutely can't. It will be easier to set realistic budgets than pretending to be the most frugal person on earth in one day. For myself, I keep my food (eating out/groceries) budget higher than entertainment and shopping.
5. Live beneath your means.
This is probably the #1 way to save money for me. When I was paying off credit card debt, the money I was making wasn't mine so it went straight to Citibank. When I didn't have to make any more payments, I put the money straight to savings. I knew how to live without 80% of my paycheck so why should I start spending it now?
6. Cook ahead of time and freeze your meals.
This works really well if you are like me - lazy. There are times when I'm in a really productive mood (weekends) and there are times when I'm not (weekdays). Cooking for the week and then freezing your food for the week will help you have a hearty and healthy home-cooked meal without all the labor/cleaning the night before. You will also avoid the vending machine and going out to eat for lunch. You can make soups, lasagna, pasta, etc.