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Got Pennies? Pinch Your Way to Riches

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January 15, 2013

Frugal millionaires. You’ve heard of them. They’re known for getting rich by pinching pennies. But are these men and women really that frugal?

Take Warren Buffet – who is famous for his frugality. Roger Lowenstein, in his book on Buffet, recounts that when Buffet’s first child was born, he turned a drawer in his dresser into a bassinet. He later borrowed a crib for his second child. He also drove a Volkswagon until his wife, convinced it was bad for his image, bought him a Cadillac. He is now #3 on the Forbes Billionaires list, proving that being frugal pays off.

How you spend or save may be determined by your personality, but anyone can learn how to live frugally. Here are 10 ways to pinch your way to riches:

#1 – Ignore the money in your bank account.

You’ve heard it before: Live beneath your means. However, many don’t have a true picture of what their “means” are month-to-month. To determine this amount, take your monthly income and subtract all expenses to determine your disposable income. After savings and investments, this is the amount you have to work with each month. But don’t spend it all. By acting as if you don’t have extra money in the bank, you can be more frugal in your choices.

#2 – Lower your food expenses.

The ideas for cutting food costs range from dining in and taking leftovers to lunch, to shopping at discount grocery chains and growing your own vegetables. Buying in bulk or using coupons are additional ways to enjoy savings.

#3 – Avoid debt.

With the days of layaway a distant past, consumers have lost the zeal to save up for major purchases. And with credit cards being offered to first-year college students, we’ve grown to be a “get it now, pay later” society. As a result, many are in debt beyond what they’re able to fully pay back in their lifetime. If you’re in debt, make a plan for eliminating it, including using any additional funds to pay it off. Then avoid it like the plague.

#4 – Go green.

Going green at home is a great way to lower your costs in the long haul while doing good for the planet. You may incur extra expenses initially in purchasing your green items, but the savings will outweigh the costs long-term. Ideas include unplugging electronic items when not in use, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and installing a programmable thermostat.

#5 – Pay with cash and leave the debit and credit cards at home.

Financial experts teach that it’s often harder to part with cash than it is to swipe a debit card. By using cash for your purchases, you may find that you avoid over spending on unnecessary items.

#6 – Eat well before going grocery shopping.

You’ve probably experienced it a time or two, buying that bag of potato chips that wasn’t on the list simply because you were too hungry to think straight. By eating before shopping, you’re more likely to avoid impulse buying and stick to the list.

#7 – Only buy if it matches.

Look for sales, but only buy an article of clothing if you already own something that matches it. Otherwise, you will have to spend even more to purchase something to match the lone article.

#8 – Redecorate in the winter.

Wanting to remodel? Hire painters and contractors in the winter when business is slower. They may be more likely to offer discounts.

#9 – Stay next door.

When traveling, scout out the fanciest hotel in town, but book your room next door at a lower-priced competitor. You’ll still enjoy the location and the view without the hefty cost.

#10 – Buy kids clothing on sale at the end of the season.

While your kids are young, you can purchase larger sizes during an end-of-season sale and then store it away until the next year.

Have you found great ways to pinch pennies? Please share it in the comments section below.

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