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20 Things Frugal People Don’t Do

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I am a habitually frugal person. I refuse to spend more money than I need to or to pay more than necessary for ANY item. I’m a bargain shopping coupon user and I’m guessing you’re in the same boat? Are you wanting to join me?  There’s no shame in my frugal game!! 


20 Things Frugal People DON’T Do

Whether we are using our credit cards rewards to pay for vacations, or paying off our mortgage early, or just using coupons on our everyday purchases, we are working our way to an earlier retirement and we have definitely achieved financial freedom.

1. Impulse Buy

One thing frugal people don’t do? Make impulse purchases. You’ve all seen the {hilarious} memes about buying shower curtains when you only went in for cooking oil. I have to admit: before I became super frugal I would do it too. Didn’t like the shirt I was wearing? I’d go buy another one.

That’s exactly how I racked up $10,000 in credit card debt when I was young, broke and stupid (long since paid off, thank goodness). Now I’ll go months without buying a new article of clothing for myself. I just don’t impulse buy – ever.

2. Buy Without Comparison Shopping

Making a large purchase such as a car, home or home appliances? Shop around! Not only will you see a large difference in price between stores or rates with different lenders, you may find something you like better at less cost!

This even extends to reading the price per unit or price per ounce on the shelf tags at the grocery store as well. If I don’t have a coupon, I’ll see which item is cheaper by checking the shelf tag for more detailed pricing information. Bigger isn’t always better.

3. Leave the Lights/Electronics Turned On

I was raised in a frugal household. I earned $2 per week for my allowance, and that was if I did all of my chores. $2? Yeah, it was the 80s. 🙂

The one thing we got docked in our allowance? If Mom caught us leaving our room without turning off the light. We were docked 25¢ each and every time. There were some weeks I didn’t earn ANY allowance at all, but you bet I made the habit of turning off the light every time I leave a room. Still do!

4. Buy Fancy Coffee

Frugal folks know that a fancy coffee – at $3 – $4 or *gasp* $5 per cup – is a massive budget killer. We just don’t do it. Every once in a while, I’ll splurge if I have a coupon or a gift card to Starbucks, but that is a very rare occasion indeed. I’d rather make my own at home for a fraction of the cost.

5. Pay Full Price

Whether with money saving apps or sales, frugal folks very rarely pay full price.

6. Buy Something They Could Make Themselves

If you’re crafty (you should visit our DIY and Crochet pages! 🙂 ) you know that there is no need to purchase an item that you could make yourself. We made this First In First Out can organizer for next to nothing. I also made it to the specifications I wanted instead of buying someone else’s design! Bonus!

7. Shop Last-Minute

Holidays happen – the same time every year. Birthdays are also always the same date every single year. You KNOW this, so don’t procrastinate!

One thing frugal folks do is buy all year long. See a clearance/sale on something you know Jonny would love but his birthday was just last month? His birthday will be back again next year!

I don’t have little girls, but I do have friends with little girls and we’ll be invited to their birthday parties. Have a “gift closet” for those inexpensive/clearance finds and stash them away until they’re needed.

8. Forget to Pay Bills/Pay Late

Never pay your bills late, or forget to pay your bills. Set up reminders or automatic payments if you can. I pay all of my bills for the entire month at the same time – before ANY of them are due and no matter when they are due.

Electric bill not due until the 12th? I’ll pay it when I pay the gas bill on the 4th – if nothing else than to get it out of my hair.

9. Spend Money on Entertainment

I loathe spending good money on entertainment. Especially when I could rent from the library (they have a great selection of movies!) or use our antenna to watch television.

In the rare event that we do visit the movie theater, we use rebates for tickets (you could also buy on Fandango during a sale) and coupons for concession from Recyclebank – if we visit the concessions at all.

10. Spend a Lot on Clothing

I just don’t spent a lot on my clothing. Plain and simple. By utilizing coupons/rewards/sales/discounts, we spend less and less on clothing.

Consider garage sale shopping for the kids since they outgrow things SO quickly!

11. Eat Out Often

Do we eat out? Sure… but typically not more than 1-2 times per month if we can help it, and we always use a coupon if possible. We also buy gift cards to our favorite restaurants when our local grocery store offers 4X Fuel Points on gift card purchases to save on gasoline for the cars.

12. Use Coupons just Because They Have Them

A frugal couponer? Now that’s a bit redundant. I have never met a couponer that wasn’t frugal in most aspects of their life. Using coupons strategically takes mediocre savings to astronomical savings.

NEVER use a coupon solely because you have one.

13. Spend Money Everyday

There are many days that I don’t spend a single dime. Not one purchase. Since I use my credit cards for everything that I buy, I am able to easily track how long I can go in between purchases by checking my monthly statement.

It has turned into a game for me to see how little I can spend in one entire week or even month.

14. Buy Name Brand to Impress

Unless your friends are habitual tag checkers (awkward! you may need new friends 😉 ) there is no reason to buy name brand for the sake of name brand. Buy what you like and what you can afford.

Dress below your means. Thrift store shopping has scored me some of my favorite articles of clothing!

15. Drive Cars they Can’t Afford

Similar to wearing name brand clothing, frugal folks don’t buy cars they can’t afford. This is not the same as saying that frugal folks don’t have nice cars.

My tag line? Being frugal in some ways, so we don’t have to be in others.

Case in point.

With interest rates as low as they are and as long as you have decent – good credit, there is no reason to have a car payment higher than you can afford.

My car is my baby and 10 years old. My husband Paul’s car is 10 years old as well but they both are in great condition and paid for. We keep them in great condition with regular maintenance and quality product (ie: synthetic oil) and we will drive them as long as we can.

16. Take Vacations without Rewards

Always, always always look for rewards on vacations. Whether you’re getting points for booking through a certain airline, or using credit card points to pay for your airfare or hotel, frugal folks will always find the most rewards for their trip.

Paul and I buy plane tickets (or go on a vacation) every year by using our rewards points from our credit cards. Just one of the many reason we *exclusively* use our credit cards to pay for everyday purchases.

17. Pay Late Fees

Why don’t we pay late fees? Because we pay our bills on time. See #8 above.

18. Pay Unnecessary Interest

Interest fees alone can kill a budget, especially if you have poor credit with outstanding balances and high interest rates.

My only exception is when the interest rate is low enough that we would do better by investing our money in other ways as opposed to paying off a loan entirely.

19. Pass up Extra Income

I crochet. A lot. I crochet just about every day for relaxation, it is my time to unwind and to make something purdy in the process. Hey, it’s cheaper than therapy! ha! 😀

Chances are, if you’re frugal as well, you’ll not turn down the opportunity to earn in a little side hustle. I take that money earned and add it to my secret savings account or use it to buy that high end coffee I talked about earlier.

20. Skip the Clearance Rack

The first place I head for in a store? The clearance rack! NEVER pass up a chance to peruse the discounted items at your favorite retailer. This is a great opportunity to stock the gift closet, or to buy clothing when super cheap. If shopping at Target, check to see if there is a Circle discount that would apply to your item by scanning the barcode within the app.

So, my frugal friends, is there anything I missed?

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  1. Hi Ashlea! I know this is an older post, but, thought I'd mention there are different ways to earn points that can be exchanged for gift cards. I use the Fetch app, scan all my receipts and exchange my points for a gift card, usually Amazon. There are lots of apps out there similar to Fetch. I also get points for gift cards using Bing search engine and usually get Amazon gift cards. Right now I have $20 to spend at Amazon. I might buy some yarn. hehe I'm frugal too! :)
  2. Here in Canada we have a couple stores that go together for PC points. They will have weekly specials on certain items for points.(its based on what you buy everyone's is different). Then they flyer points for certain items. For every 10,000 points you receive 10.00 off your order. It doesn't really take long to get that when you are buying for a family of 4. You can save your points or use them as you collect them. It's great and has definitely helped out this past year with the pandemic.
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  5. Great list! I would just add that buying a groupon is a great way to save up to half price on eating out and add that some discount websites like Hotwire let you get discounted hotels in the quality rating and area you want at a fraction of the price by just leaving the name of the hotel a surprise....we do that sometimes to save money while traveling...it's not as scary as it sounds! The places we have stayed have always been nice bc you pick the star rating you want!!!
    1. We were burned badly on an outside hotel booking once. A breaker blew the electricity in our room and we had to be moved late at night. Only to disturbed by unruly neighbors all jight. The hotel could not/would not reimburse for any of our 3 night stay because we booked with hotline. Besides, we found that booking directly with the hotel we wanted to stay at yielded cheaper rates and free upgrades. A suite at the Marriott in Minneapolis for $94/night? Plus and extra 1000 rewards points per night. Yes please!