Do you shop at grocery stores with dozens of coupons, only buy clothes that have been marked
down 30 percent at Marshall's, and only eat out twice a month? These aspects would definitely make you thrifty. Some might offend you by saying that you are “cheap.”
I consider myself thrifty. I know how to live off of $40 a week (if I don’t have to drive too far) and I have actually survived without a car numerous times. (In the city of Houston, that’s not a simple thing to do.) Two years ago, I bought a used couch and threw a couch cover over it to save money. I cook regularly rather than eat out. I rarely purchase expensive coffee drinks from Starbucks and Brasil’s anymore...Okay, I am way too cheap!
If I am this cheap, where does my money go and why am I still in debt? I must confess I have an impulsive streak in me. I may go weeks without spending much money and then all the sudden in two days, I have spent $300 on stuff I don't need, a road trip to Austin or going to some random bar and buying drinks that cost $12. I don't think I am the only person guilty of this crime. I currently don't make as much money as I used to when I was an editor for a business trade publication called the Plastic Market Monthly. However, I have realized that making more money does not actually equate to getting out of debt and saving more.
I truly want to become debt free in 2 years. I know it's possible if I just practice a little self control and put off my dream road trip to the northeast. So, I thought I would include tips (that I need to remind myself) on how to be more thrifty. Perhaps you can benefit from these tips as well.
1. Put money aside for "play money" and when your impulsive streak comes out only use that money, not the money for your bills or your student loan.
2. Buy clothes at Marshall's instead of Macy's.
3. Cook most nights instead of eating out. (It will save you millions).
4. Purchase groceries at (A&P, Shop-Rite & C-Town) Fiesta, Foodarama and HEB rather than (Citarella & Whole Foods) Randall's and CentralMarket.
5. Buy used furniture from Craigslist and fix it up. (I spray painted a used book shelf for
my living room and it looks great.)
6. Buy cleaning supplies, toothpaste, pens and office supplies from the dollar store.
7. Brew your own coffee frequently rather than visit Starbucks. It costs about $4 for a can of Folgers coffee and it costs about $4 for one a nonfat vanilla latte at Starbucks.
8. Drink beer at home and make it Lonestar (or Pabst Blue Ribbon). A bar tab has the capacity to hit $80 easily. (I actually don't drink Lonestar. It gives me a head ache. I prefer Corona and Shiner.)
9. Buy used CDs or be a pirate and download music for fee. (I buy used CDs from Salvation Army and Half Price books).
10. Buy used books or visit your local library
11. Rent videos from Red Box (or Netflix); ditch places like Block Buster.
And that's all I can think of right now. Tiny changes that you make in your spending habits can make a huge difference.
I am actually strapped for cash because I spent too much on stuff for my new apartment. I regret this choice I made. I feel anxious now that I have less savings. I hope to become increasingly thrifty and learn to save more over time. Maybe, I need my friends to kidnap me when my impulsive streak gets a hold of me, so I won’t make poor financial choices.
Catherine Sampson is a witty freelance writer who resides in Houston, TX. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in technical communications and professional writing from the University of Houston Downtown. While earning her English degree from the University of Houston, Catherine worked as an in intern for Southwest Art Magazine and a copy editor for the Daily Cougar. Over the years, she has created highly technical documents for the Plastic Market Monthly, as well as blogs, articles and web page content for various companies. Aside from technical writing, Catherine also writes personal blogs and fictional pieces. She considers her unpublished novel “Gypsy” to be her greatest accomplishment. Her blog is: catsampson.wordpress.com