19 things frugal people don't do

On my journey to become more frugal without sacrificing quality of life, I’ve learned a few things. Here are 19 things I've learned you should not do if you want to enjoy frugal living.

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  • I've learned what I personally can and cannot sacrifice without feeling like I'm missing out, and I've also learned that sometimes spending money is the truly frugal thing to do. I've learned what frugal living means to me.

  • Sound strange?

  • Then read on to learn how and why!

  • 1. Buy from vending machines

  • Barring a life or death situation, frugal people realize that vending machine food is not only nutritionally empty, the prices are grossly inflated.

  • 2. Waste paper

  • I can't actually remember the last time I bought paper from a store. We use scrap paper that I bring home from work. We keep a ream of nice paper around, but for everyday printing, we recycle!

  • 3. Have hefty cable bills

  • I do not have a problem with cable TV, but what I do have a problem with are the hefty bills that come with a cable package. Consider switching to Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Netflix or a combination of all three!

  • 4. Accept warehouse stores as the best deal

  • Warehouse stores are convenient, yet, in reality they are not always the best deal, especially if you live in an area with an Aldi. Your local grocery store runs sales with items at better prices than your local warehouse store, or Aldi is almost always cheaper!

  • 5. Ignore sales

  • Grocery stores utilize loss-leader items in their sale ads each week as an item that is such a good deal, it gets you in the door, giving them thousands of opportunities to get you to buy something else. If you can ignore all of the marketing going on in the grocery store, buying loss leaders each week is a great way to save a bundle!

  • 6. Use coupons just because they have them

  • Coupons are a marketing tactic. They are there to get you to buy a product because you can save money on it. And for many people, this sales tactic is extremely effective. However, frugal people only buy items that they will use, regardless of whether or not they have coupon – and if they happen to have coupon for items they were already buying, then that's just icing on the cake!

  • 7. Let produce go bad

  • I am so guilty of this one. You know that head of lettuce that gets shoved to the back of the fridge and is reduced to slimy goo by the time you clean out the fridge. Yeah, me too. Frugal people do whatever it takes not to let that fresh produce go to waste!

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  • 8. Waste leftovers

  • Also guilty here. Frugal people realize that letting leftovers go bad is like throwing money down the drain! We bring out leftovers to the front of the fridge to remind us to eat them, as well as other strategies so we don't grind our money up in the garbage disposal!

  • 9. Pass up a good sale

  • Sometimes, a sale blindsides you. Like summer sandals for 90% off while it's snowing outside. You weren't planning on purchasing sandals, but you know you'll need some come June. Frugal people can always take a few dollars from another budget line to take advantage of a great sale that will save them money down the road.

  • 10. Under-utilize their freezer

  • Frugal people realize how much money they save by having quick freezer meals on hand. Rather than going out the eat when they have no time for dinner ($30), they pop a freezer meal in the oven ($5.00) and save themselves $25.00!

  • 11. Hesitate to spend money on something that's worth it!

  • No matter how frugal, even the frugalest of frugal realize the some things are worth spending money on. For the guys it might be quality tools that allow you to save money as a DIY'er, for girls it might be foundation. Whatever it is, make sure the product is worth is and then banish guilt about it!

  • 12. Ignore the clearance rack

  • Frugal people never shop regular clothes racks. Instead, they scope out the stores with the best clearance – and they tend to be higher-end places, not discount stores. My personal favorites are Kohl's and Nordstrom Rack. Just the weekend I scored 12 work separates, 7 pairs of mens sandals, and 3 pairs of women's shoes for only $55.00. And I'm talking nice clothes, ya'll. Also, as an FYI, NordstromRack puts all of their bras 70% off January 1st – plus you get an additional 33% off the clearance price!

  • 13. Pass up a side-hustle

  • Whether it's blogging, adult-sitting, yard work, or a newspaper route, frugal people know the value of a side hustle, especially when the budget is tight. Don't shy away from work!

  • 14. Drink Starbucks every day

  • Starbucks has a place, but frugal people know that it's place is only on special occassions – especially considering you can brew your own coffee for roughly $0.25 a cup at home!

  • 15. Pay for oil changes

  • Frugal people know that secret shopping companies are always desperate for people to get their oil changed as a secret shop. We do this, and we and our family haven't paid for oil changes in years!

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  • 16. Ignore cell phone savings

  • Frugal people know that Republic Wireless or Ting is the way to go for cellphone. With Republic Wireless, you get unlimited talk and text for $10.00 a month or unlimited everything for $25.00 with a current, modern phone.

  • 17. Get guilted into expensive presents

  • Frugal people have no shame giving second-hand gifts. Case in point: our daughter is getting a used pink power wheels four-wheeler for Christmas. It was free to us and she will love it – what more do you need? Your kids don't need the world, they just need you!

  • 18. Think a 72" vs. a 47" TV makes all the difference

  • There are probably some men who would differ with me on this, but anyone can see the screen of a 47″ TV the same as a 72.″ The picture won't be blurry, and sound any worse – save your money!

  • 19. Believe quality time must be expensive

  • If you remember nothing else, remember this: Frugal people know that quality time doesn't have to be expensive. Frisbee golf, watching the sunset, movies on the couch at home, and many other activities aren't expensive! Plus, they allow for more bonding with your kids or spouse because you're relaxed, not stressed.

  • Frugal living means different things to everyone – to some it means sacrificing on groceries, and others have dietary restrictions, so to them frugal living means cutting costs in other areas, like gas, utilities, or cable bills!

  • So tell me, what does frugal living mean to you?

  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Retired by 40! It has been republished here with permission.

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Gretchen is a writer, entrepreneur, personal finance nerd, and the founder of Retired by 40!, the blog dedicated to documenting her family's journey towards early retirement. She is mom to a beautiful little girl, and husband to her soldier. When she manages to tear herself away from her work, she enjoys good books, hard workouts, and as much as sun as she can handle.

Website: http://www.retiredby40blog.com

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