The Art of Frugality

Frugality 101 with 9 Year Mortgage

Are you struggling to make ends meet or to continue living the same lifestyle? Well, you’re not the only one; the only difference between you and other people is that they are eating that yogurt past its expiration date and using an older model cell phone.

Whoever said that it is “uncool” to wear clothes with a few patches and with some wrinkles will surely be biting their tongue soon. Truth be told, frugality is making its way back into our lives and many of us are seeing the benefits of wearing last seasons clothing. Although consumer spending has picked up in certain areas, it has left something behind: a tremendous interest in making things last. You know your neighbor who seemed to have a new car every year? Well statistics show he will now hold onto a car for nearly five and a half years. And cars are not the only item that Americans are trying to make last a little longer; computers, cell phones, clothing and even items like toothpaste and shampoo are seeing longer gaps between consumer purchases. It seems that people are adding water to some supplies or using less to make them last longer and save a couple bucks. Others have canceled their gym memberships or stopped using mobile phone plans and have switched to using prepaid minutes or free phone providers, like Google. No, things aren’t as bad as the Great Depression; people are not using old tires and hangers to make fly swatters or old saw blades for lids to pans, but the attitude is still the same; You could be stealing from your future by throwing away goods that still have value.

9 Year Mortgage believes that the trend of cutting expenses wherever possible is going to be a lasting one; not only because of  the shaky economy but also from a feeling among Americans that the government and big corporations are not going to be reliable contributors during a crisis. One big cause in this sudden attitude of ‘save as much as you can’ is associated with the 6 million recently laid off workers that now make up a total 15 million Americans who are unemployed. If you are in this situation, don’t get discouraged, there are ways to cut your costs. Here is just a sample of some suggestions 9 Year Mortgage has for you to cut your costs or raise income a little at a time:

  • Buy in bulk for items like milk and bread, and freeze it until it is needed
  • Start doing potluck dinners with other friends and families instead of eating out
  • Ask local bakeries and coffee shops for day old bread and bagels (they are sold at substantial discounts)
  • If you can, rent out a room from time to time
  • Don’t be afraid to take a random job here and there – a lot of Americans are actually becoming full-time freelancers, why not join the club part time?
  • Sell some of your unwanted clothes or possessions; sites like craigslist are a great way to sell to local buyers at no cost to you

These are just a few suggestions, that may not apply to all of our readers. There are a number of ways to keep cash in your pocket, you just have to be smart with the ways you go about it.

Other 9 Year Mortgage Tips on How To Save on Groceries

One word and or practice that has come to my knowledge that has intrigued me is gleaning.  Gleaning (also known as food rescue) can save you hundreds of dollars a year on food, while keeping loads of uneaten food out of landfills. What gleaning basically consists of is a group of families that go to previously notified local stores and collect the food that they cannot sell: it could be anything from milk or yogurt that is a day from expiring, dented cans, torn boxes, old produce, or clearance items they never sold out of… anything they no longer want can be yours free of charge. You do this with numerous stores, and after the food is collected the members of your gleaning group divide it up between the families. It has been recorded that some members of gleaning groups have saved between $3,000 and $ 5,000 on food a year. It was brought to my attention that some states also have very effective Food Co-op programs. Some offer big discounts through coupons while others provide baskets of fresh produce and bread for $15.00 a week, saving each person roughly $35 (If you are on the west coast I found that Bountiful Baskets is a great resource to use, and it serves nearly every state, except California). Do some research about food co-op’s that are offered in your area to start saving money today.

We know that affording groceries isn’t  the only qualm people are facing these days, so here are some more hints from 9 Year Mortgage that will help you slash numerous bills.

1. Take care of yourself. Have a healthy diet and exercise regularly to keep yourself in good health, ultimately avoiding high medical bills. Coronary heart disease is unfortunately sweeping the nation as one of the biggest contributors to death and there are more cases of diabetes than there ever has been before. Take control of your well being by doing 30 minutes of exercise every day and eating nutritious meals; by doing so you can save your heart and your budget from catastrophe.

2. Don’t let the common phrase of ‘I don’t know how to cook’ plague your life. Anyone can learn to cook! There are a plethora of cookbooks and websites that offer easy meals to make in less than 20 minutes, so make use of them and let them be your guide. Cooking homemade meals every night and using the left overs for lunch the next day can save you thousands in a year. Plus this is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your children if you allow them to help you in the kitchen! You can even double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another meal a different day. You can also consider making your own coffee and tea. Those $4 cups of coffee really add up.  Just look over your bank statement this month and add up all of the quick daily stops to get that diet coke, cup of coffee, or bagel for breakfast; I promise you’ll be astonished with how much you spend on items that would cost you 1/3 of the price to make yourself.

3. Don’t rush into buying anything, comparison shop! Especially for large ticket items like refrigerators, televisions, or cars. Take advantage of price comparison sites  that may allow you to purchase the item online and ship it to the store for free. Don’t forget about the rebates and cash back programs many stores offer.

4. Don’t allow one person to control the finances, talk together about money. Talk about your money once a week with your spouse or significant other so you are both on the same page. If you don’t shy away from the topic you are less likely to experience overdraft fees, bounced checks, or late fees. 9 Year Mortgage highly suggests using a free budgeting site, like Bundle, to track your finances. This will split up every cost into a category and give you a percentage of your total budget that goes to each section. You may notice your spending more on gas than you thought or that you spend a lot of money on take out food; when the numbers are in front of you it is harder to justify those purchases.

5. Stop problems before they get serious. Make sure you do some personal inspections on your home and car. Create a list of things that should be done regularly like changing the air filters on your furnace and air conditioners. Once you are done with your walkaround, add any issues you see to your list of things to fix.

  • For your home: walk around both the inside and outside of your house to find any problems. Look for things like mildew, slow rain gutters, a cracked foundation, peeling paint, missing shingles, leaking faucets or a damp basement. Try replacing standard light bulbs with florescent bulbs and using a power strip for your electronics. By doing this you can turn the switch off when items are not in use to save yourself 15% on your electric bill.
  • For your car: Check your oil and lights once a month. Also, make sure there are no puddles in the driveway from an unknown leak and that your tires are filled with air and aren’t bulging.

By inspecting your home and vehicles, you can end up saving money in the long run by catching problems before they get too expensive.

6. As mentioned earlier, get spring fever! But get it monthly–go through all of your clothes and personal items you no longer need. Get rid of anything that is dry clean only and vow to no longer buy items that are. You can cut your laundry bills significantly if you can just wash your entire wardrobe at home. Another important fact to point out is that just because you wear that shirt or pair of jeans once doesn’t mean it’s dirty; there is no need to wash your clothes after one wear unless you spill or sweat a lot. You can even make a pretty penny selling your clothes and household items to consignment shops or online! The point is, de-clutter your living space a little at a time. Do one room once a month and make your living space a little more comfortable. Studies show that comfortable people are happy, which results in less impulse buying.

7. Negotiate your bills. Let your cable and phone companies know that you have been a loyal customer for years and that you want better service from them; they may cut your monthly bills. Do this for each of your utility bills, one at a time. Try finding credit cards with low interest rates (although you should be paying your bills off in full each month to escape interest, right?), or try modifying the one you have now. If you have a FICO score of 730 or higher you may be eligible to cut your interest rate, if not check out to find the best deals in your area. Don’t forget about your insurance coverage as well; don’t just renew with your current agent because it is convenient-call around and get some new quotes to see if another agency can give you better coverage and/or a better deal.

An Overview from 9 Year Mortgage

Whether you are one of the millions that is currently unemployed looking to cut back on any possible cost or a family looking to save a little money, these practical hints can help you keep your money in your pocket. Saving some extra money is never a bad idea, even if you don’t necessarily need to. 9 Year Mortgage strongly suggests you put what you can into savings and let interest do the rest, but for now try to eat out less, and to freeze your milk, bread, and leftovers to use when you need them. Take advantage of different food co-ops in your area; just because you use these programs doesn’t mean you’re poor, it means you’re money smart. Try reducing your bills annually and remember to check your home and car for any self-fixable problems. By being aware of your wants and needs you will be able to resist impulse buying and hopefully learn that less is more (so get rid of all that junk). Times are tough and with soaring gas prices and unrest in the middle east it isn’t a bad idea to cut back on your spending, you’ll be thanking yourself later if you do.

Continue to read about more money saving tips with another 9 Year Mortgage article titled Watch Your Money Saving Habits

9 Year Mortgage To learn more about 9 Year Mortgage, and to find out if you qualify for the 9 Year Mortgage program.  Find out how soon you could be completely debt free, including your mortgage, with the 9 Year Mortgage Financial Plan.

Find out what thousands of satisfied clients already know about taking control of their finances, and using the power of reverse compounding interest to beat the banks at their own game!

9 Year Mortgage Representatives are standing by to answer all of your questions about our program, including how soon you will be debt free, and how much money you will save in interest!

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March 22, 2011

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