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Unlike piloting a plane, driving a semi, or remembering that all animals bite especially the cute ones, a frugal life hacks don’t have rules but guidelines.
There are as many ways to save as stars in the sky. I lived a reluctant frugal life for a while because that’s when happens when drifting through low income, but eventually, bitterness turned into a voraciousness of all things frugal.
Initially, I just wanted to be a higher earner, but once I found a purpose, that’s when my focus shifted from unfocused desire to a jet-fuel FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).
Frugal life hacks are how I’m fueling my FIRE.
Cars, campers, and clothes lose value when they leave the lot.
Instead of paying the full price, I can get it gently worn with savings to match. The chemicals are subsided right alongside the price. Saving money and the environment too.
Recently, I realized I needed to replace my sports bras. The ones I bought without a thought, lasted for years and the elastic is starting to come out and say hi.
Initially, I looked on Amazon, and I found some with discounts at 5-10% off. Later, I went to town and visited my local secondhand store, where I found similar bras for half the price.
Amazon can claim convenience, but the savings are superior in a secondhand store!
I use coupons, not to the extent that I could pay off a mortgage, but any saving is a success.
When I shop online or at the grocery store, I always look for coupons. I use Albertson’s consistently for weekly shopping trips and I find it convenient and easy to select the coupons before I shop. Then once I get to the register, I release the Kraken coupons.
Typically, 20-30% is saved, but occasionally it’s as high as 50%.
Most groceries that fill my cart are whole fruits and vegetables which have fewer deals compared to packed and prepared food. However, I would rather pay more for fresh food upfront than medical bills later.
Before the technology heyday of instant doom scrolling, rewards had a smaller platform. Since the advancement of digital dilemmas, rewards are littered all over the place.
Rewards can shake out of most everyday aspects. I have been rewarded for using a specific browser, walking, surveys, and using a credit card. A gaggle were tried, but only a few are worth the investment. I consider a reward worthy if the effort is low because I prefer saving with minimal struggle.
These are my favorites:
- Credit card rewards. Between churning and using as the preferred payment method, I generate about $400 per year.
- Using Microsoft Rewards. I do normal surfing and shenanigans, which averages about $30 a year, not including rebates and coupon codes.
- Receipt reward apps like Receipt Hog, Fetch, and Coinout. The effort is minimal and the $50 a year payout reflects that.
I have tried surveys, videos, and other sites, but the time suck seems bigger than the payout, so I maneuver towards low effort and easy returns.
Discounts have a spectrum of possibilities, from bargains for holidays like Black Friday and Labor Day to gift card deal sites.
If I can’t find an item secondhand because it isn’t an option, that is when I search for discounts. Sometimes it means researching an item and letting it reside in my cart until the price drops. Sometimes that looks like using a discount gift card to reduce the price. The best is when I can stack rewards like price drops and then use a discounted gift card.
The trick with deals is that I have to know what it costs at full price so that when it drops, I can shovel the savings towards my bank account.
Frugal Life Hacks
Over time I have realized that frugalness is a habit. Even with life hacks, frugalness takes time, patience, and learning which means ample opportunities for failure. I invest in this lifestyle because the payout is worth the effort.
Similar to other healthy habits whose payments revolve around try, fail, and trial again, it’s a lifetime of active effort that will pay passive results.
Just ask Frogdancer Jones at Burning Desire, “Every day there were tiny little decisions that on the face of it meant absolutely nothing and were noticed by no-one but me, yet collectively those tiny decisions swept me along the path to being financially free.”