Cut out pricy drinks and alcohol (or share a meal!)
Being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t eat out. You just have to budget for it and decide if eating out is more important then quickly achieving your goals. You are in charge remember – it’s YOUR decision to either move closer or further from your goals! Kris and I cook and eat in 90% of the time, but we do have friends and we do have lazy days. So we have a budget for eating out. To make those dollars stretch, we stopped ordering pricy drinks like Topo Chicos (we’re not sugary soda peeps) and alcohol with our meals. It just wasn’t worth it and we have drinks at home we could enjoy later if we really wanted some booze. If you absolutely can not drink water, ask for lemon slices in your water and make lemonade at your table with a sugar packet. Bam! Kids are happy and you aren’t spending any extra on pricy drinks.
Here’s a little breakdown of savings from a Sexy Mexy night.
- Fajita for one 12.99
- Cheese enchiladas 9.99
- 2 Waters 0.00
- Total 22.98
- With tip 27.98
- Fajita for one 12.99
- Cheese enchiladas 9.99
- 2 Waters 0.00
- 2 Corona Beers $11.00
- 2 Mojitos $15.00
- Total 48.98
- With tip 58.98
Savings of $31 and about 300 calories!
I mean come on, we could totally go out for another cheap meal if we save the money on alcohol! Not shown here but we now even take this a step further and we generally share a plate of food since servings are so big! I always have a big smile on my face when we get a bill for under $20 because we shared a meal – it makes me feel alive. Okay Glenda, calm down.
Eliminate Bank fees
Call me crazy but I believe you shouldn’t have to pay money to use your own hard earned money. Bank fees are a complete waste of money that you can totally avoid paying.
Let’s look at a few typical bank fees
- Minimum balance charge – Double check if there is a minimum balance sometimes it’s $200 and I have seen it as high at $1,500. Make sure your balance meets the required threshold. I have notification (via email AND text) set on mint.com if my balance gets low. I set it to $1,500 so this is a good warning with a nice fluffy $1k to give me plenty of time to build that back up. My minimum balance is $500 according to my bank. For all of you building your emergency find, this is very important!
- ATM fees – OMG. These fees drive me bananas. Again I don’t think you need to pay to use your money. You are probably thinking “Glenda, it’s only $3!” But seriously it will add up.
Let’s look at my little example – Say I needed $20 for parking or something at the farmer’s market, that transaction will costs me $23. If I do this 10 times over the span of one month, I have now spent $30 of my money to just pull out $200. Multiple that by 12 months and you can say goodbye to $360 per year. $360: that’s a plane ticket, that’s $360 you can throw at your debt, that’s a few nights in a luxurious hotel in Thailand! See what I mean, it all adds up. This is the point I am making is becoming more aware of the tiny expenses that add up in the long run.
See Video Two of this series >>> https://youtu.be/MzhTkvcMBXI
Poor gym memberships get so much beef in the frugal world. I have an unpopular opinion – I think gym memberships are wonderful and worth it (but only if you ACTUALLY use them).
If you are the type of person who buys the year membership for $30 a month on a promo but you only go in January (new years resolution?), or in May (because swimsuit season is in one month away). Instead of wasting $30 times 12 months = $360 a year on something you use only 2-3 times a year, buy a book of 10 sessions in a bootcamp or a smaller gym. Usually those 10 session packets cost around $100, and you can use them up as you go. If you start working out on a regular basis then buy more.
Now if you are like me, you love to work out. I used to spend about $150 a month on Crossfit. HOLY CRAP Glenda, why? Because I LOVED it. It was my social hour, I went 3-5 times a week, and I felt like I was part of a community. I used those monthly memberships to death, and every time I would have an excuse not to go I would think about how blessed I was to afford $150 on gyms and would end up going. So if you use your gym membership, then absolutely account that in your monthly budget. I believe exercise is a long term insurance for good health – physically and emotionally. Plus you feel better about yourself, and who doesn’t want to feel good?
When I was going through my Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course and crushing my debt, I did do something different. I used a membership called ClassPass. It’s a monthly pass you pay a fee (at the time I think I paid $70/mon – see their website for current pricing), and you get to visit all their different kinds of gyms from Crossfit, yoga, pilates, cycling, aerial yoga, kickboxing, bootcamp, dance, and so much more. There are limitations which have changed over the years but you get to workout at different places, trying new types of workouts. I loved this because it satisfied my Crossfit needs and I was able to try other activities for half of what I was paying before. I don’t use ClassPass anymore because I don’t live in a big city, so be sure to check out what cities they are active in.
Stop Buying Bottled Water
Who the hell actually still buys bottle water? This is about as uncool as smoking cigarettes!
Apparently Americans spend over 16 billion dollars on bottled water each year. Guys, plastic is a problem and although I will never claim I am 100% plastic free I do make an effort to use the least amount possible. Rant over.
“But Glenda the water tastes different.” I know …I agree. 😉 I used to be a plastic bottle water snob too. But according to this report bottled water is sourced from tap water. It’s just in a pretty bottle that makes a lot of noise when you scrunch it. So here’s what I have started doing – I carry a steel bottle with me at all times. Most of my bottles I received for free from a conference or a promotion but you can find them all over Marshalls or Ross on clearance for under $5. I don’t care how they look, they are functional and were free. If you really want a new bottle – this bottle is my favorite. Also get yourself a Brita Filter, this will give your water that different taste (it really does taste different despite what my husband says) that we all desire.