1. Track the item prices of your online purchases for up to a week after you buy. Most major online retailers, including Amazon.com, have policies in place that upon request will refund you the difference if the price on a recently purchased item drops within seven days of the purchase.
2. Patronize Hispanic and Asian markets for great ingredients and savings. By now you realize that cooking your own meals saves you huge amounts vs. eating out. You can compound your savings by going to smaller farmer’s markets that feature unique ingredients and much lower produce prices.
3. Get your prescriptions at Costco or other bulk stores over pharmacies. If you have monthly prescriptions to fill that aren’t covered by your current insurance, you can save big by going with big-box stores like Costco. Americans paid 447 percent more a year for generic prescription drugs at the priciest pharmacies compared to the least expensive, according to Consumer Reports.
4. Instead of a gym membership, invest in some running shoes or a used bicycle. The majority of gyms and fitness centers try and lock you into a long-term contract with termination fees and month automatic payments. If you are interested in getting in better shape, buy your own gear and build your own aerobic routine instead of paying to do the same at a crowded gym.
5. Utilize online forums to find awesome local freebies and sales. Sites like Craigslist.com and NextDoor.com provide a free forum for members of a specifically targeted community to notify others about sales and items that they are trying to part ways with. There are always amazing deals on high quality goods on these sites — a little extra work on your part here can save you heaps over the course of a year.
6. Develop a relationship with a local tailor. Instead of purchasing a brand new item from your local mall every time you damage or grow out of a piece of clothing, it is almost always more cost-effective to take the item to a tailor and have them repair the issue. This is especially relevant for parents with growing children.
7. Limit your vices! After a long day, it can be nice (even crucial) to pour a glass of wine or have a cocktail to unwind. While this behavior is entirely appropriate, choosing to cork the bottle and save it for another time instead of going for a second round can benefit your wallet and your daily caloric intake — for those watching their waistline.
As with all things, the key to successful frugality is moderation. If you overload one week, it will be that much easier to slip up and binge-buy later. Remember to reward yourself, but try and keep a checklist and a calendar to track your goals and keep on track to a fun.