Money was a big emphasis in my family. It was important to save money and spend as little as possible. This baseline was ingrained in my siblings, and I since we were old enough to understand. With grandparents growing up in the Great Depression, we never heard our shortage of stories about how nothing went to waste at the dinner table. I learned how to save so well that it bothered me to spend money when it wasn’t a good deal. What are some of the money habits I learned as a kid?
Never Get Into Debt Or Take Out A Loan
I learned very early that all debt was evil. My father would cringe whenever someone mentioned that they were $10,000 in credit card debt or they bought a car fully financed. To this day, I have only broken this rule once. The only reason I did this was because it offered 0% interest for a year. Since the loan was small enough (just above $1000), I had no problem paying smaller payments and collecting interest on my money in the meantime.
Always Pay Credit Card Bills In Full Every Month
Lots of people think that credit cards are a death trap. They can be if the balance isn’t paid off in full every month. The interest rate of any credit card is terrible. The thought of missing one payment sickens me. The only reason I use credit cards is because they offer “free” incentives such as cash back or airline miles. Since I have family all over the place, the airline miles I used from credit cards have already saved me thousands of dollars in plane tickets. If credit cards did not offer incentives, I would not touch them.
Never Pay A Bill Late
I have no good reason to pay my car insurance or cell phone company more money in the form of late fees. I don’t feel like they deserve it. They already get rich enough from you paying for their service. If I could not afford the service, I would cancel it until I could.
Negotiate with Service Providers
Some service providers like cable companies will work with you on a better price. I contacted my internet provider and told them my bill was too high. They offered me some other pricing options; it was an improvement, but I wasn’t satisfied. I called back and asked for the cancellation department. I told the representative I wanted to cancel service, and they offered about half the cost of what I was paying to stay with them.
Buy In Bulk
I always buy everything that is non-perishable or has a long expiration date in bulk. Bulk Shopping is never a long shopping list for me. I don’t enjoy buying lots of things, and I hate storing items like a warehouse. My shopping list for buying in bulk is toilet paper, laundry detergent, olive oil, meat to freeze, mixed nuts, aluminum foil, toothpaste and soap. I don’t care much for the brand name of these items, but usually the generic one is a better deal.
Buy Perishable Foods At A Produce Market
Most of the time the fruits and vegetables at produce markets are priced lower than Safeway. The hardest part about this is finding one. When I move somewhere new I always do research to find the closest produce markets. I am lucky to have an Asian-owned produce market three miles away.
Eat Most Of The Food Purchased
I hate not eating what I buy. My general rule when grocery shopping is if I won’t eat it or might not eat it, I won’t buy it. There is no sense to buy something you won’t eat even if its a good deal. I typically eat 85-90% of what I buy. When I do throw things away its because they get old, and I wasn’t around to eat it.
Buy Furniture And Household Goods From Craigslist Or Flea Markets
I find that the best deals for furniture or tools come from these used sources. I recently bought a whole dining room table and chairs to match new laminate flooring (which I installed) for $45 on craigslist. It is in excellent shape, and the best part is I negotiated a lower price and paid no sales tax. The same goes for flea markets. Most of the vendors will negotiate on prices and you don’t pay taxes. The item list from these sources is endless.
So why do I follow these “frugal” rules? I follow these rules because they set the foundation for wealth preservation. I don’t see a point to obtain wealth if I don’t have a defense in place to protect it. Other than these rules, I have no reason to take frugality any further.