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If You’re Not Sneaking Candy into the Movie Theater I Don’t Know What You’re Doing: And Other Exerci

Some people may label me cheap. I say, “No. I just want to make well-informed financial decisions.” Well, I don’t really say that, but it is what I mean.

To me being cheap and frugal are two different things. Cheap, in my opinion, is compromising the value, quality, and function of an item, product, or service to obtain the lowest possible price – at the extent to which the whole point of saving is undermined. Frugality is a skill, a graceful one at that, which attempts to find the best usage of money for its user.

Committing to either one can be a burdensome undertaking, but if we would like to move closer towards financial freedom it’s going to require some financial constraint. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it makes sense once you think about it.

There are many ways people cut corners, save pennies here and there. Our concern is saving dollars. Here are some examples of how I save.

  1. Juice Me Up – I love juice. I love beverages period. And I always gotta have a variety in the fridge. As I began my journey towards frugality I realized that I spent a lot of money on juice and other flavored drink. I had two options. Drink water 100% of the time or find a cheaper way. Well, I ended up doing kinda both. I drink a lot more water now, but I also figured out a way to treat my palette at the same time. On a trip to the 99 Cents store, I discovered these flavored drink “singles”. Basically, you mix the drink powder in water and voila instant light green tea, Rasberry lemonade, or whatever other flavors they have. So now I just recycle and re-clean empty water bottles. Each box is a buck and comes with at least 10 packets. I only have to clean and refill every two-three days. Before I was going through a $2-3 jugs of juice every two days.

  2. Air Dry Only – I have an airy place. So, instead of dishing out the 75 cents to dry I let all my clothes dry naturally, by the air in the sun.

  3. Eat Like A Kid – You ever notice in Europe how the portions are usually smaller? There are valid reasons for it. Any time I’m grabbing food on the go I look towards the kiddie meal. It’s always cheaper, always smaller portion, and usually fills me up just the same.

  4. $2 Menu – According to the book “Portfolios of the Poor” the world’s poor survive on less than $2 a day. While I’m not ready to subject myself to abject poverty I do have a $2 a day rule….for lunch. Most of the time I paper bag my lunch to work. When I want to treat myself I head straight to the dollar menu. So far I like McDonald’s the best. One chicken sandwich and one side salad with Caesar dressing.

  5. Event Calendar – Every weekend I check out local community calendars for events happening around my neighborhood. Many times I’ll find free events with free food. Bam! I get entertainment + lunch/dinner covered. And many times it’s a good opportunity to network.

  6. Traffic! – I try and schedule any appointments or outings that require my car around peak hours. I hate sitting in traffic burning gas. Usually, I’ll check sig alert for traffic congestion and decide my route from there. If it’s close and I have the time, I’ll walk!

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