Win the War on Debt: 80 Ways to Be Frugal and Save Money
by Brett & Kate McKay
Art of Manliness
of frugality cannot be overstated. Frugality cultivates the manly
qualities of independence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, simplicity,
and minimalism. It keeps a man free from the enslaving chains of
debt and gives him an sense of manly pride and satisfaction. Frugality
build a man's immunity to the siren call of "stuff," helps him learn
to make do with less, and adds pleasure and happiness to his life
by providing opportunities to practice delayed
gratification. Frugality also fosters the DIY spirit and inspires
a man to create,
instead of consume.
We could wax
long and poetic about the manliness of frugality but let's get down
to the brass tacks: how does a man become frugal? Some
men, inspired to jump on the frugality wagon, set a drastic course
for themselves and turn theirs live inside out. But inevitably,
this man ends up chafing at the extreme constrictions he has set
for himself, burns out on the program, and sets off on a shopping
spree to compensate for the months of rigid restraint. No, the better
course is simply to make little changes throughout the different
areas of your life. You will be surprised to see how fast these
small changes can add up and leave you with extra moola in your
pockets and in the bank. And you also might be surprised to find
out how fun being frugal is – really! It becomes like a game where
you're always trying to figure out ways to cut costs.
this list of 80 practical – and often pretty painless – ways to
save money. Whether you're looking to trim
your debt, live
more simply, start
an emergency fund, or just need to find ways to offset the hole
in your budget created by rising gas prices, there are guaranteed
to be a few things here you can start implementing in your life
right away. I recommend giving these ideas a look-0ver, making a
list of ten of more things you can give a go, and putting them into
practice as a new month begins.
debt is at hand!
your own oil.
your tires regularly. Tires are expensive. Make them
last longer by rotating them regularly.
your car used. And make sure you learn how
to negotiate for one.
If you're married, share a car with your wife. Kate and
I have been sharing just one car since we've been married. Yeah,
it can be a pain planning our schedules occasionally, but overall
the experience hasn't been bad at all and has become our normal.
We've saved money on gas, maintenance, and insurance and the rides
together provide us with time to talk and catch up with each other.
Pay auto insurance annually, instead of every six months. There's
usually a nice discount if you do this. Other ways to score discounts
with car insurance include maintaining a safe driving record, shopping
around for the best price, and staying with the same insurance company
for an extended period of time.
Carpool. Dagwood does it. So can you.
Keep your tires properly inflated. Not only do properly
inflated tires save you money on gas, they also cut down on tire
wear and improve the handling and thus safety of your car.
your car's air filter regularly. It's an easy car maintenance
job you can do yourself, and it can save you money on gas.
hypermiling. Hypermiling consists of using certain
driving techniques to maximize your fuel efficiency. You do things
like coast down hills in neutral and turn off your car when at a
Don't speed. You use more gas when you do and you risk
getting a costly ticket.
Plan trips where you have friends and family. During Kate
and I's poor college student days, this is how we were able to go
on vacations. We'd hang out with Uncle Buzz in Vermont or go see
Kate's grandparents in Orlando.
Always negotiate for hotel rooms. Hotel rooms are like
highly perishable food: if they’re not used that day, they’re wasted.
You can almost always get a better deal just by asking. Anytime
Kate and I are traveling by car and we're ready to call it a day,
we'll Google nearby hotels on our phone as we approach the town
we're driving into and ask for their rates. Then we'll start a bidding
war between the different hotels: "Is that the absolute best price
you can do? La Quinta has a room for $45 a night. Any chance you
can go lower than that?" Using this tactic we had one hotel room
go from $125 to $40. Boom.
When flying, bring your own snacks.
Skip on car rental insurance. Check your personal car insurance
plan to see if they cover you for rental cars, too. Many plans do.
Also, the credit card you use to rent the car probably offers rental
Travel after peak season. It might be hard if you have
kids in school, but you can find some good deals on hotel rooms
and flights if you travel during the off-season and time your trip
for the middle of the week instead of on the weekend.
Camp. Kate and I went camping last week. Spent just $10
for the campground fee and $20 for food and supplies. But it felt
like a true getaway. Just spending a day and a night in the outdoors
completely refreshed us.
with a safety razor. No more buying $20 multi-blade
Better yet, shave
with a straight razor. No more having to buy razors
at all, for the rest of your life!
of all, grow a beard. No razors and no shaving cream
Extend the life of your safety razors by keeping them dry and stropping
them on your arm. Dull blades are the result of imperfections
in your blade. Water causes your blades to corrode, and consequently
creates imperfections. So keep your blades dry. But a neat little
hack to sharpen those blades up is to do to your disposable razors
what you do with your straight razor: hone them. If you don't have
a leather strop handy, just use your forearm. Rub your razor on
your forearm in the non-cutting direction for about 10
strokes. Disposable razor stropped and ready to go.
and iron your own dress shirts. Even if your local
dry cleaner charges the very inexpensive rate of $1 per shirt, at
20 shirts per month, you’re looking at spending $240 per year. This
amount can easily balloon to $1000 if you’re paying anywhere near
$4 to $6 a shirt. You can complete this easy chore yourself in just
15 minutes a week.
your current wardrobe altered if you lose/gain weight instead
of buying a new wardrobe.
your clothing at a thrift store.
Cut your own hair. I'm a big advocate
of the barber shop, but many barbers are charging $15-$25 for
a haircut these days. For me, what you get – a great haircut, a
great experience, and the opportunity to take part in a manly tradition
– makes going to the barber well worth the price. But if you're
really wanting to tighten the belt, give yourself a buzz cut.
Ditch the gym membership and create a DIY
Gym. Also, rediscover the joy of the garage/basement
Bodyweight exercises. Check out our guide with 35+
different push-up exercises. We also have a burpee
guide with different routines you can do.
High deductible insurance+ health savings account. If you
and your family are healthy, you might consider switching to a high
deductible insurance plan and opening up a health savings account
along with it. While you have to pay more out-of-pocket before coverage
kicks in, the premium you pay each month can be considerably less
than regular plans. The health savings account you open along with
your high deductible plan allows you to set aside money tax free
that you can only use for medical expenses. You use the money in
your health savings account to pay co-pays, deductible expenses,
and medications. The lower premiums of a high deductible plan plus
the tax savings of an health savings account can mean big time health
Get samples from your doctors. Most docs are happy to fill
a bag for you with a bunch of samples of the medication you need.
Take care of yourself. The healthier you are, the less
likely it is that you'll have to make visits to the doctor and spend
money on medications. Exercise and eating right are simple things
you can do to stay healthy and reduce medical costs. Also, take
care of your teeth. Dental corrections like fillings and root canals
can cost an arm and a leg. Invest three minutes of your day, morning
and night, to proper dental hygiene.
Stop smoking. Last time I checked a carton of cigs was
going for $20+. Besides the money you save by not buying a carton
every week, you'll also save money on health costs in the long run.
Shop with a list. Studies show that when you shop with
a list, you spend less than if you don't, as it helps you concentrate
on picking up only what you need.
Brown bag your lunch. It's not only cheaper, it's usually
a heck of a lot more healthy than going out to a restaurant.
Cut back on packaged and convenience foods and learn how to make
cheap meals yourself. Pasta. beans. Eat them.
Make leftover friendly food. Casseroles and crock pots
are your best friends here.
your own coffee. Time to break-up with your favorite
Drink more water. Water is free, and it's good for you.
Drink it instead of flavored beverages that cost money and pad your
Limit going out to eat to one time a week or less. And
when you do go out, split America's massively-sized portions in
half and use a coupon.
Grow your own vegetables. Can't do this right now because
we live in apartment, but it's a future goal. I have friend who
has had tremendous success with growing his own vegetables. He saves
money, and he says it makes him feel like a homesteader.
Buy store brands. Here's a secret that brand name companies
don't want you to know: sometimes generic brands are made at
the very same factory as the brand name product, they just
put a different label on it. Sometimes this isn't the case, and
the generic really is inferior in quality. So just do some experimenting
to see what works.
Have a weekly menu. I don’t know about you guys, but when
Kate and I don’t have a menu planned out, when the question of “What
are we going to eat tonight” rolls around, it’s pretty easy to respond
with “Let’s go out.” A weekly menu can help you reduce the amount
of times you go out to eat, thus saving you money on expensive restaurant
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© 2011 The Art of Manliness