Are You Ignoring These Frugal Tips? You're Basically Losing Money, Redditors Say

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Frugal Living 101

You're probably heard plenty of financially savvy advice before. But actually following it? That's a whole different story. 

Saying "no" to smart frugal advice — like not using credit cards and missing out on perks or rewards — can unknowingly drain your finances and end up being a bigger pain down the line. Here are 10 frugal tips that users on the r/frugal subreddit say are often ignored.

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Learn How To Bake

While many people embrace the idea of cooking at home as a means to cut costs, they often dismiss the valuable skill of baking. Refusing to learn how to bake can deny you the opportunity to create your own delicious and cheap pastries, bread, and desserts, says one Redditor.

"People are far less willing to learn baking than to learn cooking," the user writes, adding, "There's endless talk about the savings of DIY'ing coffee at home but not about the bakery shelf items people buy along with coffee. People don't realize how much they're getting fleeced for baked goods." 

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Buy Used Items

While we suggest buying some items new — such as undergarments, baby equipment, and shoes — there are many things that could be bought used to help you save money while also reducing waste. 

"I try not to let my kids know their clothes are used, but at least 80% of what they own is used," writes one Redditor, adding, "Even my clothes are used. It's too damn expensive for clothes. People act as if used clothes are a sign you're poor and struggling. Ok, fine, I don't care, but I'm saving lots of money." 

Hey, there's no shame in the game. If you're saving money, you're winning — and here at Cheapism, we applaud you for it.

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Take Advantage of Free Activities

Sure, a fancy dinner is always great, but there are also fun and exciting activities that don't cost money. By failing to explore and take advantage of the free activities offered in your neighborhood or city, you may be unknowingly depriving yourself of both cheap entertainment and the chance to discover fun, new experiences. 

"There's a ton of stuff in our area like free concerts in the park, college events, museum passes at the library, free days at the museums, and naturalist activities at the regional parks that have been just as much fun for us as expensive plays and dinners out," writes one Redditor.

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Don't Live Above Your Means

Living above your means can be a slippery slope that can gradually lead you to a mountain of debt. "The main thing I see is people not making enough money trying to keep up with people that do," says one Redditor, adding, "Was talking with a guy yesterday. He's way behind on bills, $1700 behind on rent. He blew $40 on brighter headlight bulbs. I would have given him a stock bulb for free."

By consistently spending more than your income allows, you create a precarious situation that can become increasingly difficult to sustain. This lifestyle can result in mounting debts, financial stress, and limited options for the future. Remember: Each person's financial situation is different, and it's important to make the best decisions for yourself based on your income and not compare yourself with others. 

RelatedWant To Start Living Frugally? Redditors Share Their Best Advice

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Be Financially Literate

Not being well-versed in financial literacy or doing your research on financial investments can leave you vulnerable to predatory lending practices or scams that can end up costing you more money in the long run. 

"One of my coworkers just told me he's financed to the teeth on his vehicle," writes one user, explaining how their colleague was spending more money than they had to on a leased vehicle. "Turns out he's being refinancing his loan every year to upgrade his car. Not a lease, but a loan. Didn't know he still had to pay for the vehicle he traded in."

Related: Useful Tips and Tricks For Buying a Car Online

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Have a Yard Sale

Opting out of a yard sale due to the perceived effort it requires can be a missed opportunity to generate extra cash and declutter your possessions. By not taking the time to organize and sell unwanted items, you may inadvertently accumulate more clutter, and potentially end up with even more expenses associated with having to find storage for those items. 

"It's a good thing that [a yard sale] is a lot of work," writes one Redditor, adding, "Going through all of that can solidify for some people not to purchase things in the future that they don't really need, and that you would get little back on when you go to sell it." (But at least you can get some money back.)

Related: How To Make the Most of Facebook Yard Sales

IOT smart home concept

Raise the Thermostat

Raising the thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer is a simple yet effective method to lower your energy bill. By setting the thermostat higher, you can minimize the workload on your cooling system and still be able to remain cool by keeping windows and doors shut, and having a few fans running. 

"I don’t think enough people set their thermostat higher during summer," writes one Redditor, adding, "I think more often than not, people act like going above 75 is unbearable. In my experience, even when humid outside, I can have the house set at 81° (during daylight) and still be comfortable with fans on."

Related: 14 Ways to Keep Cool Without AC

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Take Advantage of Credit Card Perks

Failing to inquire about perks offered through your credit card, such as points, rewards, and cashback, can lead to missed opportunities to save money on everyday purchases. "Yeah, we know people who refuse to use credit cards," writes one Redditor, highlighting how this can be a good strategy for those who tend to splurge on impulse buys. "But they're missing out on free money, plus the convenience, plus the other benefits like price protection."

By neglecting these benefits, you're foregoing potential discounts and rewards that could translate into tangible savings over time. Ideally, you want to maintain a low balance on your credit card(s) while paying off the balance before the end of the month to build a positive credit history or fix your credit score. "You can go from no credit to really good credit by just using your credit cards and paying them off in full every month," writes another user.

Related: 10 Credit Card Benefits That Save You Money 

Drive Thru

Remember That 'Little Things Add Up'

Frequently indulging in small purchases like quick snacks or coffee runs may seem insignificant, but their cumulative impact can result in substantial long-term expenses. "That cup of Starbucks every single day will add up to over 3k a year," writes one Redditor, adding, "You could have saved that money for something better and made your coffee at home." (Damn, way to call us all out.)

But in all realness, these seemingly minor expenses can accumulate over time and significantly strain your budget. "Things like drive-thrus add to your commute and [you waste gas while waiting] in the drive-thru," adds the Redditor. 

Related: Starbucks Baristas Reveal 7 Obnoxious Drive-Thru Behaviors

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Be Savvy About Saving

Overspending and neglecting to leverage retirement accounts such as 401(k)s can leave you in a precarious financial situation as time goes on. "Watch the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves," writes one user, noting how stashing away even a small portion of your paycheck can yield surprising savings over time. "Focus most on recurring costs. Saving $10 on a one-time cost is worth $10, while saving $10 a month over 30 years on a recurring expense at 4% interest is almost $7K."

To begin saving for retirement, start by setting aside a portion of your income each month and depositing it into a dedicated retirement account or high-yield savings account. By starting early, you can take advantage of compound interest — giving your savings ample time to grow.

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