You can learn lessons about money the hard way: For example, by digging yourself deeply into (and hopefully out of) credit card debt. Or you can learn from the experiences of folks who have been there, bought that, and who now proudly preach the gospel of frugality.
Some of the thriftiest folks in the blogosphere weigh in with tips on how and why they spend carefully and save whenever possible in the CESI Debt Solutions’ post “42 Money Lessons from 19 Very Frugal Bloggers.”
The lessons cover food:
Dining Out Regularly Kills Your Budget
The first huge frugality hurdle for us was dining out. After realizing that we had spent around $5,500 dining out in 2008 we knew it was time to remedy that situation… so we did. Now we eat out for special occasions only, and we actually enjoy the process much more because of it – not to mention the thousands of dollars it saves us annually.
Matt Jabs – DebtFreeAdventure.com
Big philosophical ideas like what makes one truly happy:
Frugality Helps You Value People More Than Things
Frugality has gotten a bad rap over the years, and I think that people picture a spartan lifestyle with few pleasures. This couldn’t be further from the truth – my family is happy, healthy, and fulfilled, and we lead a pretty low-stress lifestyle. Being frugal – and sticking with it for the long term – gives us a lot of peace of mind (ie, built up savings means you don’t have to worry as much about unexpected expenses or financial curve balls), and it also allows us to focus on things that matter, like relationships with the people we love. A lot of lip service gets paid to the notion that people are more important than things, but living a frugal life allows us to really live by that notion.
Frugal Babe – FrugalBabe.com
And guidelines for avoiding wasteful spending:
Use Spending Rules, Questions and Delays
Many experts use spending rules, lists, questions at the cash register and deliberate delays to help them resist temptation. Here are some examples.
30 Day Rule + Put it on a List
I have a couple of tools I use to resist. First, I try to avoid stores that feature these products. If I don’t go into a comic book store, I can’t be tempted to buy. If I don’t watch Steve Jobs’ keynote address, I can avoid the lure of new Apple toys. Also, I make a lot of lists. For some reason, I find it just as satisfying to put an iPad on my Amazon list as I do to buy it. I’ll come back weeks (or months) later and wonder why I even wanted half this stuff. I use the 30-day rule a lot: If I still want something after 30 days, well then okay, I give myself permission to buy it.
J.D. Roth – Get Rich Slowly
Ask: “Do I Have the Space for It?”
I fall back more on minimalism now, I just ask myself: Do I have the space for it? And do I want to carry and pack it into my suitcase when I move? If the answer is no, I put it back. It works 99% of the time. Another question I’ll ask is: Can I get this for cheaper, borrow it, or find it for free? If the answer is yes, I won’t purchase it, and I’d rather wait for a deal or a sale. I’m pretty patient unless I REALLY need it. But to be honest, I don’t really need anything.
Ms. Fab – FabulouslyBroke.com
Sleep On It
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but anything that is on a really really good sale (80% off or more) tempts me to overspend because I end up buying things I don’t even need. Through the years I’ve used the method of sleep, sleep, and more sleep to curb my urge to buy just because something is cheap. I sleep on it and if I wake up still thinking about the item the next day, then I’ll get it. If I’ve forgotten it… well then I didn’t really need it anyways.
Ashley Baxter – SpendOnLife.com
The 30 Day Rule
Since I own a business, I’m tempted to overspend not by a certain product, but actually whenever my business does well. It’s much easier to justify (irrationally btw) to spend more whenever there’s a big influx of income coming in. It’s the same phenomenon when people get a big tax refund, or an annual bonus. Whenever I feel the urge to spend, I find that the 30 day rule works best. Once I wait 30 days, most products or services aren’t nearly as important to me.
David Ning – MoneyNing.com
Ask 3 Questions at the Register
Eating out, electronics, video games, and BOOKS are my big weakness. Eating out is a monthly struggle, and we are trying to be better planners to deal with the time constraints that cause us to eat out so often. I sold my XBOX 360 before we got out of debt so that helps in that area. We basically ask ourselves these questions before we make it to the register: 1) Do we need it? 2) What will buying it keep us from accomplishing? 3) Can we find it cheaper somewhere else?
Brad Chaffee – Enemy Of Debt