This article was updated on June 28, 2021
Frugality and minimalism are really becoming a conscious effort for Gen X adults and millennials. Frugal people don’t usually broadcast to the world that they’re all about the budget. They simply make small tweaks in their everyday life to ensure stability and comfort.
Extreme frugal living isn’t something that is necessary today. You don’t have to sell everything you own and live off the grid. But here are 17 things frugal people don’t usually do in their everyday lives.
1. Most frugal people don’t finance cars.
Even if they find themselves having to finance a car, they certainly don’t roll over the negative equity into the new loan (also called being upside down in a car loan).
2. Overdraft their bank account.
Because most operate on a zero-based budget, they can’t afford to overdraft their accounts. A zero-based budget is when you calculate income less all bills and expenses and put all of your extra income either towards savings or paying off debt. The debt snowball is a great way to pay down debt fast using a zero-based budget.
3. They refuse to compromise their dietary health to save money.
Instead, they choose to eat healthier greens and legumes and keep meat to a minimum (as a splurge). Many frugal people are actually vegan, which saves money on groceries.
4. Carry credit card balances.
Frugal people do not like to use credit cards as part of their everyday lifestyle. While some have the discipline to pay the cards off every month in full, others choose to stay far away from credit cards. I think self-awareness plays a big role in a person’s success with credit cards. If you know that you’re a spender who has been in debt for years, it’s probably a good time to cut up the cards and pay them off once and for all.
5. Keep up with the Joneses.
Frugal folks simply don’t care about what the Joneses got going on. The fact that Karen and Johnny bought a brand new camper or boat doesn’t phase the frugal because their #1 goal is taking care of themselves and their family and living on the bare minimum. That means things like exotic cars and “toys” only mean future setbacks.
6. Hang out with losers.
I love the Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. It’s true! At different times in my life, I’ve had to let go of toxic people because I realized they were not encouraging me to live a better life or to be a better person. Budget-conscious people are careful who they hang out with. Because for some reason, when you’re frugal and your friends are spenders, they tend to be judgmental and condescending. That’s why most frugal people hang out with like-minded friends.
7. Take fancy vacations.
Now listen. I’m all for a fun getaway. In fact, my husband and I were married at an all-inclusive resort. However, we only spent a total of $5000 on our entire wedding (including my dress, cake, decorations, etc).
Some frugal people scrimp and save everywhere they can so that they can take vacations with loved ones. If that’s your jam, so be it. I’m not here to judge you. But self-made millionaires are urging millennials to wait to travel.
8. Forget to price compare.
You might be a frugal person if you pull out your phone at Target to scan every single item through the Cartwheel app before you check out (just to make sure you didn’t miss anything). When shopping for gifts, frugal people tend to search high and low for the best prices and free upgrades they can find.
9. Automatically opt for employer-offered health insurance.
Extremely frugal people have probably researched health sharing ministries as a way to save money on healthcare. We had our first claims last year after my son broke his wrist. Two surgeries and $60,000 later, we only had to pay $1300 out of pocket.
10. Fail to contribute to 401k or other retirement options
Frugal people know the value of saving for the future by investing in retirement, such as a 401k through their employer or, if self-employed, a SEP IRA.
11. Frugal people never stop learning.
Personal development is so important. I never realized this until I learned from my experience as a Beachbody coach (which I would never recommend, btw) that I realized just how important listening to audiobooks is to your personal and professional growth. Audible has changed my mindset and my life. Now, I can listen to my favorite audiobooks while I’m getting ready for the day or during my commute into town.
12. They don’t even consider the idea of not having a sufficient life insurance policy in place.
Dave Ramsey, financial radio host and debt payoff strategist, recommends having a term life insurance policy valued at 8-10x your annual salary. As a stay at home mom, we purchased $400,000 worth of life insurance on myself, and it was very affordable. The cost of replacing you and all that you do as a stay at home mom would be astronomical. That’s why it’s so important to protect your family.
13. Waste Food.
Frugal people are known to eat leftovers until they’re sick and tired of them. They want to use all of their stores until they need to be replenished.
14. Fail to keep a stockpile.
Stockpiling isn’t about extreme couponing, although, I did try couponing for a couple of years and ended up with a bunch of crap I didn’t need or want. Frugal-conscious people keep an inventory of what they have, and as part of their zero-based budget, they stock up when it’s on sale.
15. Pay full price.
Frugal people love negotiating a deal, and they refuse to pay full price when cash is king! Whether buying a car, a house, or a piece of furniture from Goodwill, they enjoy the art of negotiation. And they certainly don’t like paying $5 for a cup of coffee!
16. Forget to shop car and homeowners’ insurance at least annually.
This is another big one. Did you know that auto and homeowners’ insurance can go up even if you haven’t had an accident or claim? Shop around with a reputable insurance broker at least once a year to ensure you’re receiving the best rates for the best coverage. Brokers have access to multiple companies and can price compare with the click of a button. So much easier than calling 15 different companies. Also, be sure to compare apples to apples. For example, one company may have lower rates on a six-month policy but they may be quoting lower coverage amounts.
17. Spend emotionally.
Emotional spending can wreak havoc on your budget and your life if you aren’t careful. At one point in my marriage, I thought it was over. I experienced what many would consider PTSD after I found out my husband had been unfaithful. Talk about a traumatic experience! As a result, I spent a lot of money on myself and my kids in an effort to feel better. To make matters worse, I used a credit card and had no plans of paying it off. I was pissed, and I was taking it out on the plastic.
You can be the most disciplined person under normal circumstances, but when your whole world turns upside down, all of that structure goes out the window. Frugal people are smart about their money, and while they’re not exempt from disaster, they usually aren’t emotional spenders.
Being frugal is a great way to ensure a better life in the future. Many millionaires are frugal and budget-conscious, and they adopt the philosophy that even though they have the money, that doesn’t mean it should be spent on frivolous purchases.
This article originally appeared on Perfection Hangover.