Frugal February

February is just around the corner and there’s no better time to start getting financially frugal than now. There are many ways to make sure you’re staying frugal if you are already and here are some pointers to help you become more so:

01: Track, track, track

Keeping track of your expenses and spending is a vital key to getting and staying financially organized. Keeping documents and records of when your spending is happening and what you’re purchasing can help you organize your habits later, and help you understand where you can cut back. For instance, start taking notes of how often you eat out. If you find it’s a frequent occurrence, cut back and make it a special occasion when you do. When you make a grocery list, stick to it, and look for coupons and deals. A lot of times off-brands are also the same if not close to the same quality and ingredients but hold a smaller price tag than name brands.

02: Audit your Bills

Look into what bills you have, when in the month they need to be paid and if they’re necessary to have. Sure, you need to make that house or car payment, but do you absolutely need to have that emoji app that burns $5 out of your pocket every month? That $5 might not seem like a big deal, but annually that adds up to $60 you could be spending elsewhere on something that’s actually needed. Another good tip is to keep up-to-date with payment packages, deals and options for items such as insurance or cell phone bills. Shop around and see what your current provider as well as others offer.

03: Watch your Energy Levels

Your energy and electric bill can skyrocket fast without you even being aware, so it’s always a good idea to be cautious of how you’re spending energy and what it’s on. Since we’re in the colder winter months, ideas to stay warm without blaring your central heat include baking dinner in the oven, using a space heater to warm up the room you’re in instead of warming up the whole house, and wearing layers of clothing. Other ideas for cutting back on some energy expenses include turning off lights when you exit a room, switching to LED bulbs and solar and doing laundry after peak energy hours.

04: Stop Spending and Save

Impulse buying can be temporarily self-satisfactory, but chances are that feeling will wear off as soon as you realize how tight your finances are come bill time. Instead, plan out your purchases accordingly with your budget and, on top of it, set some money aside in a savings account. This doesn’t mean the fun has to go away, it will just mean less worry in the long run and will give you a better sense of security overall.