Hi there, frugal millennials! I’m excited to share this guest post with you from Andy, who writes at PennyLess Dad. Andy hit rock bottom a couple of years ago when he decided to file for bankruptcy. Since then, Andy and his wife have left that dark period behind and are now living a debt-free life with their family.

Enjoy, and let us know your thoughts!

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Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to save money in 2016? Living a frugal life doesn’t necessarily mean clipping coupons on every single occasion or skipping your morning coffee in order to save money. It’s much more than you think. The scopes of frugality are vast.

Frugality is more like a way of life – a habit. If you want to live a frugal life, you’ll have to practice frugality. Here are eleven ways to stay frugal in 2016. If this list seems overwhelming at first, start with one item, and take it one step at a time.

Live within your means.

Until and unless we realize our spending threshold or capabilities, we won’t be able to live within our means. Living within your means is maintaining a lifestyle that your present income can afford only after having a significant monthly savings. Don’t get carried away by the lifestyles of your friends and neighbors, or what other say about the lifestyle you are leading. When you’re writing the story of your life, don’t let another person hold the pen.

Salary – Savings = Expenses

Unfortunately, many of us take the opposite approach. What we often do is Salary – Expenses = Savings. Consequently, we are never able to save a significant amount at the end of the day. One of the principles of living frugally is that you keep aside a certain portion of your income as savings before the expenses commence. Usually, it’s 20% of your gross pay.

Use generic brands.

No, you don’t always need to buy generic brands in order to live a frugal life. However, there are some things that we should always buy generic brands. For instance, sugar, rice, veggies, and flour can be purchased in generic form.  Since you can dispose of these items quickly, there’s no reason to buy an expensive brand.

Use high-end brands for certain things only.

Products of high-end brands are known for longevity, reliability, comfort, and so on. If you’re upgrading your laptop or television, always go for a high quality brand. Do the same for the clothes you buy since comfort and durability matters. Often many regular names appear to be renowned brands and try to lure you by offering discounts. Be an informed consumer and avoid such brands.

Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose.

Recycling is both good for your pocket and the environment. Reuse bottles and containers. Don’t add to plastic waste by reusing your grocery bags. Don’t throw away your brand new shirt just because it has got a stain. Do everything you can do get the stain out, and if you can’t, wear it when you clean or paint your house. Be practical. There are hundreds of ways to save both mother earth and your wallet. Try those and your savings will definitely upsurge.

Buy secondhand, and sell old items.

If you can use the inventory at your office, toiletries in a hotel, and “hand me downs” that your parents used to use, why can’t you buy something used? Why do you always need to buy brand new things? With the advent of the Internet, nowadays it’s very easy to swap and sell your old goods. List your inventory and see how many items are there that you can sell or trade. The proceeds that you get by selling your old or unused items can be used to buy secondhand items.

Schedule your work.

Those who are organized thrive the most. Organized and proper scheduling of work does wonders for your money. Unscheduled activities like impulse buying drain a lot of your hard earned money.

Always carry cash.

If you really want to save and live a frugal life, keep your credit card at home whenever you’re out for shopping. Make use of this strategy especially when you’re at groceries or the mall. Use the credit card only when you’re out of cash at the end of the month and need money to buy something essential.

Shop in advance.

Buying out of season is always cheap and wise. Have you ever tried it? Buying out of the season has its own set of benefits. You get the best available discounts and since the demand remains low due to off season, the prices come down.

Stay at home.

This might sound depressing and negative, but staying at home can be fun! By staying at home, you get to spend some quality time with your kids, spouse, or friends. You can also work on DIY projects in your home. From painting your bathroom door to installing a new faucet, there is always some work at home that remains pending for months. Tackle those projects. If you have nothing else to do, watch movies at home from YouTube or Netflix. You can borrow movies from the library too.

You don’t need to go out for a movie or dinner just because it’s Sunday. A home cooked meal has its own delicacy.

Drive a modest car.

What purpose does your car serve? The purpose is that it gets you from one place to another. Nothing more than that. Do you care about impressing a stranger when you pull up at a stop light? Is it worth going into debt just to impress others? Driving a cheap car can save you thousands of dollars in car payments.

What recommendations do you have for saving money in 2016?

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