Ever since the recession, frugality has become hip. Although that may change when the economy bounces back, many Americans still don't have faith in the recovery — most of them think the economy is either going to stay the same or get worse, according to a Harris Poll. Some new data from Harris recently revealed how people have been trying to cut back on spending. Here are some of the thrifty habits that people are picking up:
- Buying generic brands: Buying generic when you're grocery shopping is a great way of cutting back on costs. Remember to keep in mind that you can save even after the checkout by learning neat ways to preserve the life of your groceries.
- Bringing lunch to work: This is the second most popular way to save. It's easy to see the appeal — bringing lunch to work is so simple and it'll save you a good amount of money. Make sure to prepare your brown bag menu ahead of time, perhaps on the weekend, so you'll have an easier time throughout the week. Be sure to check out these work lunch recipe ideas from YumSugar editor Katie Sweeney.
- Cutting down on personal grooming: Seems like people are going to the hair salon less often. There are plenty of ways to cut down on personal grooming, such as looking for online deals at places like PopSugar City and Groupon and remember to pick hairstyles that don't require much maintenance. Check out local beauty schools for a budget-friendly expert cut by a hairstylist-to-be.
- Use refillable water bottles: Instead of buying new bottles of mineral water, which is an unnecessary expense and not very environmental friendly, invest in a cute water bottle and perhaps even a Brita pitcher ($12) at home if you're not too keen on tap water.
For more ways people are cutting back on spending, read on.
- Canceling magazine subscriptions: Evaluate your subscriptions and cancel them if you find that you're not really reading the magazines. These days, the websites of the magazines provide a lot of great information that rivals the content in their print publication versions.
- No early morning lattes: People are skipping out on store bought lattes to save their dollars. Remember you can make instant coffee taste good if you know how to dress it up right! Use ingredients such as chocolate and honey. Check out some of my instant coffee recipes.
- Canceling newspaper subscriptions: Although we all bemoan the dying breed of newspapers, the truth of the matter is, it's a lot easier and more up to date if you access the news online. New York Times and Wall Street Journal paid digital subscription getting you down? Learn how to sneak around their pay walls.
- Depending on your cell phone: Many people are canceling their landline and depending on their trusty cell phone for calls. Be sure to also take advantage of free phone calls by talking to people via Skype or some other webcam chat service.
- Carpooling or public transport: Carpool with some buddies or take the public transport to be green and save green. Check out carpooling services online like eRideshare and carpool world to see if there are commuters in your neighborhood who are willing to share rides. There are dangers to getting into cars with strangers so make sure you're aware of the risks and be careful.
- Canceling or changing phone service: Use billshrink to evaluate your phone plan to see if you're using the plan that suits your need the most or if there is a cheaper option out there. What's great about this web tool is that it accesses your account to see how you are using your minutes and based on your individual usage, it will find plans with better savings for you. The breakdown is pretty detailed and the site analyzes things like who your top callers are and what networks you are getting the most calls from.