6 Things I Avoid in an Effort to Stay Frugal

I typically find it relatively easy to stay on the frugal side. Every so often though, even those of us with willpower of steel when it comes to not spending money find ourselves beginning to wilt against the force of money spending kryptonite. It’s those guilty pleasures, that when placed in front of you might just be too tempting to resist.

So how do I fight off the urge to splurge? Well, sometimes it’s best to avoid the temptation altogether.


Technology can be a real budget buster, and while I don’t or can’t avoid it completely, there are certain aspects of technology that I feel are avoidable in order to help me stay frugal.

Don’t get me wrong, the temptation to go out and buy the latest techno gadgets can hit hard sometimes. I enjoy cruising up and down the electronics isles at the store, however; doing so often has me fighting the urge to buy a flat screen television or upgrade our cell phone, which are things I would like but don’t need to do.

I know how it is with technology. Once you have upgraded from a regular television to a flat screen, from VHS to DVD, from a tape cassette to CD or whatever, it’s all over. How do you ever go back to a lesser version if need be? It’s like that song from World War I with the line, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree (Paris)?”

Personally, I’d rather just avoid the temptation to buy such items as much as possible.


Other than a mortgage, the last time I owed money to someone was for my student loans for college — in other words, I hate debt! Can’t stand it, don’t like it, and try to stay away from.

Debt is probably one of the top public enemies when it comes to threats to staying frugal. It’s not easy to save your money when you’re busy giving it away to someone else for the honor of borrowing their money. If I can’t pay cash for an item or at least pay it off at the end of the month when the credit card statement arrives, then I don’t buy it — pure and simple.

Brand Names

I understand all the research and design costs are carried by those companies who initially develop a product, meaning that later generic or store brand rip-offs can come along and copy that product for a much lesser cost. This doesn’t however mean that I’m going to be the one to pay extra just because I appreciate the time and effort that the initial company put forth in their name brand creation. I know that someone has to foot the bill; I just prefer it not to be me — sorry.

New Clothes

As with brand name products, I know someone has to design new clothes and that in turn someone has to buy them to create resale products, but it’s just not going to be me as long as resale options are out there. Maybe not every place has the selection and quality of resale opportunities that we have in the Chicagoland area, but I can find top quality products often for just pennies on the dollar — and no, things like undergarments and shoes are not included in my resale purchases.

Lawn Care

It drives me nuts watching others pay lawn services to cut their grass and remove their leaves and snow. Given, my lawn might not be quite as plush without the tender touch of a professional to pamper it; but here in Chicago , where summer is shorter than a Chicago Cubs’ winning streak, I really don’t give a hang.

While lawn services might be wonderful for older or incapacitated persons or for the wealthy who have more valuable things to do with their time, as long as I’m still physically able, I’ll be doing my own yard work, thank you very much.

Going out to Eat

You may not have guessed it from my previous articles, but I actually enjoy going out to eat — the act of going out to eat at least — not the price. In my opinion though, and having had a background in the food and beverage industry, the markup on most restaurant products is just too ridiculous. Then I have to tip someone 15-20% of the bill for doing something that in most cases (with a few exceptions regarding cooking particular menu items) I could have done myself.

More From This Contributor:

Money Saving Habits: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

5 Ways to Save 5 Bucks in 5 Minutes or Less

Take Retirement Calculators With a Grain of Salt


The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. For financial advice, readers should consult a licensed financial advisor. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.