Smart SpendingSmart Spending

5 frugal changes you resist (but should try)

They really could save you money, but they seem just a little too difficult or too painful. However, they may not hurt as bad as you think.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 19, 2012 5:12PM

This post comes from Anna Newell Jones at partner blog Wise Bread.


Wise Bread logoWe all know there are frugal changes we should be making but just don't want to. Some require just a little too much forethought, a little too much sacrifice and, let's be honest, they are just a little too inconvenient.


Image: Hair salon (© RubberBall/SuperStock)After the initial hump of discomfort, these five frugal changes can easily become a part of your daily life. (See also: "5 dreams you won't achieve unless you live below your means.")


1. Take the Internet off your phone.

It's very expensive to constantly be tapped in. My phone bill skyrocketed (up $60) when I decided to add the Internet to my phone. Efficiency books and websites suggest focusing on one thing at a time, so by removing the Internet you get the dual benefit of being more efficient and saving money.


2. Let your hair be its natural color.

For the longest time I fought this one, because my mousy, slightly ashy brown locks just couldn't compete with the blonde I craved to be. Every four to six weeks, my dark roots would pop out and beg for a cover-up. I finally convinced myself to go three shades darker than I usually did.


While it's taken a very long time to get used to the darker color, I love it when I realize how much time and money I've been able to save by doing something as simple as switching to a more natural hair color. My current 'do is going on its fourth month, and roots are nowhere to be seen. This could never have happened if my hair was still a faux blond.

3. Carry a water bottle.

Stash a reusable, BPA-free water bottle in your bag and fill it up at the water fountain when it starts to run low. Not only will you save money by forgoing store-purchased bottled water, you'll also be helping the environment and keeping yourself healthy and hydrated.


4. Turn down the invitation.

This is a tough one. It's hard to admit that you can't (or shouldn't) do something that you know you can't afford. After all, no one wants to be a Debbie Downer. Politely decline the invite or offer up a less-expensive alternative, if appropriate.

5. Stop buying new clothes.

This is another painful one to consider, but it's surprisingly freeing once it's implemented. If you're anything like me, you get sucked into the new season's trends and spend a lot of time looking at clothes and items online.


When I was in full spending fast mode, I was shocked to see how much extra time I had on my hands. I rethought my wardrobe, dyed my cotton clothes to refresh them, and planned clothing and accessory swaps with friends to get new-to-me clothes and accessories. An unexpected benefit of the swaps was that it provided a fun, free and unique reason to get together with friends.


Is there a frugal change you know you should be making but just can't get yourself to do?


More on Wise Bread and MSN Money:

Sep 21, 2012 7:18AM

I got rid of my land line telephone and replaced it with VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone service for less than $5.00 per month after initial equipment costs of about $200.  The VOIP equipment paid for itself in lower phone bills in less than a year and the quality is equal to my land line.

I also discontinued my cable TV service and invested $60 in a high quality indoor TV antenna that is connected to my desktop PC that has Windows Media Center (a free Tivo-like service).  It automatically records the shows I enjoy from the major networks and I can watch them at my convenience and fast-forward through the commercials.  For shows from HBO and SHOWTIME, borrowing from the public library works just fine and is free.  The shows are just as enjoyable a year after they initially air.

My savings from just those two changes, over $100 per month every month.

Sep 20, 2012 1:21PM

Soon you'll be home alone sucking tap water from a recycled Dasani bottle. After all you've cut yourself off from The Social Network, stopped taking care of your hair, started wearing your own hand-me-down clothes and declined invitations to do anything. (Not to worry, soon this one will take care of itself.)

But you'll have a couple more shekels to make you happy. All's good.


Sep 20, 2012 12:53PM
Sep 20, 2012 12:49PM
Turn off your home phone/Landline if you have a cell. Buy only food that requires cooking. That means no snacks or microwavables. Pack a lunch for work. Car pool. Don't buy on credit, that means save up for what you want. I have a hundred of them. It allows me to sock away 25% of my income in retirement accounts and I save an additional monthly amount for christmas and our yearly vacation. NO CREDIT CARDS. INTEREST WILL KILL YOU. 
Sep 20, 2012 12:43PM
Sep 20, 2012 10:55AM
I would add grow your hair long - I have not seen a hair-dresser for close to two years now and I am loving it!
Sep 20, 2012 10:50AM
I've done all of the above for years and I'm still broke.  Any good ideas on how to reduce property taxes after an appeal failed?
Sep 20, 2012 10:28AM
Even at 48 I cling to my natural hair color,I don't buy bottled water ,but yes my internet adds $70 to my phone bill.I will look into changing this soon. However as a single parent with a son in college I have a hard time saving and no I have not bought a new dress since Xmas.Any other ideas??
Sep 20, 2012 9:35AM
ok- I'm 62 and if I went with my 'natural' color, my hair would be gray! I'm working in a corporate environment, so that  doesn't work for me. Once I 'retire' (lol) , it will be an option.

Sep 20, 2012 9:29AM
You recommend number one to take the internet off the phone but after item 4 there is a bullet item to get the Smart Spending on the go app for the Android or iPhone.  Typical MSN hypocracy!
Sep 19, 2012 6:26PM
Every time I see my U-verse statement I think about dumping cable and my home phone, and possibly even switching back to a dumb phone. 
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