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6 Secrets of the Frugal Shopper
Guest Writer 

Nearly half of all Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no money saved, so it’s no wonder they end up in debt the moment a new expense or two surprises them. This adds a burden of stress that those who live frugally and have money saved, do not experience.

Jeff Yeager, author of “The Cheapskate Next Door,” says nine out of ten “cheapskates” said they think, worry, and stress about money significantly less about their money with their frugal lifestyle. He also says it’s telling that their divorce rate is less than half the national average.

Follow these tips and you won’t just get out of debt faster and improve your bank account, you may also improve your marriage too:

1. Utilize Coupons

This may not be a secret as pros have caught media attention walking out of stores with a grocery cart with $80 full of the essentials while laying down only $12 of cash. But, this goes far beyond clipping coupons out of newspapers and booklets for the grocery store.

There several major services like Groupon that offers 50 percent discounts on a regular basis to restaurants or entertainment spots in your area. LivingSocial has discounts to local social events and vacation spots.

Many retailers are on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking websites. If you subscribe to their news feeds or fan pages they’ll often notify you about all the best sales, discounts, and special events ahead of time.

2. Eliminate Impulse Buying

Carefully consider each purchase outside your regular expenses. Write down the item, and take a photo of what you want with your phone. Comparison-shop for the item online, then once you know how much it will cost you to obtain, double check your budget to determine the impact buying that item will have on your finances. Only when you’re sure it’s a good decision should you make a purchase.

3. Increase Deductibles on Insurance

You’ll pay less money each month, and odds are you’ll save more in the long run even if you make a claim. Don’t do this if you plan on spending the extra money, because you should save it should the money be needed for a disaster at some point. If that disaster doesn’t ever happen, you’ll earn interest on that money saving you even more.

4. Use a Comparison Service to Save on Auto and Home Insurance

Property and casualty insurance is one of the most competitive industries in the world, so you’re likely to have a better rate every year. There are over 15 A-rated companies that sell auto and home insurance nationwide. Make them fight for your business, and you can save a bundle. Don’t just go to one insurance company’s website that compares you to four or five top companies. You need to use a service that compares your rates to offers from all the A-rated companies in the country.

5. Visit the Library

Sure, the décor is outdated, the crowd is lame, and it smells a little musty, but the frugal overlook this and see a wealth of resources at zero cost to their budget: free books, magazines, CD’s, movies, TV shows, computers, internet access, and educational materials.

6. Maintain Rather Than Replace

Buying something shiny and new is as trendy as it is costly to your budget. Exhaust all possibilities to repair, refurbish, clean, or even upgrade something you already own rather than buy new. Buying new only becomes cheaper if the cost of maintaining becomes excessive in the long run.