Brewing coffee at home can save a lot of money in the long run.

It’s hard to make changes. Believe me, I know. It takes a lot of effort to change. When you’re used to doing things one way, you can just move through life on autopilot without thinking much about what you’re doing.

But when you’re trying to change a habit, you have to actually think about what you’re doing. You’re in unfamiliar waters, and it’s not comfortable.

That’s why I suggest you change one small thing at a time if you’re trying to pick up some frugal habits. Don’t try to change everything at once. Here’s a list of 5 things to get you started on living a more frugal life. Pick one and work on it. Once you have that one down, pick another. Before you know it, you’ll be in the habit of looking for new ways to live a more frugally.

1. Cook From Scratch

These days we pay a lot for convenience. We pay not only with money, but with our health, too. Picking up an extra value meal at McDonald’s is not only more expensive than making your own burger, but it’s probably a lot more calories, too.

By making things from scratch, you put in a little extra time, but you will be healthier, and your wallet will be happier, too. Prepare ahead for busy nights by making double portions of some dinners and freeze the extras. When you’re tired or short on time, you can eat your homemade frozen dinner.

2. Plan Ahead With Lists

I like to keep a list of the clothing sizes of my husband and children in my purse. Then when I’m shopping and there’s a clearance sale, or I’m at a garage sale, I know what to look for. I also like to keep a list of current clothing needs, items that I need for the house, and books I’d like to read.

It’s also good to keep a running “needs” list on the refrigerator. Train your family to write things on the list as the need arises. You then have the freedom to find the best deals on your family’s needed items. There’s nothing worse than coming home from a trip to Target to hear your husband say, “Hon, I need some razor blades.”

3. Consolidate Trips Into Town

Instead of running to the grocery store one day, soccer practice the next, and the bank another day, try to plan your driving trips. Run errands before or after soccer practice. If you work outside the home, run your errands on your way home from work, or all at once on a Saturday.

Consolidating trips into town serves two purposes. First, it cuts down on gas, which we all know is expensive these days. Second, when you’re running lots of errands in succession, you tend to run through each errand quickly, rather than stopping to browse in a store. This will prevent those expensive impulse purchases.

4. Carry Your Own Water With You

Bottled water is expensive. Stopping at the drivethrough for a soda is expensive and bad for your health. I recently bought some stainless steel water bottles for our family, since even the hard plastics are now believed to be bad for your health. When I’m heading out, I just fill up my water bottle and go.

If you prefer the taste of bottled water, Gibble recently wrote about buying a reverse osmosis filter. In the long run it saves money and it’s better for the environment than plastic water bottles.

5. Make Your Own Coffee

In recent years it’s become trendy to stop at Starbucks for a cup of java in the morning. In our area, there seem to be coffee stands on every corner. At $3.50 a pop, my morning mocha quickly became an expensive habit. Fattening, too.

These days I brew my own coffee at home. Instead of buying the cheap Folgers coffee that I used to buy, I spend a little extra money on some good, organic coffee beans. Even at $8.99 a pound, it’s still a lot less expensive than buying coffee from Starbucks every morning.

What other small changes can frugal newbies make to become more accustomed to frugal living?

Photo by powerbooktrance.