Do you need to save money? Are you sometimes out of control and unsure where your pennies keep disappearing? Whether you are saving for something in particular, trying to pay off your mortgage, achieve financial independence or need to get by on a reduced income, this test of your thriftiness could shed light on your spending habits and the frugal habits you need to develop.
1. When you buy groceries do you:
a. Do it on the hoof and think about what you need as you browse the supermarket shelves.
b. Always plan your meals and write a shopping list before you go.
c. Have a rough shopping list but tend to impulse buy.
2. For lunch at work and for days out, do you:
a. Worry about it when you get there. You can always get something from the shop or a fast food outlet.
b. Take a packed lunch.
c. Try to take lunch with you but don’t always have time.
3. How is your bank balance? Do you:
a. Have little idea how much money you have and always run out before pay day.
b. Always know how much is in your account and budget so that you last the month and put money into savings.
c. Generally know roughly the amount of money you have, but sometimes go overdrawn because you don’t plan for unexpected expenses.
4. When you go into town do you:
a. Shop for fun – you love spending money and it is your favourite hobby.
b. You rarely go to town unless you really need something, and usually check out the charity shops.
c. You don’t always spend money but are sometimes tempted to buy items on impulse.
6. Your home is:
a) Very warm – you have the heating on as soon as autumn arrives.
b) On the cool side – you will put on a jumper or two before you give in and turn on the heating.
c) You try to save money and keep the heating off but the kids keep turning it on.
7. When was the last time you thought about changing your bank, getting a new mortgage deal or shopping around for your utilities?
a) Why would I?
b) I look to see if I can get a better deal at least once a year.
c) I do it every now and again, but could probably shop around a bit more.
8. Your washing machine is getting old and unreliable. Do you?
a) Go to the nearest electrical superstore and ask the salesman for advice, then purchase the same day on credit.
b) Do some research on which models are the best value, then shop around to see where you can get the best deal. You save up if you can’t afford one straight away and consider second hand.
c) Have a look at a few online reviews and try to find a good deal. Hopefully you might have enough in your savings.
9. Have you ever used a cash back site?
a) How do they work?
c) I do sometimes but often forget.
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10. You need to travel somewhere on the train. Do you:
a) Buy your ticket on the day at the station.
b) Check several weeks in advance and research the cheapest routes to get you to your destination.
c) Try to buy a return ticket a week or so ahead if you remember.
11. How often do you buy designer labels?
a) Often. You can’t resist a brand name.
b) If you see any at the boot sale, you snap them up and resell on eBay.
c) Occasionally, for a special occasion.
I reckon you have worked out that mostly A answers mean you have failed the thrift test! You are likely to have a permanent overdraft and a lot of credit card debt. Perhaps you lie awake at night worrying about the state of your finances. You need to develop some good frugal habits and learn to say no to yourself and others.
Mostly C answers: This is likely to be where most of us are. We are generally aware and in control of our money but have the odd lapse that could cause trouble.
Mostly Bs? Your frugal habits mean you are a paragon of virtue and on your way to being debt free and financially independent, if you’re not there already.
The thrift test is just a bit of fun. Few of us are totally out of control ALL the time or with the self discipline to never lapse. But we can all develop frugal habits to help us stay in control of our spending and save money for whatever we want.
What are your best frugal habits?