Frugal Tips – How to Live Frugally
The word 'frugal' often conjures up negative connotations; however, living frugally can in fact make a very positive impact on quality of life if executed properly.
Frugal living is often associated with living cheap, buying products and services just because they are low in cost, and missing out on things in life by going straight to the low-quality options.
However, this is not the case.
Frugality will not stop you from enjoying what you like in life. In fact, it will do the opposite.
It is a means of spending consciously and proactively managing money to remove unneeded costs.
It will allow you to be in full control of your own finances.
You can still buy the luxury and expensive things in life; however, be smart about it and only do that with worthwhile services and products.
For example, taking your own lunch on a day out, rather than spending in the onsite facilities means saving on unnecessary costs and having more money that can go towards the holiday fund later in the year.
Living a frugal simple life can mean prioritizing what to spend money on.
This will have a better impact on life as a whole.
As well as being able to prioritize costs better, there are other benefits to living frugally:
Avoiding or getting out of debt – There are ways to manage your budget better to avoid going into your overdraft and to help pay off any debt already accrued.
Living sustainably – Part of your frugal life could mean purchasing washable nappies or never purchasing plastic water bottles, preferring to fill a reusable one at home. This not only saves unnecessary costs, it also helps the environment.
Decluttering – If you are an impulse buyer, a frugal life will prevent you from buying those things you don’t want or need and will help you save space in the wardrobe and house.
A simpler life – Being frugal means managing money better by not spending unnecessarily. This could mean brewing beer rather than going to the bar or growing some vegetables. This will give a simpler and often more stress-free life.
Financial freedom – Cutting out the things you do not need to spend money on will allow for more freedom to spend on things you have always wanted. It will help you save for that dream destination holiday or put money away for retirement or save for a pension.
Many people may think they are living a frugal life by buying a cheaper brand of toilet roll or buying two for one at the supermarket.
Living a frugal life means developing a long-term mindset.
Frugal living may indeed start as a short-term solution to save for a holiday or buy a house. However, when you see how cutting down on unnecessary costs can improve your bank balance, you will likely want it to become a long-term way of living.
It does take commitment.
Many people prefer to buy impulsively or live paycheck to paycheck.
Others may feel that they do not need or want to make any changes to their life when they like spending when they want.
A frugal life can be motivating and inspiring; it can become a satisfying challenge.
Therefore, it is worth trying to be more frugal in your daily routine to see long-term financial freedom.
Top 10 Frugal Tips
Before delving into the top ways to live a frugal life, the first thing to do would be to analyze your current budget and create a new one.
Initially, it would be wise to write down all outgoings and incomings, including regular costs, any one-off costs, disposable income, and any savings and debts.
From here, you can identify any places you think you could save money by cutting something out that you do not need or spending less on something.
Remember to include the times you tend to make one-off spends.
You should then be able to implement some of the tips listed below:
One of life’s biggest and most regular spending can be on groceries. We all need to eat; however, there are ways to spend less.
By planning a weekly or monthly menu, you can see exactly what you need to buy at each shop and not impulse buy just for tonight's dinner.
This does not necessarily mean buying the cheaper brands if you do not want to. It just means only buying what is necessary.
Buying in bulk and cooking meals you can freeze also means saving money, being resourceful and not having to go to the shop every day for fresh ingredients (though, of course, some days will require topping up milk and bread perhaps).
Not only will this save you money long-term, but it also saves time with cooking bulk meals and freezing them.
You can also keep better track of what you are eating each day and perhaps choose healthier options.
I am sure we have all panic bought extra shampoo in case we run out mid-hair-wash.
This is not necessary – wait until it is on its last use, otherwise, it can mean using more of that product each year than needed.
It is also important to state here that buying a two-for-one promotion just because it is an offer can be an unnecessary cost too. Make sure you only do this when the product is of use.
If there is something that you purchase regularly, can you get a subscription that will save you some money each year?.
For example, vitamins or washing tablets.
Amazon offers a subscription service on many products that will give you a certain percentage saving on your purchase.
You can also look at money-saving apps to give you an idea of where you can save on that product or service.
Equally, if needing to budget for something outside of your regular costs (like Thanksgiving), try and collect coupons to gain money off the extra food needed that month.
Often, by using the same gas station or shop, you can collect coupons each time a purchase is made.
Choose where you shop wisely.
Not only is buying bottled water and takeaway coffee bad for the environment, but it is also an unnecessary cost.
Fill up your own water bottle when you go out and remember your reusable coffee cup.
It is worth reviewing all household and monthly bills.
Cut your Sky bill by getting rid of the sports channels you never watch or cut down on water by washing clothes less.
You can also review your providers and see if another electric company can offer you a better deal.
Another way to combine money savings and sustainable living is to try and buy second-hand clothing where possible.
It is still ok to buy new where you need to, but looking for second-hand clothing can save you a lot of money.
For one-off events like fancy-dress parties, purchasing a cheaper second-hand costume would be more frugal.
Children’s clothes are commonly only worn a few times; therefore, looking on second-hand sites and in charity shops is a great way to purchase good quality items.
If you have something you no longer need or want, sell it to somebody who does.
Online sites such as eBay are easy ways to make some cash selling good quality second-hand items.
Buying anniversary, birthday, Christmas and Easter gifts can be very expensive.
Making cards and personalized gifts can be great fun and will feel very satisfying.
The receiver will appreciate the time and thought that has gone into it too.
Think about items like biscuits, candles or knitted gifts.
One way to be frugal is to research local attractions that are free or require a donation.
Exploring local historic museums that require a small donation or going for a picnic in the local park can be less stressful and even less costly than visiting a theme park for the day.
Save the more expensive days out as a treat.
Alternatively, instead of paying to visit an indoor attraction, look at what is already in the house: the shelf of board games, the craft box or an iPad to call family and friends.
Have a movie afternoon at home with popcorn or set up an assault course in the garden with things you have around the house.
Your local library not only offers book hire, but you can usually also hire DVDs and audiobooks, and sometimes toys and games too.
Some libraries have an online service that will allow you to borrow digital resources like magazines and ebooks.
A library is also a great place to spend time, many having other free resources, clubs and services.
A frugal lifestyle is a long-term commitment that will change your life for the better.
Once people eradicate the myths behind frugality and realize it does not mean being cheap and missing out on the necessities, the frugal life can be embraced.
When you manage your money better, you will be better able to spend money on the things that matter to you.
Implementing every frugal living tip at once is unnecessary to create a frugal life, making changes slowly will still have an effect.
Assessing your budgets and taking note of where changes can be made in your personal circumstances will help you decide which changes will work best for you.
Simply, living frugally does not mean sacrificing the nicer things in life, but managing your spending better will mean fewer money worries and more financial freedom.