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Frugal living has become away of life for many people around the world. Not only is it a good idea to save money for the future, but it seems to be a matter of pride with many individuals. As we start to look at reusing the items we already have and minimizing waste, a trend is emerging, showing how much people really care about the environment and themselves.
Living a frugal lifestyle is more than being cheap. It is about enjoying and preserving the resources given to you and making them last as long as possible.
This type of living is no longer for the stereotypical struggling family. People who have the resources for more are still choosing to adopt a more frugal lifestyle. When we stop depending on external things, we begin to see the internal value of ourselves and others around us.
Why Frugal Living?
Frugal living is practical, economical, and relevant. As we strive to waste less, we are sometimes unintentionally living within a frugal lifestyle.
Why does a person choose to live frugally?
There are many reasons, let’s look at some of the more common ones.
Necessity-Many people are living on shoestring budgets, not by choice. They work hard but are still living paycheck to paycheck. A lot of people are in this boat and it can become instinct to naturally be frugal.
Choice-Adopting a frugal lifestyle by choice can have many benefits including:
- The ability to save more
- Using less waste
- Being friendly to the environment
- Embracing a minimalist lifestyle
Environmental Concerns-As shared above, for love of the environment, people choose to live frugally. Using less waste and frugal living can go hand in hand. You use less resources, use less energy, buy fewer things, have less waste, which all contribute to helping the environment.
Whatever your reason maybe, check out these great tips to help you along your frugal living journey.
Frugal Living Tips You Will Enjoy
1.) Free Entertainment
I know this one sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. There are many ways to have good, quality entertainment for free or extremely cheap.
There are a ton of fun ideas for free entertainment that you will enjoy. Check out these frugal entertainment idea:
- Game night with friends or family
- Indoor or outdoor picnics
- Movie night
These are fun, at-home entertainment activities to try out.
Have an itch to go outdoors or to have fun outside he home?
Another great, free entertainment idea are community programs like music in the park, where volunteers or local paid musicians perform for the community. This can be common in small or large cities. These local concerts are a fun idea to gather with your community and enjoy some great music.
If you plan to be there for an extended time, plan to bring lawn chairs and snacks so you can enjoy for as long as you want!
Here are some other community activities:
- Painting in the park
- Free plays
- Free movie theater days
2.) Take advantage of community entertainment
Some examples were touched on above but there are several community entertainment options that you might not be taking advantage of. Public libraries are a good example. People often forget about this amazing resource that is available for free! You can borrow books, as well as CD’s, DVDs, and books on tape.
Most library cards are free, and you can use them all the time. Libraries are also hubs for free classes and music and art programs. Family nights at the library and other events are also common for local public libraries.
3.) Do it Yourself (DIY)
If you can do it yourself to save money and live frugally. You can learn new skills and even have fun doing it! Some examples include:
Making your own cleaning products-There are many recipes available for making cleaning supplies using everyday ingredients. These cleaning supplies have been shown to be as effective as commercial products without the cost or harmful chemicals. Check out these 8 DIY cleaning products that are easy to make.
Cooking-Once you learn to make your own food yourself, it really becomes an invaluable skill. Eating out all the time will not help you be frugal. Many times you can find the homemade version of your favorite restaurant recipes, and at a fraction of the cost!
Making food at home gives you so much flexibility too. You can adapt recipes to your preferences and dietary needs and make wholesome, delicious dishes for your family. It takes more time but is definitely worth it, and essential for a frugal lifestyle.
Embrace “back in the old days” living skills– Do you remember back in the old days when people would do everything themselves? Cooking, cleaning, sewing,etc. Getting back to this kind of lifestyle will help you accomplish your goal of living more frugally.
Here are some ways to adopt a “back in the old days” lifestyle:
- Horticulture: This is gardening and growing your own food! Planting and maintaining a garden is hard work but it’s so rewarding and it can be very enjoyable. What’s better than growing the food that will feed you and your family? And, did you know you can make money gardening?
- Food preservation: This means making your own jams, preserves, homemade seasonings and rubs, etc.
- Sewing: You can learn this skill for free by looking at video tutorials online. How great would it be to have the skill to repair a torn jacket, sew a button, or patch up a hole?
These skills will allow you to save money now and in the long run.
Gift Giving-When the time comes to give a gift, the price tag can easily climb sky high. This doesn’t include the cost for a card, wrapping paper, postage in some cases, and other gift expenses.
A great way to live more frugally is to give homemade gifts. These gifts are often more appreciated, as they require your hard work and skill.
Here are some cool DIY gifts you might try out:
- Knitted scarf
- Bath salts and other toiletries
There is no reason to feel intimidated if you’ve never done a DIY gift before. They are a fun activity that will help you offer a thoughtful gift to a friend or family member.
Need more ideas? Here are 17 Easy DIYs you can make to help save you money.
4.) Save Energy
If you live in a home, it’s easier to use more energy than you need. Sometimes the best option is to downsize. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re considering downsizing:
Do you have empty rooms that go unused?
Do you tend to use the same bathroom(s) in the home?
If you live in a two-story home, do you tend to spend most of your time on one level?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may consider downsizing. Extra space in a home uses up energy. There is more cost for heating and cooling additional rooms, extra cost for appliances and tools plugged in (like televisions or electronics), even when not in use, and a higher cost for a bigger home, in general. This tip will help you save money on the biggest expenses in your life (rent, utilities, etc.).
Consider adding extra insulation to your home to cut down on heating and cooling costs.
Don’t use a dishwasher if you can wash the dishes by hand. Using a dishwasher might be easier but it’s more cost-efficient to hand wash.
Avoid the dryer: If you can dry your clothes on a clothes line instead of using the dryer, that will help you save on energy costs even more.
Wash your clothes in cold water: Laundering your clothes in cold water is a huge money saver. Less energy is used since your water will not have to be heated during the laundry cycle. Try this out.
5.) Keep Your Home Clean
When looking to cut costs and practice frugality, it pays to keep your home clean. When the home is clean, it extends the life of the furniture, household items, and people.
A clean home equals healthier people. Less dust and allergens in the air can prevent more sickness from happening, saving on doctor’s bills, the cost of medication, and avoiding costly expenses of taking time off work due to illness.
6.) Pay Off Debt
Use cash instead of credit to avoid piling on debt and accruing more interest.
Pay off your debts as fast as possible. Less debt means more money going out for expenses, which can help you boost your savings. A debt free or low debt household can also save money on potential late fees and interest charges.
7.) Double Check Your Budget
Going over your budget and bills periodically can save you money. Consider cutting parts of your budget such as:
Cable TV-Try out cheaper alternatives like Hulu and Netflix.
Phone-Consider using a prepaid service. The quality of service is the same, you just need to get the card renewed monthly. Many prepaid services offer discounts if you pay for a year in advance as well.
Grocery-Avoid going to the grocery store for “just one thing.” This often results in unwanted and unneeded purchases. If you must shop at the grocery store, then try shopping monthly. If monthly seems too daunting, try every two weeks. The less time you spend at the grocery store, the more you save.
Track your spending-When you track how you spend your money for a month, you will discover even more areas you can cut, unless you are already living quite frugally. It never hurts to recheck every so often.
Consume Less-Cut down on making new purchases. Use up what you have until it wears out. Oftentimes people buy things unnecessarily. Practice consuming less.
8.) Buy Secondhand
When going shopping for bigger purchases like furniture and clothing, consider going secondhand. You can refurbish the furniture and make it your own pretty affordably. Clothing can be purchased secondhand, in good condition.
8.) Shop the Sales
Use the weekly sales ads to look for deals and check the store website for unadvertised deals. Be in the know when your local grocery store marks down prices so you can take advantage. Take a look at these tips for saving money at Whole Foods Market.
9.) Save on Gas
Fueling up can be very expensive nowadays. When you need to make trips with the vehicle, consider consolidating the trips and only go once a week, bi-weekly, or even once a month.
- Grocery trips
- Personal goods shopping
- Dry cleaning trips
- Paying bills in person
- Doctor’s appointments
When you don’t need to use your own vehicle, try riding a bike, walking, or using public transportation. Less expensive transportation options do exist!
10.) Avoid Waste
In short, this means, make sure you use all your goods up, until it’s gone! Also, salvage what you can’t use to avoid waste.
- Turn food scraps into compost
- Practice recycling
- Repair or repurpose broken or worn goods instead of throwing away
Must read: 17 ways to avoid food waste
11.) Meals on the Cheap
When deciding to be more frugal, you really need to look at your relationship with food: how you eat, what you eat, where your food comes from, and how you prepare your food.
Do you buy products that are “convenience meals” or do you buy raw ingredients to make your own?
Earlier in the article we talked about the grocery budget. One way to enjoy meals on the cheap is to make your own convenience meals from scratch and freeze them for later. TV dinners are one of those meals you can prepare in bulk and freeze for those busy crazy nights.
Check out the websites that have meals on a budget recipes and meal plans, like these 50 frugal meals and recipes! The meals are wholesome, nutritious, and tasty while at the same time being economical. Meal planning saves money.
When you know what you are going to prepare ahead of time, you are then able to plan your shopping trip to get every ingredient you need, saving you a trip and saving you money, because extra grocery trips mean extra money spent!
12.) Price Compare
To truly practice living frugally, you can not be brand loyal. Don’t get stuck in a rut of using the same brand of products over and over. Price compare. It will take some effort but will be worth it to shop around for the best prices. It will save you money, after all.
Save time and save money using these shopping comparison sites to help you shop the best prices:
Get more of the top comparison shopping sites in this ultimate comparison shopping guide!
Are you overwhelmed, yet?
There are a lot of things you can do to live more frugally. Don’ t get overwhelmed. Pick one area of your life to start with and continue to grow from there. Frugal living is a lifestyle, and as such, small steps are more likely to last.
Don’t throw everything out and start from scratch. Pare down and start slowly. You will find frugality to be second nature before you know it!