Living frugally is about making the most of what you have, and saving on what you don’t really need. While many people appreciate the benefits of saving money, living frugally can actually be a hard thing to achieve. As human beings, we seem to be hardwired to seek comfort and luxury. For someone looking to start their life of frugality, staring slow is recommended. Don’t just go cold turkey on expenses at once. Eliminate one expense at a time. See what you can do without. Experiment until you know you can’t trim your budget anymore. Here are some tips to start living more frugally today:
1. Perform repairs yourself
With the host of information available regarding home, car, and electronics repairs online, you can make those fixes yourself instead of calling a professional. Repairs cost money, but if you are great with instructions, everyday fixes around the home can be a learning experience, and expense free!
2. Eat out less often
Eating out regularly is bound to blow a hole in your pocket, especially if you aren’t the kind to track expenses. Instead of spending on expensively priced restaurant food, do some shopping and cook for yourself. By shopping for all the ingredients of the meal, you can prepare it for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can plan on having leftovers for the next day and stretch your money even further.
3. Cut back on credit cards
Credit cards contribute immensely to debt. If you must use a credit card, only do it when be absolutely necessary and pay it off as soon as you can. Don’t plan around spending outside your means.
4. Get some free entertainment
A night out at the movies sounds fine, as does partying and clubbing. However, all these fun trips cost money. Instead, find ways you can have fun for free. The public library will have tons of books and DVDs that you can borrow at little to no cost. You could catch a local play or concert, and you can watch the local football team’s matches on weekend afternoons. Just because you cut back in entertainment expenses doesn’t mean you should be bored.
5. Quit smoking and drinking
Smoking is one of those habits that can become quite an expense if left unchecked, in addition to being harmful to your health. Quitting the habit is not easy, but those trying to cut expenses should consider it. You save money in the short term (on the cigarette packs), and your health in the long term. Alcohol can be just as bad as smoking for both your body and your wallet. If you drink rarely, consider buying alcohol from the grocery store instead of going out for drinks and entertaining friends at home instead of hanging out at a bar.
6. Buy used items
Be it electronics or furniture, there’s always a thrift store that will offer these commodities at a fraction of the price. If you choose to overlook the fact that the items are secondhand, you can actually come away with some pretty good items. Look out for yard sales and thrift stores in your area.
7. Use a smaller car
Unless you and your partner absolutely need two separate cars, then one smaller car is enough. By having one automobile, you save on unnecessary expenses such as gas, repairs, and other bills. Besides, smaller cars are more fuel efficient which will save you money at the pump.
8. Keep a kitchen garden
Keep a kitchen garden to supply you with fresh vegetables when you need them, at a fraction of what they would cost at the grocery store. Kitchen gardens are more than just a means to save money, you can also make money by selling any surplus veggies. Besides, tending to the garden is a really fun hobby and a great stress reliever.
9. Get rid of cable TV
As much as cable TV has to offer, most cable packages are unnecessary expenses; the TV sits off all day while you’re working anyway! Many of the shows that cable services offer can be found online or through rental services.
10. Smaller house
Smaller houses consume less electricity, require fewer cleaning and maintenance supplies, fewer hours spent on upkeep and can be much more affordable to purchase or rent. Instead of splashing out to try and be impressive, buy or rent a home that has just enough space rather than a lot of excess room.
The truly wealthy among us are those people who are able to live within their means, and make their income grow wealth for them. This is only possible through frugal living, and of course, saving. Those who live extravagantly beyond their means drown in debt and are unable to live the lives they wish at the end of the day. Make a few changes and see how they feel. If you can sustain the changes, keep moving forward. The key to living frugally is making lasting, sustainable changes that will truly save you money in the long run.