Living frugally is one of the best ways to save money. Wondering how to live frugally? It is all about identifying ways to spend less money on expenses and other costs. And it can be done by anyone, no matter where you live.
Living frugally is as simple as evaluating your spending and seeing where you can spend less. If you had no income at all and had to live on what have (or don’t have) in the bank, what would you do?
Think about an answer to that question and it will help you find ways of cutting your costs.
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I think my mother was the ultimate in frugality. She treats two pennies the same as she would $200. When I was growing up, there were six children and she was a stay-at-home-mom.
So, on one income, with a family of 8, you had to be creative when it comes to maximizing your money. This meant planting a garden and making sure nothing goes to waste…with the emphasis on “no waste.”
My mother never threw anything out. I once saw her buy a half bushel of bruised apples for $1 and turn it into apple pies and apple sauce. When our garden was harvested,the food was eaten immediately or canned or frozen for future meals.
This harvest would last us until the next spring when we planted again. At the age of 82, my mother still plants a small garden and takes pride in preparing meals with her fresh produce.
Eating leftovers is another way of saving money. When preparing meals, you might want to make enough that you can have the meal a second time. The trick is to NOT make so much that it goes bad or your get tired of eating it. There are also many options for preparing low-cost meals.
You will not find dryer sheets in my mother’s house and she does not use a clothes dryer (rarely). When I was growing up, we had a clothes line for drying clothes and to this day she still hangs her clothes to dry.
This may not seem like a big thing, but if don’t use a clothes dryer over 30+ years, the savings would be huge.
Cable is another killer to frugality efforts. My brother has a net worth of more than a million dollars and does not have cable. He is very productive and considers cable an unnecessary expense as well as a productivity killer.
If he wants to use the internet, he goes to a coffee shop Starbucks or some other place that has free public internet. He has not had cable for more than 5 years. At a cost of $100 a month, which is cheap, that is a savings of $6,000 over the five-year period. Do you want to save a thousand or more per year? Cut the cord.
Living frugal is a mindset. What are you willing to do cut expenses? People that are extremely frugal get creative. They look for free entertainment activities as well as ways to save on monthly and daily expenses.
If you struggle with cutting expenses, set yourself a target for the month and strive to hit it. See if you can eliminate $100 or stretch for $200 a month from your spending and put it in some type savings account. You have to start with saving a little bit of money before you can save a lot. Frugal living is about going the extra mile to cut costs.
Frugal living is different things to different people. You may have to eliminate as many expenses as possible to make ends meet and achieve your financial goals. Or you may be someone that is not willing to give up certain things to save money. This is something you have to decide.
My son works as a pastor and his wife is a teacher. So, needless to say they are not wealthy and being mindful of their money is important. They pick and choose the things they are willing to spend money on…for instance, my daughter-in-law has a Macbook and my son has a Moto 360 smartwatch.
On the other hand, they drive old cars and repair them every time they breakdown. They do frugal meal planning and eat out only on special occasions. They do pick and choose where they spend money and don’t let anything go to waste.
Living frugally is about using everything to its fullest. Your variable expense categories are the easiest place to begin to live frugally.
You may find many things that you can slash immediately, such as; eating out, cable and monthly subscriptions. It is possible to reduced fixed expenses as well.
Are you paying too much for your house or apartment? What about transportation? If you are making an expensive car payment, you may want to consider getting a less expensive car. Can your family get by with just one car?
Find ways to cut your expenses. Frugal living is also about not paying extra dollars for conveniences. Some people opt not to buy paper towels, they cut dryer sheets in half, they eliminate buying soda and bottled water. This list can go on and on.
Start by cutting the expenses you can see, such as; cable TV, subscriptions, eating out, extra clothing, etc. Once you have done this, you will be left with the expenses that you consider necessary.
Now it is time to look at your “necessary” expenses. This is where you will look at what you are spending on housing, transportation and groceries. Groceries is an easy category to start with to find money that can be saved.
If you are buying a lot of convenience foods, you are not getting the best value for your money. Foods that are in their rawest form will be the least expensive, such as; a whole chicken with the skin, raw hamburger, whole fruits and vegetables.
Track your spending: Tracking your spending can be a real eye-opener. There are many free expense tracking printables available, apps and spreadsheets that can be used for tracking.
A notebook will also get the job done. Record your receipts and at the end of the month, take a good hard look at where your hard-earned money is going.
Reviewing your spending can be very enlightening. It can reveal problems and habits you did not know existed. When I did this, I was stunned by what I was spending on eating out.
Although, I did not eliminate going out to dinner completely, I put a monthly limit on what I spend. I also know that if I need extra money, I can cut back even further in this category.
Identify expenses that can be reduced immediately: Besides eliminating eating out, there are often other expenses that are not necessities that we pay each month. I had 3 or 4 monthly charges that added up to about $70 a month that I cancelled.
A gym membership, Amazon Prime and a few others were among these expenses. These little charges can add up to several hundred dollars a year.
Evaluate housing and transportation expenses: Housing and transportation can be a tough one. Are you paying more for a home than you can afford? Cars can also suck up a lot of money and making a car payment can be depressing. These six tips will get you on your way to living the frugal life.
Eliminating a car payment is a great way to live frugally. Many cars can be driven for two hundred thousand miles or more before needing replaced.
Look at your grocery bill: What do you really need to nourish your body and keep your family fed? Processed and convenience foods come with a price…both nutritionally and financially.
Chips and pretzels, soda and similar items are expensive and unnecessary. Out of season fruits and vegetables can also add to your grocery bill. Buying more than you can eat before it goes bad is a waste of money.
Save Wherever and Whenever You Can. People that live a truly frugal lifestyle cut costs wherever they can. A penny has value to them. They treat pennies like they were dollars.
Frugal people do spend money on things that they really want, but they do not make these purchases impulsively. The special things that are purchased hold a lot of value to them.
Set goals. Setting goals will give you something to strive for. Start with small steps and increase them as you attain the goals.
Being frugal is a mindset. Some people are savers and others are spenders. If you are spender, living frugally may take some work. But if you take small steps and build on them over time, you will be able to cut your spending and add to your bank account.