10 Tips for a Frugal Lifestyle
Frugality is often a necessity, especially in today’s economy. With the increase in living costs, surviving on minimum wage has become nearly impossible without some serious cutbacks, incorporating frugal living and sticking to strict budget plans.
“Frugality” is not synonymous with “deprivation.” It is not necessary to deny yourself simple joys and spontaneous purchases all the time. Living a frugal lifestyle simply means cutting costs and planning your spending accurately and effectively, allowing for left over income to enjoy however you please. Being mindful of your spending habits and making the right choices regarding what you NEED versus what you WANT is vital in your long term success.
The whole point is to spend less than you earn. Often times, not calculating spending habits and comparing it to income capabilities is the culprit in regard to debt and the inability to save. You must rationalize your spending in order to cut your expenses.
Ways to Achieve a Frugal Lifestyle Immediately
Housing and Transportation: Decide if you should downsize on the big stuff. Sharing one car or downsizing your residence is not always necessary but is often one of the fastest and easiest ways to save money.
Cancel Cable and Internet: More likely than not, you are overpaying for services you do not even use. Call your phone and internet providers and discuss the extent of your services. You must then decide if those services fit your lifestyle or are necessary. For example, if you are paying for the fastest internet bundle, ask yourself if you really need it. If not, downgrade to a slower speed. If you only watch a couple of channels, ask to downgrade for a smaller package or consider getting a subscription based service, like Netflix or Hulu, to have more shows and movies, at any time, for a small fee.
Opt For Older Phones: As technology advances, so do the prices. Consider upgrading less frequently or opting for older phones. When paying a monthly phone contract, the cost of the phone is also factored in and raises your bill. Buying a cheaper phone outright or going beyond your contract without upgrading can save you a significant sum every month.
Entertainment and going out: It is tempting to go out with friends and loved ones to eat at restaurants or shoot some pool. However, there are many different ways to save money and still have fun. Invite your friends over for a movie night instead of going to the theater or host a game night and provide snacks and drinks. If you still want to go out, do so at lunch time. Lunch menus are considerably cheaper than dinner menus, often for the same amount of food. Going out for coffee and dessert is also a much better option to save some cash.
Thrift shopping: Thrift shopping is picking up in popularity simply because we live in a wasteful culture. Many will donate perfectly good quality clothing and household items to make room for new things. Although this level of consumerism is alarming, it is also beneficial to those who wish to save money and who will put these handy items to good use.
Sell things you do not need: Selling items online has never been easier. You can sell through various means, such as on Kijiji, Craigslist or on Facebook Marketplace. This will potentially bring your unneeded items to the attention of thousands of people. This is also a great way to free up space in your home and bring in some extra income.
Traveling: Consider travelling less often or opting out of luxuries, such as first-class seats, five-star resorts and decadent food. Travelling the world and experiencing different cultures can be an equally amazing adventure, without all the added costs. Staying in hostels, partaking in local cuisine and spending time at the beach are all low cost activities that can be enjoyable and interesting.
Pack your lunches: Buying lunch and coffee every single day eventually becomes a chore and a hazard to your health (not to mention a huge strain on your wallet.) Investing in groceries and a cheap coffee machine will make you more self reliant while also saving hundreds of dollars a month to be put away or enjoyed in different ways.
Make lists: Making a list before going out can help you stay on track. A grocery list will ensure you do not buy things you already have and will, more often than not, ensure you buy healthier food options. If you have errands to run, make a list of things you need accomplished that day. That way, you will be less likely to deviate from productive activities to mindless spending.
DIY: Crafting hobbies can lead to money saved in the long term. Learning to sew your own clothes, paint pictures for your home or cook a dish you tried at a restaurant are all creative outlets that will require far less spending. Painting your own nails or cutting your own hair can also save hundreds every month in salon bills. Consider investing a bit of money into a hobby that can serve you well in the future.
Living a frugal lifestyle does not always have to be a straining, stressful chore. You can still enjoy the simple pleasures of life while also saving some money to indulge, from time to time, in items or experiences that truly make you happy.