Learning to lead a frugal life isn’t as bad as it sounds. My friend Good Nelly has graciously written a post about frugal living and offers some great tips to help you lead a frugal life. Thank you, Good Nelly.
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Author: Good Nelly
How to lead a frugal life and save by cutting down expenses
You must have heard the term ‘frugal living’. What do you think? It is too difficult to follow, it means compromising with your enjoyment, living a cheap lifestyle, and so on?
Well, in reality, it’s just the opposite. Frugal living helps you lead a good lifestyle.
It helps you to enjoy life and appreciate things that you value the most. It helps you avoid and repay debt, live well even on a relatively lower income, and use the money for the things you value instead of spending on unnecessary things.
Is frugality being cheap?
Not at all. To define in short, being cheap means to purchase the lowest priced items whereas frugality means to assess your desires and spend less on what doesn’t really matter to you to save for something you desire wholeheartedly. For example, you may choose to cut back on eating outs to save for a dream vacation.
It’s worth practicing frugality, right?
So, let’s find out how to cut expenses, save money, and lead a frugal life from now on.
Plan a frugal budget
You must be knowing that budgeting is the primary step in every financial management strategy. It helps you to analyze where your money is going and to plan it properly as per your priorities.
Planning a frugal budget doesn’t mean that you won’t have money to splurge occasionally. If you can plan your finances properly by planning a frugal budget, you can have money for occasional splurging, too.
Clearly distinguish between your needs and wants
Yes, it is required; you need to differentiate between your needs and wants. Now, how will you differentiate between the two? To put it simply, what you need to sustain are your needs and what you can do without are your wants.
For example, buying clothes is a necessity but buying always premium branded attire is what you want.
You need to strike a balance between your needs and wants.
Plan your meals and save on grocery
Planning your meals for the coming week, during the weekend, can help you shop for necessary grocery items. Meal planning can help you save time too.
While shopping for grocery items, make sure you stick to the list of the items to purchase. Also, try to buy things in bulk so that you can save a substantial amount on them.
Here are some ways to save on grocery:
- Stick to your list and try to avoid buying items just because they’re on discount.
- Purchase things in bulk that do not perish easily or what you can consume within the expiry date.
- Always make a list while visiting the grocery shops.
- Before checking out, have a look at your shopping cart to make sure that you need all the items.
Another thing, if you have a garden, why don’t you grow vegetables? It is a much healthier alternative since organic foods are a bit expensive and you can also save more by having your own kitchen garden.
Make savings fun instead of a daunting affair
Savings need not be a daunting task every time. It can be enjoyable. You can take a savings challenge with a friend and see how much each one of you can save in a month.
There is another popular game known as the 52-week savings challenge. You save $1 in the first week, $2 in the second week, and continue doing that until saving $52 in the 52nd week. By doing so, you save $1,378 along with interest. It is a good amount of money you get at the end of a year. You can use the amount to repay debt, invest the amount, or do something else that fits your financial goals.
Sell items you don’t need
If you look around your house, you will find a lot of items that you no longer need. You can sell these items and earn a good amount. It can be a fashionable item, a piece of furniture, etc. that you can sell and a lower cost. Along with earning a few dollars, you can declutter your house, too. Moreover, you can help some others who need them and can buy these items at a relatively lower price.
Plan your purchases and return items if you feel so
Most of the items we purchase have a return policy for a few days. Therefore, take a look at your recent purchases. Is there something that you don’t need? Return those items and get cash.
Did you know you can return non-perishable grocery items, too?
Have one car or buy a second hand vehicle
Do you have more than one car? Can you and your spouse manage with one car and sell the other one? By doing so, you can save a good amount on gas, too.
If you need another vehicle, you can always purchase a second hand vehicle. However, while doing so, be sure that the vehicle is in good condition and you won’t shell out a lot on the maintenance cost.
Try a hobby and avoid emotional spending
You might have noticed that you tend to spend more when you are not in a good mood. Often people make emotional spending to uplift their mood.
To avoid this, try some hobbies. By doing so, you’ll stay engaged with something you love to do and won’t depend on emotional purchases to uplift your mood.
Do not go shopping when you are in an impulse-buying mood. Along with spending more, you can also end up purchasing things you won’t need or might not like after a few days.
Automate your savings and remain stress-free
The personal finance experts always say to save first and then spend. To do so, automate your savings. You will be left with little money to overspend if you automate your savings.
You can also opt for automatic payments for your bills. However, check them once beforehand to be sure that there isn’t any fraudulent change in your accounts.
Look where you can reduce expenses
If you look carefully, there are many ways to reduce some of your expenses. Do you live in a big house? If so, check out whether or not you can give one room at rent if it doesn’t hamper your privacy. Likewise, you can rent a garage space if you have extra.
Also, you can think of downsizing your home if you can’t afford your monthly home loan payments. A smaller house also means relatively lower maintenance costs.
Some other ways you can reduce your monthly expenses:
- Instead of switching on the air cooler every time, switch on the fan sometimes.
- Make your own coffee and carry it with you instead of buying it from outside.
- Exercise at your home or at your nearby park instead of having a gym membership where you rarely visit.
You may think that the cost of these things are negligible; but, think carefully! How much does it cost if you calculate all the expenses together? It is a substantial amount, right?
Eliminate your household debt
Recently, I have started practicing one thing that you too can do. You can take up a no-spend week challenge. You will have to manage such that you don’t have to spend on anything for a week. You can fill up gas beforehand and do grocery shopping as well.
Be careful not to swipe your credit cards for purchases. If you swipe cards, that means you have spent because you will have to make the payment later.
It is a bit tough to think of it but believe me, it is possible. It is rather exciting to spend a week without spending a cent.
By doing so, you can save a good amount with which you can eliminate your household debt, if any.
So, do you have any unique saving strategies to share? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know how you lead a frugal life and your best tips.
Author’s Bio: Good Nelly is a financial writer who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has started her financial journey long back. Good Nelly has been associated with Debt Consolidation Care for a long time. Through her writings, she has helped people overcome their debt problems and has solved personal finance related queries. She has also written for some other websites and blogs. You can follow her Twitter profile.
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