Looking for a guide to frugal living? Unfortunately, frugal living is frowned upon in today’s society while material possessions and excessive spending are glorified and advertised everywhere.
We’ve been programmed to spend money on ourselves any way we please because, hey, we “deserve it.”
But the truth is, that’s actually not the best way to live our lives. It may surprise you but frugal living can have numerous benefits for your family, not only financially but also mentally. Wondering how you can get started? Here’s my guide to frugal living that you won’t want to miss.
1. Start Budgeting
At least for most of us, it’s difficult to obtain any kind of financial success without having goals and a few strategies to get there. While creating a budget may not be exactly how you want to spend an evening, it’s an important piece of the puzzle. That way you’re able to better prioritize your spending, by focusing on what really matters and cutting any unnecessary spending on things you don’t necessarily need.
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2. Get Rid of Monthly Subscriptions
I’d be willing to bet that you have a few tv services that your family has not used for some time. That’s just one perfect example of money slipping right between your fingers. But that can stop right now! Take inventory of all your monthly subscriptions and cancel any that you don’t use or need. That way, you can save that extra money for something more important.
3. Shop for the Best Insurance Rate
Insurance is a necessary expense, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay so much just to have it. Shop around for the best rates and consider bundling multiple policies with one provider, such as car and home insurance that can also help save you money.
4. Stop Spending to Impress
Many people today live with the wrong idea that wearing the snazziest watch, driving a fancy car, or owning nothing but the most expensive brands of clothing in their closet means that they’ve “arrived.” But spending a bunch of money that you don’t have simply to impress others and to fit in is just plain silly. Stop making impulsive purchases on things you can’t really afford.
5. Make Purchases at the Right Time
Let me let you in on a little secret. There are certain times throughout the year when various items are more affordable. For example, buying a new mattress or bedding during a holiday sale can save you quite a bit of money. Keeping an eye out for sales and purchasing items at the right time will help you save big.
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6. DIY When Possible
There’s something very satisfying about creating something yourself instead of just buying it from a store. And not only can DIY projects be fun, but they can also save you some cash. So before heading to the store to buy that expensive home decor item or piece of furniture, try seeing if you can make it yourself with some supplies from your local craft store.
Also learning on Youtube how to fix something in your home or a part that needs to be replaced on your vehicle can keep you from forking over hundreds of dollars for someone else to do the same job. It’s also a very rewarding feeling knowing that you did it on your own.
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7. Be Resourceful
Instead of throwing out perfectly good clothing with a tiny stain or hole in it, try repairing the damage yourself or donating it to someone in need. Look for free events and activities in your community instead of spending money on entertainment. Eat leftovers for lunch instead of buying expensive meals every day. Being resourceful helps stretch your funds further and fosters a mindset of frugality.
8. Sell Items You No Longer Use
Do you have anything in your home that is just sitting there? Why not sell it and make some extra cash? Not only can decluttering your space feel great, but you may be surprised at how much money those old items can bring in. Hold a garage sale or list your items on an online marketplace. That way, instead of those things just taking up space, they can earn their keep by contributing to your savings or putting it towards fun experiences for you and your family.
9. Buy Products of Higher Quality
Have you ever found yourself going the cheap route time and time again on the same item when you could spend more on something that you would get more life out of? We’ve all been guilty of this at some point. Purchasing products that are known to be higher in quality might cost you more upfront, but you’ll get more use out of them down the road.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop for Used Items
While I just mentioned buying products of higher quality, there’s also a time when buying used items that you need is a good solution as well. You can find gently used clothing, furniture, kitchenware, camping gear, and plenty of other items at places like Goodwill and Salvation Army for only a small fraction of what you would pay if you were to go out and buy them new.
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11. Take Stock of Your Pantry
When is the last time you looked into your pantry and came up with a meal only using what you had? Instead of constantly buying new groceries, use up what you have on hand first. And try not to let food go to waste by properly storing leftovers and planning meals ahead of time. This will also help with rotation so that you don’t end up with a bunch of outdated food.
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12. Meal Plan
As a culture, we’ve become extremely lazy about planning and preparing our own meals during the week. While there’s nothing wrong with eating out every now and then, doing so on a regular basis is burning a huge hole in your pocket.
Meal planning can save your family both time and money, as you’re able to buy groceries in bulk and create a plan for what meals you’ll make each week. This eliminates any last-minute trips to the grocery store or impulse purchases at restaurants.
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13. Consider Traveling During Offseason
Vacationing during the offseason can save you a ton of money not only with hotel rooms but also with plane ticket pricing. Besides saving you hundreds of dollars, you’ll experience smaller crowds, which means more availability at your chosen destination and a more relaxing vacation experience.
14. Turn Off and Unplug
This next one may seem a bit extreme for some of you, but hey, every bit helps. Not only does this save energy and help the environment, but it also saves on your electricity bills. Consider unplugging devices that aren’t in use, turning off lights before leaving a room, and using natural light as much as possible.
15. Cut Back on Entertainment Expenses
Consider reducing or cutting out expenses like cable TV subscriptions, gym memberships, and dining out. Opt for free or low-cost entertainment options such as hiking, visiting local parks or museums, having a movie night at home with friends or family, and borrowing books from the library instead of purchasing them.
16. Be Open to Negotiation
Whether it’s negotiating rent prices with landlords or haggling for lower prices at yard sales, don’t be afraid to try and negotiate for a better deal. It never hurts to ask and you may just end up saving some money.
17. Look for Discounts
Don’t be embarrassed about doing everything in your power to save your family money. Who cares what the person behind you in the grocery store line thinks of your extreme couponing habits? Besides cutting out coupons in the newspaper, consider utilizing online deals, loyalty rewards programs, and even bargain shopping at stores like thrift shops or outlet malls. Every little bit adds up when it comes to saving money.
18. Take Advantage of Free Activities
Just because your budget is tight doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Get creative and seek out free activities in your community, from visiting museums on discount days to attending outdoor concerts or movie screenings. Look for ways to spend quality time with friends and family without breaking the bank. This is always my favorite part when I’m following a guide to frugal living.
More Frugal Living Tips:
A guide to frugal living doesn’t have to mean sacrificing everything you enjoy; it’s simply about being smart with the money that you do have and making wise decisions. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of frugality and financial success.
What would you add to a guide to frugal living? I’d love to hear your suggestions below.