There are a lot of ways to be frugal and practice frugal living in your everyday life. The short version is this – if you want to save money and live on less, you simply have to stop spending money. There are lots of things that we can be do to be frugal that can make for instant savings.
You can stop spending money on the everyday things you don’t actually need – little impulse buys and costly luxuries that are costing you thousands of dollars a year. Some of these casual expenses are so small, you may not even realize they’re draining your wallet every month. And while some tips will be one-time expenses or ongoing habits that do require a little effort, with practice they’ll become the norm.
For example, cutting out just one daily $5 coffee will save you more than $1,000 per year. If you replace your current car with a used car and cut down on gas consumption by half, you could save $2,500 per year. And if you cut down your eating out expenses to only once per week, that’s going to save about $250 per month – or $3,000 per year.
Of course, we can make a budget and stick with it. We can cut the credit cards up and stop maxing them out. We can pay more than the minimum payment on some of our bills. These are great money saving tips. But the frugal living methods I am talking about today are more basic and something most (if not all) of us can do everyday (or at least often) to live frugally – saving money by not spending it to begin with.
If you want to have a frugal life and save money, then you have to make up your mind to stop spending money. Until you do that, your life will not change. You control you! If you want to make a change, BE that change. Frugal living is something that all of us can do – we just have to want to.
It’s this simple – if you’re not willing to stop spending, then don’t complain about your money problems. Yes, that sounds harsh. But I say it because of this – I have heard all too many times from people who ask how to save money, how can they make it on less money, how do they do frugal living, what can they do, etc. – and as soon as I tell them, they start: Oh no, I can’t live like that, I can’t do without this or that, I can’t not go shopping, I can’t not eat out every night… I can’t, I can’t. But in reality, they are saying… I won’t, I won’t. So again, I say: If you’re not willing to stop spending, then don’t complain about your money problems.
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That said, for those that want help, here are some frugal living tips that will help you to save money by not spending money:
1. Save scrap paper for notes. If you’re always buying notepads and sticky notes for your home, consider saving scrap paper to write on. If you print coupons, you might have paper left after clipping them if they didn’t take up the entire page. Plus we all get junk mail. Cut it up and use the backs for jotting down notes.
2. Reuse plastic zipper bags. If you use a lot of plastic food zipper bags, you can wash and reuse them (if they didn’t have meat in them). Lots of times, I will open a bag of this or that and it doesn’t have a way to seal it, so I will put them entire bag into a plastic food zipper bag, just to be able to close it and seal it. Once the food is gone, the bag is fine and reusable. I just wash it out and let it dry, and use it again.
3. Save plastic food tubs. You can save a lot of money and practice frugal living by saving and using the plastic food tubs that items such as margarine, sour cream, or cottage cheese come in. These are great for storing leftovers in or putting stuff into the freezer – meat, pasta, rice, veggies, etc. Once they get worn out, you can toss them – and you haven’t lost a penny.
4. Pay your bills online. Frugal living wouldn’t be complete today without adding this frugal tip. Granted, there are still a few companies that haven’t caught up with today’s technology and made it possible for their customers to make payments online – but more and more companies are getting there. Not only do you save money on the cost of postage, but the payment is usually instant, and even when it’s not, it’s still much faster than the week it takes for the payment to arrive in the mail. If you’re not sure if a company you do business with accepts online payments, do a search online or call and ask.
5. Cook at home and eat at home. Yes, we all like the idea of eating out and having someone else cook for us, but that can be expensive, especially if you do it often. Save it for special occasions or every once in a while – not all the time.
6. Make do with what you have. Unless you truly need something, make do with what you’ve got. Nothing screams frugal living more than this! So many people think they just have to have this or that – yet they have no need for it, no use for it, and all too often spend money just to be spending it. Do you really need another pair of shoes? Do you really need another dress? Do you really need another car? Learn the difference between want and need.
7. Look for free samples online. Companies are always giving out free samples. Granted, a lot of the samples are trial size, but you can also find full size free samples. Getting free samples is good because obviously it’s a freebie, but it also allow you to try something before you buy it. So if it turns out you didn’t care for the product, you don’t lose any money because you never spent the money on it to begin with. Free samples are also cool for gift baskets.
8. Do it yourself. You can save loads of money if you simply do something yourself rather than pay someone to do it for you. Of course, this only works if you know how to DIY or have access to DIY tutorials, such as online. If you have something that needs done and you don’t have a clue as to how to accomplish whatever it is, simply do a search for DIY so and so.
9. Barter with family and friends. Trading things or services will save you money, along with whoever you barter with. If you need sewing done and are clueless, consider bartering with someone who sews for something you have or know how to do. If you know how to fix a leaky faucet, you could barter that service with someone who knows how to do something you need done.
Frugal living doesn’t just happen for most people – they have to want to live a frugal life. So many people today live such fast lives – buying, spending, going – and they wonder why they are in such debt, whey they never seem to have any money. If you want a frugal life, you’ve got to be willing to let go of the spending habits.
Do not buy anything that isn’t a necessity – this is the first step in allowing yourself to become more frugal. Learn how to say no when your friends who are buying things try to get you involved in their spending habits as well.