When people want to start a frugal living lifestyle, they quickly get very overwhelmed. There are so many different ways to save money and they jump in trying to save in complicated ways in every area of life. Starting with these simple rules will go a long way to jump-start your frugal living lifestyle.
While living frugally in every area of life may be the ultimate goal, you’ve got to start somewhere and getting started is the most important thing.
The frugal living ideas here are all about mindset. They’re things that you can apply to many different areas of life, and not just one spot. Once you get started, then you will be able to apply them to all the different areas of life.
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What is Frugal Living?
Frugal Living is a mindset — it’s believing that you can live your life while spending less and saving more. It’s working at cutting back on the things that are less important so you can focus on the things that are the most important.
Frugal living is not about being cheap – you won’t ever see me telling you to skimp on your waiter’s tip, stealing condiments so you won’t have to buy them at home, or spending an hour sorting coupons so you can save $1.50.
I want you to find tips that will be worth your time.
How to Get Started with Frugal Living
The first thing you have to do is make the decision. Decide that you want to live a frugal life and why. It has to be a decision with a commitment behind it.
You can make the decision once, but then have to put it into practice. And, anything new takes time to fully implement. Be prepared to make some mistakes, but get right back to it.
Keep in mind that anything new is going to take a little time to adjust to. It’s okay if you don’t have it all figured out to start with — just get started
Frugal Living Ideas
These frugal living philosophies will save you hundreds of dollars when you have them implemented.
Remember, don’t try to do everything at once, but get your expenses in one area cut back, then add another.
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1. You Can Save Money on Everything
The biggest way to make an impact on your lifestyle is to figure out how to save money on everything that you buy. You can apply this to:
- Grocery Shopping
- Interest Rates
- Personal Care
Sometimes it’s as simple as saving $.50/lb. on chicken but when you start saving $.50 on everything that you buy, it really adds up.
As you add in more and more areas that you cut back, imagine how much you could save. You could cut your grocery bill in half, reduce your mortgage by $100.00, and get all your clothing used.
You would see hundreds of dollars saved every month that you could apply towards debt, savings, or even a vacation.
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2. Learn to Wait
With credit cards, Amazon shopping, and nice paychecks, many of us have learned that we can have nearly anything we want and we can get it now. But, putting off that purchase gives you the opportunity to shop around, find discounts or sales, and decide whether you actually need it.
3. Learn to Go Without
This one is pretty hard for us Americans. Anybody who shops at Target and Costco knows what it’s like to go in for 5 things and come out with 20 or more. Learn to tell yourself, “No!” and you’ll be taking a big leap toward saving a lot of money.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I NEED to buy this?
- Could I use something else?
- Can I wait for a better price?
- Can I borrow this from a friend or family member?
4. Say “No!” to Convenience
Many times, convenience is costing us a lot of money. It’s costing us extra at the grocery store where we’re buying food already prepared for us. It’s costing us at restaurants because we don’t want to take the time to plan and cook. It’s costing us at the gas station because we go to one closer instead of shopping around.
Figure out how to slow down enough that you have time to give up a life of convenience for a life of saving money.
5. Make Everything Last Longer
Sometimes you don’t realize that you can use half as much and still get the same benefit. See if you can make everything last longer. Here are some ideas to start with:
- Shampoo, Shower Gel, Toothpaste
6. Stop Being Wasteful
Waste is a huge problem. If you think about it … when you throw away or even give away things that you’ve spent good money on, you’re basically throwing that money out.
You wouldn’t take your cash and just throw it in the trash, so don’t do that with the things you’ve spent that cash on.
How can you eliminate waste?
- Eat Your Leftovers – even if you have to make them into something else. Check out this article about How to Use Leftovers to Stretch Your Dollars.
- Manage Your Pantry – It’s said that Americans waste 40% of their food. That’s a lot of money. Review your fridge every 2-3 days and use up things that might go to waste. See How to Have a Pantry Challenge in order to use up what you already have.
- Use it Up – Many shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, and laundry soap containers are thrown out before every last drop is gone. For some reason, it’s a thrill to start on a new bottle. Don’t do it though, until you’ve all those products are completely empty.
7. Make Your Own
Learning to make your own is one of the things that people dread the most. They’re willing to cut back in many areas, but our time is precious, and none of us seem to have enough of it. The thought of giving more of our time away to make something from scratch is not very glamorous.
You can start with baby steps, though. These ideas won’t take much time … you can even do them while you’re watching Netflix. You will see the difference they make in your bottom line, though.
Here are simple things you can make at home:
- Your lunch – put leftovers, a sandwich, a bagel, or even a can of soup are fast to throw in a lunchbox and will save you a couple of thousand dollars over the year.
- Coffee – set up your coffee maker the night before or get a Keurig. Either way, with a travel mug, you’ll be set to go and you’ll save the time from running to Starbucks, too.
- Snack Packs – you can portion out an entire bag of chips, nuts, jerky, or cookies in about 5 minutes and you’ll save a lot over buying them in little 1 oz. bags.
- Convenience Foods – paying for someone else to chop your food is expensive. When you buy already chopped vegetables, fruit, and meat, you’re paying someone’s wages. Do it yourself and you’ll pay a lot less.
8. Make Frugal Living a Priority
No one will be successful at a frugal living lifestyle without a little bit of determination. It really takes someone who will make it a priority and be willing to go against the grain.
Marketers are always pushing us to spend more and there are constant temptations. Be aware when those urges creep up or smack you right in the face. Remember your priorities and you’ll be well on your way to a life that is frugal and rich.