Frugal Living – How to Live Better for Less
It is easy to say that you want to save money but it can be much harder to actually do it. Frugal living can reduce monthly spending and aid a savings plan, but how do you actually start to do it? There are many ways to cut cost and live frugally, and not all will work for everybody, but here are a few suggestions to get you started on your goal.
Avoid Buying Unnecessary Items
This sounds like an obvious suggestion but it is actually quite hard for most people to do. The majority of purchases for the average consumer are impulse purchases of things they see and think they want. However, those who are living frugally cannot do this. Always be sure to take a shopping list when you go to the store, and stick to that list. Don’t just wander the store filling your cart.
Buy Used Instead of New
If you see something that you just have to have, try to avoid buying it new. First look around, talk to friends and family, and see if anybody has a used one you can buy instead.
Eat out Less – Cook at Home
Going out to eat is one of the quickest ways to inadvertently blow your budget. Restaurants are expensive, and you can save money by cooking the same food at home. Try brown bagging your lunch so you don’t have to rush to a fast food place during lunch hour.
Buy a Deep Freezer
While a deep freezer will take a large initial investment, if you have the room for one, they can let you save money in the long run. By purchasing food in bulk and on sale you can have a diverse supply of food on hand, and for less than the cost of buying in small amounts as you need it. In addition, you can save the food from being wasted. Recent study shows that only in United States 40 percent of food goes to waste.
Make Use of Garden
If your climate and space will support it, a garden will allow you to grow large quantities of fresh and healthy vegetables, for far less than they would cost at the store. In addition to growing vegetables, you can also plant trees and save money by saving energy. According to a research by US Forest Service, if you are living in Southwest region, you can save up to 23% a year on energy bills by planting just three 25-foot tall trees around your home.
Don’t Use Credit Cards
There are some advantages and disadvantages of credit cards. Credit cards can be convenient but they do not go well with frugal living. The high interest rates and ease of purchase make it too easy to blow your budget without realizing, and to build up debt. Don’t use credit cards unless you are trying to improve your credit score.
Use the Library
As the old jingle goes, “Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card”. Instead of buying new books, or renting movies check out the local library. Most libraries have a huge selection of books, magazines and DVDs available to borrow, and if there is anything you want that they don’t have, they will most likely be able to get it from another library in just a few days.
In addition to using the library, try to find other free or cheap entertainment opportunities. Many communities will have free concerts, or plays, especially during the summer season, and the local school sports teams often have free or cheap games.
Try getting rid of cable. Most cable packages cost upwards of $50 and that is not very compatible with frugal living. If you still have internet, or have a free WiFi location in your area you can usually still keep up with your shows online.
This may be one of the hardest suggestions on this list, but it may save you the most. Doctors, hospitals, and medicine will cost you way more than eating healthy, exercising, and preventive treatment ever will.
Make Changes Gradually
The most important thing for those who are new to frugal living is don’t try everything at once. Make a few changes to your routine, and try them out. Figure out if you can take the changes you’ve made before you try anything new. Making a few changes gradually will allow you to save money without quickly becoming burned out.