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If your goal is to save more money, be it for your emergency fund, a family vacation, a down payment on your first home. Then these quick frugal living tips are for you.
Many people cringe or laugh when they hear the word “frugal”. Thinking it’s about being miserable and cheap. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Frugality is not about dropping every possible purchase you can in order to save as much money as possible.
Rather, frugal living is about avoiding wasteful and extravagant spending so you can give your hard-earned money an assignment that’s purposeful and intentional.
So what does it mean to be frugal living? Well, it means prioritizing what’s most important to you and cutting back on those things that aren’t.
Now I already know what you're thinking.. And sure, cutting back and not buying your favorite iced coffee, mocha latte thing, or going out to eat occasionally will help save money, but doing those things alone will not make a big impact on your finances.
So before you question whether or not this lifestyle change is worth it, I want to remind you that this is not meant to be a sprint, but a marathon. Meaning it's going to take more work and effort on your part to adjust your habits and step outside of your comfort zone.
Now thankfully there are a ton of creative ways to live frugally, and in this conversation, I plan to show you how to incorporate more frugality into your life so you can be saving money at a rate that actually moves the needle.
So if you're ready to beef up your emergency fund, pay off debt or save for those things you dream about then sit tight, lean in, and let's begin. I decided to start this conversation with food and groceries because I believe this will be the most relatable regardless of your financial goals, age, habits, or lifestyle.
Food and groceries was the first category in our lives that I made significant changes to in order to save more, pay off our debt, and regain control of my finances. So what did I do, and what can you do to save money in this area?
Number one is pack a lunch! Let's do some quick math to illustrate this. On average, if you spend $10 a day buying yourself lunch five days a week, then you will spend on average $2,600 a year. Now, imagine if you bought yourself a $10 lunch every single day for a year. That's a lot of moolah!
That would average out to be about $3,650 a year. Now I don't know about you, but I'd much rather save as much of this as I possibly can by simply packing my lunch every day instead. Now, packing your lunch at home would require extra time and planning ahead but that's nothing in comparison to how much money you would be wasting if you ate out every day for lunch.
Number two is recreate your favorite meals at home. If you spend a huge chunk of your money on eating out every week then I can only imagine how much money you spend in one year's time.
See, if you're looking to save more then you should strongly consider recreating your favorite meals at home rather than eating out. Not only will this save you a ton of money but to be honest it's a bit more fun. My wife and I often bet on how well we can recreate something and when we do it successfully it feels good and if we happen to fall short, well it still turns out to be pretty good.
Number three is make a shopping list and stick to it. A straightforward and easy way to save is to only shop when you have a list.
It's so easy to get sidetracked, especially in the grocery store, which can lead to costly and unnecessary purchases. Now although creating a shopping list can help significantly, you still have to shop smart. So remember to check prices and use coupons if that's your thing.
Number four is reduce food waste. Believe it or not, Americans discard more food than any other country, at nearly 40 million tons a year.
And globally, we waste about 14 billion tons of food every year. That's a lot of waste, both in terms of food and financially! Now if you take a look at how much food you waste, it might surprise you. So a simple way to cut back on this and save money is by designating a zero-waste week.
Or do what my family does and make every week a zero-waste week. All this means is to consume everything you cook and buy before you go out and grocery shop for more. And as a bonus tip, consider going reusable whenever you can. This will also help you cut back on your waste but it will also save you a ton of money over time.
Now when it comes to housing and utilities this is another one of those areas that can make a significant difference in your finances and how much you're able to save.
So here are a few things that my family have or are currently doing as well as a few ideas that you can try in your life.
Number one is downside and pay less in rent or mortgage per month.
A great rule of thumb when it comes to housing and utilities and making sure your monthly payment is no more than 1/4 of your take-home pay. If it is, then you might be paying too much which will result in you not being able to reach your other financial goals because too much of your monthly income is going into housing expenses.
Number two is practice preventive maintenance
Now, this is great especially if you own a home or have a car. See preventive maintenance is all about preventing normal wear and tear from getting worse and becoming much better problems that will in turn cost you much more to fix.
Think about leaks, cracks, flooring, gutters, oil changes, brakes, transmission fluid, tires, and any other areas that may require regular checks and maintenance. If you do this in the short term it will save you a ton over the long term.
Number three is learn ways to save energy.
So this may include swapping out your light bulbs for energy-saving bulbs or use window light instead of practical lights altogether. You can also open a window or two instead of turning on your AC in the summer. Or consider unplugging small appliances and electronics whenever you're not using them.
When I was in the midst of paying off our debt, it required me to make some changes to how I approached entertainment for myself and my son.
And although I was aggressively attacking my debt with every extra penny I had, I didn't want to forget about doing things that we enjoyed. So I had to get creative and to be honest, those moments were extremely fun. Here are a few things you can try.
Number one is find deals on Groupon. If you're not familiar with Groupon, get familiar!
I was all over it back when I was paying off my debt. And we actually found some pretty cool activities to do for low price that didn't disrupt my debt pay-off goals. I am still using Groupon for deals on everyday things, such as hair cuts and hair styling. By using Groupon, my son got a $9 haircut and not the normal $30. Plus, I got a balayage and paid it with Groupon voucher for $29. Big savings there and all that money that I saved, stayed in my pocket!
Number two is get out and explore your neighborhood.
Too often we think that entertainment must include traveling somewhere and spending money. But it doesn't have to be that way.
If you explore your neighborhood you might stumble across a free or low-cost event and activity that interests you. For example, my wife and I go to farmers' markets, car shows, vegan festivals, live music events, and the like. We find these events to be entertaining without feeling pressured to spend money we don't want to spend.
Number three is get active Don't shy away from active activities as a form of entertainment.
Such as hiking, running, playing a sport such as tennis, or volleyball, or basketball Rock climbing even. These are definitely acceptable forms of entertainment that don't cost much if anything at all. As a matter of fact, my family loves to be active so we turn towards this as our key source of our entertainment as well.
Number four is get creative at home
Remember you don't have to leave the house in order to find something fun to do. Take my son and I playing Giant Jenga in the middle of our living room for example. Or you can have a movie night, a game night—if you're into board games. Do something really different and get all dressed up and have a dinner date in your own dining room.
Whatever you decide to do, just keep in mind that you don't have to spend a lot or no money at all to entertain yourself. Now, this is one of those areas that we don't typically think about whenever we talk about saving money.
But it's just as important as cutting your grocery bill in half, saving on utilities, and getting creative with entertainment. Here are some key things you should focus on Number one is pay off debt. A really simple way to start saving more money every month is to cut back on the number of payments you have to make every month. It's said that your number one wealth-building tool is your income
And if the majority of it is leaving your hands to pay monthly debt payments then you are missing a valuable opportunity to use that money instead to move you closer to your other financial goals.
So if you have debt, get aggressive and start paying more than the minimum. In addition to this, you have to stop borrowing money as well. Number two is build an emergency fund If you have debt, start with $1000.
Above and beyond that it's best to have 3-6 months of expenses saved. But how does this save you more money in the long run? Well, emergencies are going to happen, your car can break down, your furnace or water heater might go out at home, or you might have a medical emergency and your insurance doesn't cover the entire bill.
If this happens what are you going to do? Most people turn towards debt—credit cards or loans— to help cover these emergencies and others like them. Doing this is will only add debt and more payments you have to make later. Thus preventing you from saving
But when you have an emergency fund, it means you can cover these expenses without debt therefore your income can continue to build your life and your future instead of going towards paying someone else. Number three is automate your savings.
Pay yourself first and automate it I believe this is one of the easiest and best frugal living tips to help you quickly build your savings without feeling tempted to spend that money elsewhere. Now it doesn't matter how much you're able to set aside each month
$10, $20, $100, $1000. It doesn't matter! What does is the consistent behavior of doing so. Which is why automating it is the best way to go. Number four is get a side hustle
Often when we think about saving more money we only ever associate that with cutting expenses. However, another way to increase your monthly savings is to increase your monthly income. So ask yourself how can I make an extra $100, $500, $1000, or more this month?
Do you have a service you can offer others or a talent? Maybe it's baking, proofreading, cutting grass, plowing snow, editing YouTube videos, or taking pictures at weddings. See if you have something of value to offer then there is someone who could use your service and help. So don't shy away from starting your business or hustling your side hustle.
Now, there is a time and a place where selling the clutter you no longer need serves as a good option. But it's important to realize that you're not going to make back what you originally invested.
However, this is an option to help you make a few extra dollars that you can save or put towards debt number two is cut memberships and subscriptions. Get rid of anything that you pay a monthly fee for that you're not consistently using or could go without. This is an easy way to cut unnecessary spending and save money over time.
Number three is shop around and compare prices. When shopping for anything, such as cars, appliances, insurance policies, electronics it's important that you shop around and compare prices. Especially if you're preparing to spend a lot of money upfront or over time like would with insurance. So, you want to make sure that you're getting the best possible price you can.
Number four is DIY until the cows come home. One of the best money-saving tips, that will help save you more money is learning how to do certain things yourself. Now, this can be as simple as cutting your own hair or as labor-intensive as car maintenance or full-on plumbing issues
Now if you don't have the know-how to do these things then please be smart and hire a professional. But if you do, then it can save you thousands!
Comment below and let me know which section of this article helped you the most.
Keep growing, keep learning and always stay true to you!
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