Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Do you find it difficult to save money? Well, frugal living might be for you if you want to change your financial situation. So let’s find out how to live frugally and change your financial future.
How to Live Frugally
We all want the best of everything. We want the newest and latest and coolest.
But what if I told you that living frugally could be really beneficial for your future?
Yes, it might come with less bling, but frugal living brings its own kind of excitement.
What Is Frugal Living?
Before we get into how to live frugally, let’s define what that actually means.
Frugal living is defined as spending your money wisely, spending less, working hard, and saving wisely.
It’s about being smart with the way you spend your money.
How to Live Frugally
There are many ways to go about living frugally, but here are some of the best and easiest frugal living tips to get you started.
1. Create a Budget
The first thing you need to do is create a budget.
It’s the easiest way to start saving money.
First, see how much you are spending on groceries each month.
Then figure out how much you spend on eating out and entertainment every month.
Next, take a look at your bills and find out how much you’re spending on those, and factor that into the equation as well.
You may need to track your spending for a few weeks or a month to have a true understanding of where your money is going.
You can’t cut back or start saving money until you understand this.
Once you do, then you can create a budget by eliminating all unnecessary expenses.
It will be up to you to determine what you can and can’t live without, but if you are trying to live frugally, then most things besides housing, clothing, and food will become unnecessary.
Instead of just spending money recklessly, a budget will help reduce your spending so it can be used for other things like savings or debt reduction.
2. Pay Off Your Debts
If you have debt it’s important that you start chipping away at it as quickly as possible.
Start paying off your debts one by one and tackle the one with the highest interest rate first.
This should be one of your first goals.
It doesn’t make sense to save money and earn 1 percent interest when you are paying 15 percent interest on credit cards.
Get your debts under control and paid off, then you can start saving all the extra money you have found in your new budget.
Do you have a Netflix account or go out to eat all the time?
If so, consider canceling these “entitlements” and put that money towards paying down debt.
3. Determine Your Needs And Your Wants
When you put your budget together, you want to make sure that you’re spending money on what’s important and what’s not.
Determine what your needs are and cut out the things that are just wants.
You will quickly find that most of the things you are spending money on are wants and not needs.
Yes, you need to pay your mortgage so you have a roof over your head, but no, you don’t need an expensive new outfit.
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4. Have a Savings Goal
When you’re living a frugal life, it’s important to have a savings goal.
Determine how much money you want to save each month and put that into your budget.
Take a look and see if there are certain times of the year when you tend to spend more or less.
Perhaps take advantage of those times and save more.
Once you have your debts paid off, then it is time to turbocharge your savings.
5. Buy Used
One of the easiest ways to live frugally is to buy used items whenever possible.
Instead of buying new things all the time, start buying used items on sites like Craigslist, eBay, ThredUp, or Poshmark and get something for less.
Thrift stores were made for people that want to live a frugal life.
With a little patience, you can find anything that you truly need. Sometimes it will be brand new and sometimes it will be used.
For example, when I moved into my house, I bought all of my appliances used. That includes a stove, refrigerator, and washing machine. The house came with a dryer.
While it might sound gross to buy use, all of them looked brand new as if they had never been used.
Three years later they are going strong.
The three cost me about $650 dollars total.
If I was buying new, I couldn’t even get one of them for that amount of money.
It’s true. None of them are fancy, but they look new and get the job done.
6. Buy in Bulk
Instead of buying small, individual items, start shopping for larger quantities.
A good example is pre-packaged meats in the grocery store.
For less than $10 you can get a package of 3 to 4 pounds of hamburger that will last you quite a while.
Save money and buy in bulk.
Don’t buy just anything in bulk. Make sure it is something you use all the time and will be using often in the future.
Buying in bulk typically saves you money, but do check to be sure.
7. Don’t Shop For Entertainment
One thing that all of us do is we take our money and spend it on entertainment without even realizing it.
This could be anything from buying magazines to going out to eat.
If you’re going to live frugally, you need to start looking at these items as what they really are: entertainment and not something you really need.
When it comes to entertainment, spend your money wisely.
Instead of going out to eat or have coffee with your friends invite them to your house.
Have everyone bring something to share the cost. You’ll still get to enjoy their company, but you won’t be spending a lot of money.
Go out and do something fun that everyone can enjoy that doesn’t cost money, for example, go on a hike.
You’ll find that it’s a much healthier way of spending your time
8. Avoid Late Fees By Paying Your Bills On Time
When you’re living frugally, it’s important to pay your bills on time.
Otherwise, you may end up paying late fees and extra interest.
Also, your credit will improve if you always pay your bills on time.
9. Leave the Credit Cards at Home
Credit cards are very easy for us to overspend on because the cards are always with us and it’s easy to spend money on them without realizing it.
Use cash when possible and leave your credit cards at home.
Unless you’re going out of town, you really don’t need one.
If you have to pay cash you become more aware of what you are spending.
Plastic can make it seem like you’re not spending real money.
10. Grow and Can Your Own Veggies
Grow a garden right in your own backyard and can the extra vegetables for the wintertime.
This is a great way to save money on food since fresh fruits and vegetables can be very expensive.
Frugal people garden. It is a lot of work, but you can save a great deal of money on your grocery bills.
11. Use Coupons And Rebates Wisely
There are lots of ways that you can save money when shopping at the grocery store, whether it’s with coupons or rebates.
The key is to not spend more than you would if you weren’t using the coupon or rebate.
To do this, plan out all of your meals for each week and buy only what you need for those meals and nothing more.
If you have a coupon for something, but you don’t really need it or it’s not on your grocery list, then don’t get it.
There is no point in spending money on things that are not necessary for your family.
If possible, combine your coupons with sales to double the savings.
Also, make sure you make a list before you go to the store. Stick to the list and don’t let goodies tempt you into buying them.
12. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
One of the biggest ways that you can save money every month is to plan out your meals ahead of time.
Yes, it is kind of a pain, but it will save you money, and it is what frugal people do.
Get creative with your meals or make sure you’re using your leftovers creatively so that you don’t go out and buy more food than what’s necessary.
13. Make Your Own Coffee
Drinking a coffee every morning can really add up over time.
There are many different ways that you could save on this, but the easiest way is just making your own.
Buy a coffee maker and some fresh ground coffee and start saving yourself some money.
For example, when you buy a $5 coffee every morning from the coffee shop down the block does that really seem worth it?
I mean we all get coffee on occasion but is getting one every single morning really necessary? The simple answer is no!
You could try to make your own coffee at home and save yourself $100 dollars a month right off the bat.
Is Frugal Living Worth It?
The answer is, it depends.
Depending on your age, life situation, and who you are, the answer could be yes, frugal living is most definitely worth it.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you may want to consider adopting the frugal lifestyle.
1. A Better Future
When you start saving now, it will set you up for a better future.
That seems pretty obvious and I’m sure that’s one reason most people save money but do we really treat it as such?
It’s so easy just to spend every dime we have.
When we start living frugally though, we automatically become more aware of our spending habits and where our money goes.
2. It Helps You Save Money
When you start living frugally, your biggest benefit is that it helps you save money.
No more spending on those random things that we all do but don’t really need.
You’ll start saving and putting that money towards things that are more important to you such as buying a house.
3. It Helps You Save For Retirement
When you start living frugally, it helps you save for retirement.
Whether your plan is to retire early and live the good life or work until you’re old and gray, either way having the ability to live off your savings will be important.
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To Sum it All Up:
Living the frugal life can be difficult at times especially in the beginning, but soon you will get into the groove and start to see the advantages when your debts are paid off and you’re saving hundreds of dollars a month.