People often think that frugal living means starving yourself, not showering and wearing the same clothes everyday, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Although some frugal people do these certain things, they’re most likely miserable.
I practice frugal living everyday and I believe that I have a great lifestyle, without having to sacrifice my life just to save a few dollars.
Frugal living doesn’t mean putting your life on hold and not spending any money at all, it just means making smarter decisions with how you live your life and how you spend your money.
BRING YOUR LUNCH TO WORK
Buying your lunch at work every single day will eat into your weekly budget. Being conservative, if you spend $10 a day on buying lunch for a 48 week working year, you would of spent $2400 on lunch alone. I personally can’t remember the last time that I didn’t pack my own lunch for work. This has saved me a fortune. Simply planning the night before what you’re going to bring for lunch eliminates the chance of buying your lunch.
BREW YOUR COFFEE
I know that it doesn’t sound like much to spend $4 a day on coffee, but every dollar adds up. With the same math used in the prior example, buying a daily coffee will cost you $960 a year in buying coffees. I buy Coles brand coffee mix for $4 a jar and get about 50 home made coffees out of this. This brings me up to a small total of $20 per year on coffee instead of $960
I’m not saying buy things by the box or carton, but buying in bulk in terms of kg or units. I eat brown rice daily and I used to buy the pre packeted 125g cups. These cups only cost $1.25 each. But when I buy a 1kg bag and make the rice myself, it only costs me $2.50 for 1kg. To get the same amount of rice using the pre made cups, it would cost me $10 for the same amount. I use this simple method with literally everything I buy from the supermarket, saving myself at least $100 each time I do grocery shopping.
COOK YOUR MEALS
Going out for meals at restaurants seem to cost an absolute bomb in this current day and age. At a standard restaurant, to get a steak, chips and salad, expect to pay about $35. This would be at a run of the mill venue and the portion would be small. For the same meal made at home, it would probably cost you $10 and you can make the portions as large as you want and the way your taste buds desire. Eating normal meals during the week and treating yourself to a meal life this once or twice a week at home instead of fine dining at a restaurant has saved me thousands of dollars.
TIME YOUR SHOWERS
I remember when I was a teenager, living at home with mum and dad and having burning 30 minute showers. I didn’t think there was any problem with this until I got older and realised how much water and gas are required to run this shower period daily. Getting in and out of the shower as quickly as possible not only keeps your water bill down, but it also keeps your gas bill down too. Gas is required to heat your hot water so its not only your water bill that suffers. I also try to shower every second day where possible. If I have a lazy day or a really clean day, ill just wash my face at night. Summer and sweaty days at work obviously require showering daily.
SET SPENDING LIMITS
I have limits on my spending on every aspect of my daily spending and long term spending. If I exceed these limits, its just tough luck. If I am well and truly constantly staying under these limits, I adapt and lower my weekly limit, ensuring I am saving as much as possible.
SHOP AT DEPARTMENT STORES
Buying designer clothes and keeping up with the trends is stupid. If you associate with people who judge you on what you’re wearing they’re not people you should associate with. The only time I will spend a little extra is on things like a suit where I will keep this long term and generally only wear them at fancy functions and occasions. I do basically all my shopping at stores like K-mart. Most of my general t-shirts, jackets and hoodies come from stores like these and I get them cheap. My everyday and weekend t-shirts cost me well under $10 and I regularly get compliments on how I am dressed.
DOWNSIZE ON LIVING
If you live with just you and your partner or on your own, is it really necessary to live in a 4 bedroom home with 3 living areas, 3 bathrooms and a large yard? Not only does it cost more money to maintain these homes, it costs more money to run them.
I have a meal plan that I follow weekly and using the tip with the rice I taught you earlier, I eat as cheaply as possible but with maximum flavour, costing much less than what the average person spends at the shops. I do the groceries once a week and only buy what I need. Going to the shops 3-4 times a week leads to buying items that you simply don’t need, blowing your budget out of the water. Have a grocery list, have a meal plan and stick to them for a week. I buy my food on a Sunday morning, meal prep on a Sunday afternoon and I never run out of food or have to go back to the shops. This saves plenty of time and most importantly money.
TURN OFF THE HEATER
If it wasn’t for my partner, I wouldn’t even have heating in my house. When she argues that it is cold, I say put more layers on. If you’re cold, rug up. Simple. Wear socks, put on some track suit pants, wear a warm thick jumper. If you’re still cold, put on a beanie or warmer clothes. Still cold? Get a blanket. Same applies to sleeping. Rug up and get some extra layers in the bed.
WASH YOUR CLOTHES IN COLD WATER
As I explained earlier, to create hot water, you’re using gas. Washing your clothes in cold water will give you the same results as washing with warm water. Also, wash with a lower water level and wash in bulk, avoiding small washing loads and lots of them.
DRY YOUR CLOTHES ON CLOTHESLINES
Forget about using a clothes dryer. They draw lots of power and waste electricity. Plan when you’re going to wash so that your clothes are dry for when you need them.
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS AND POWER
I am not saying live in total darkness and quiet, I am saying turn off lights and power when they’re not needed. If you leave a room, turn off the light or television. There is no point in leaving these costly items running constantly.
COOK IN BULK
Cooking in bulk not only saves you time but also lots of money. I eat rice and pasta daily with almost every meal. Instead of always cooking them each meal. I cook a weeks worth all at once so I am not constantly using the microwave, hot plate and oven.
BUY ECONOMICAL CARS
My girlfriend drives a 2 door hatchback and I have a company car with free fuel. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have this situation, but driving an economical car will save you a fortune. Drive something cheap to run that gets lots of km’s per tank, cheap to service and fix up if required. Also, back to my company car situation. I knew that my boss’ wouldn’t give me a hefty pay rise so I took an alternative route. Instead of asking for a big weekly pay rise, I asked if I could start taking my work car home instead. Guess what? It worked and I am saving a fortune. I am now saving about $260 after tax money extra a week with a company car. Not bad for what seemed like a cheap pay rise to my boss.
GET A LIBRARY CARD
If you love reading like I do, you’ll workout buying books weekly adds up. I found a community library that lets members rent books for free. This gives me my reading fix and its free!
Get some hobbies that a free. I enjoy walking, running and getting out in nature. I also enjoy DIY projects. Not only are they fun, but they’re generally cheap or free. Practicing having fun with free hobbies saves you a fortune and become fun!
RENT INSTEAD OF BUYING
The difference in weekly rent compared to a weekly mortgage is ridiculous. The landlord picks up most of the expensive costs too. I am currently writing an article on why I rent which will explain this in detail.
Cable television costs way too much money. My parents have 3 foxtel points at their home and have all the channels. My dad generally only watches the sports channels and my mum only a handful of channels. Most of the time they’re watching free to air television too. What a total waste of money. I opt more towards Netflix for $10 a month so I can pick shows I want to watch for a fraction of the price.
SELL YOUR CLUTTER
The less you own the better. Not only will it make you money selling these items, but in the future you will be more wary of buying potential clutter.
DITCH EXPENSIVE HABITS
My dad has a big 3 of pointless expensive habits. There are gambling, drinking alcohol and smoking. I would estimate that he spends in total around $300 a week on just these 3 habits alone. I don’t even spend $300 a week to live my lifestyle. Sit down, work out what expensive habits you have and cancel them from your lifestyle. If you don’t need the expensive habit to breath or live or its bad for your health and budget, get rid of it. Period.
CHOP UP YOUR CREDIT CARD
I have never owned a credit card and never will. If you can’t afford to pay for something upfront you don’t deserve it. Why pay for something you can’t afford on credit, that comes with expensive repayments. Some people will argue that the rewards points and bonus’ are great. Let’s get serious though. How many rich and wealthy people do you know that use credit cards for rewards points only? They use them to save money of things such as flights. Not to win a kettle or get a pointless prize.
If you want to travel, try travelling within your home state on a budget. If you want to travel interstate, use a budget airline and scope the best sales and deals for accommodation. Same applies to international holidays. You don’t need to fly business class or first class or stay at a 5 star resort. I don’t advise on going on regular international holidays. They cost a fortune. Keep them for real special occasions like big anniversaries or if you havn’t been on one for several years.
As you can see, I still live a lifestyle that is not a whole lot different to someone who spends double or triple or even scarier much more than what I do a week.
Making smarter decisions in life with your spending without sacrificing your lifestyle will save you a fortune and get your closer to your financial goals.
Try adopting some of these tricks and make them apart of your life and you will be shocked at how much money you can save!