Save Money: 15 Frugal Ideas
“The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn. People earning a million dollars a year can have no money, and people earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.” ~Paul Clitheroe
I have to admit that I have always been one to try to save money even when it was not wise to do so. For me, there has always been a struggle between trying to save and not come across as being a cheapskate. Long before I ever got around to actually having a budget and sticking to it, my go-to solution was always don’t buy anything if you don’t have to. This was my default position. I didn’t know the difference between frugality (thriftiness) and being cheap. Understanding the difference is very important. Frugality focuses on getting the best price for what you need (considering durability and usefulness) Being cheap is all about just getting a cheap price regardless of need, quality or usefulness. It also does not necessarily take into consideration priorities.
Being Frugal Involves:
Knowing what your values are
Knowing what your priorities are
Knowing what your goals are
Knowing what your needs are
If we have not thought out the items on this list, then we will not really know why we are spending or saving. We will not be able to make conscientious decisions about buying or not buying. If we focus too much on being cheap (not buying or spending anything), we may be shooting ourselves in the foot, so to speak. Sometimes it is important to spend money when it is spent on things of lasting value such as our health, our family. Sometimes we need to spend a little more in order to acquire an item of superior quality that will not break or wear out too soon. It is important to know why we buy what we buy and also why we choose not to buy or spend.
While we absolutely need to spend money on things like food, clothing, transportation, housing, heating, there are also many ways we can save. There are also things we spend money on that has perhaps become more of a habit or perceived need rather than an actual need. By looking long term at our goals – where we want to be and what we want to be able to do in the future (and with whom) – it becomes easier to see what needs to go (our spending habits) and what needs to be changed.
As a reformed cheapskate and now a progressive frugalist I wanted to put together a list of some frugal ideas to help you should you choose to go this path. Some of these you may already be doing. Some others you might not be ready to try just yet. Some you may have heard of and know you should be doing. At any rate, I just wanted to share this with you in hopes that they will inspire and help you.
“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy “. ~ Eric Hoffer
Try Used Cars
Buy and drive used cars (5-years-old) as long as you can. And always pay cash to purchase them. Save up to buy cars.
Become a Fixer-upper
Do your own maintenance on the car (tire changes, oil change and whatever you are able to do). If you can learn to fix anything, do this before calling the garage.
Become a Minimalist
Embrace minimalism. Become cognizant of what you bring into your home in terms of new items. Items brought into the home will require cleaning, dusting, storage, and maintenance – more of your time and more stress.
Save Your Savings
Save the money not spent on unnecessary items and put it towards investing or paying off any debt.
Plan Your Errands
Be vigilant about using up gas. When you go out anywhere plan your itinerary and try to do all the errand in one trip. This will save you both time and money.
Skip the Restaurants
Stop going to restaurants(most of the time) and make meals at home. Stop giving your hard-earned money to big corporations. You can meal plan, do batch cooking, community cooking, shared meals. There are all kinds of ways to make home cooking fun and affordable.
Try Cheaper Grocery Stores
Try shopping at lower end grocery stores. you will be surprised at how much money you can save here. I did this and was amazed. And, while we are on the subject of food, try to avoid prepackaged foods. Stores sell vegetable mixes already precut to save you time for a higher cost. You can do this at home.
Learn From Youtube
Use Youtube! Whatever you need to learn you can find on youtube. Before calling the experts to fix or replace what needs fixing or replacing, try the DYI approach first.
Drink water. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but surprisingly many people do not choose this option. Drinking water everywhere can save you a ton of money in addition to being better for your health than sweetened drinks.
Reduce and Reuse
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Whatever can be used a second, third or many times- uses these. Use glass jars for everything – storing food, carrying smoothies, mixing salad dressing – whatever, Cut up old shirts to use as rags. Reuse the freezer bags again and again. By doing this you will save the money you would have spent buying new ones.
No More Cable
Cut the cable! Most of the channels on the cable you probably won’t even watch anyway, and you are probably not getting your money’s worth. You can stop television altogether and do other things or you can get cheap subscriptions such as Netflix. Also, the local library probably has free or cheaper options.
Thrift shop for clothes or go to consignment shops. And on this subject, let’s not forget hand-me-downs (it’s not just for kids). Consider also the off-season sales to do some of your clothes shopping. A minimalist might say that having a set number of similar or coordinating outfits of good quality is better than a whole closet of mismatched outfits. Whatever works for you. But being conscientious about clothing can save you a lot of money.
Trash the Beauty Clutter
Reduce the clutter of hygiene products. You know what I am talking about – all those body gels, shampoos, conditioners, makeup removers, etc. etc. Just keep a few and use only them. Actually, I like to use coconut oil for a lot of hygiene purposes because it is very versatile.
So, these are a few ideas that I have to share with you. I personally love to learn about how to save money and I hope to share more ideas with you in some future posts.
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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
- February 24, 2020