Has the past year and a half left you struggling to make ends meet?
We’re recovering from a global pandemic, the economy has shifted, many people lost their jobs, and spending so much time at home has likely resulted in a mild online shopping addiction.
If this strikes a familiar chord, you’re definitely not alone – we have all been affected in one way or another.
So, before your good nature takes a nose dive, and working your way back becomes a personal pandemic, it’s time to take back control of your life and finances.
One way to do this is by living frugally; it’s about being resourceful and clever.
This guide promises smart tips to live more frugally now and salvage the remainder of 2021.
It’s about finding opportunities to save money in a way that doesn’t totally impede you from living your everyday life. You can still enjoy your life while being savvy about how you spend your money. It’s possible – and the best way to improve your financial situation.
This post will ask and answer some tough questions about frugal living before providing you with some practical life-changing tips to live more frugally right now, not later.
Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.
Why Live More Frugally?
The biggest benefit to living frugally is the ability to build financial freedom. Frugal living allows you to achieve your financial goals faster. By choosing to spend less money on unimportant things, you’ll have more money to put towards the things that really matter to you. And you get to decide what matters most and where to put your money. Money is simply energy and where you spend your money is where you direct your energy. This gives you back control of your life. A good reason to apply these tips to live more frugally, right?
How Much is Frugal Living Going to Hurt?
Frugal living doesn’t have to hurt. It can actually be enjoyable when done right. You discover the joy of living with less stress. You don’t have to go without things. Rather, it requires you to evaluate where your priorities lie. You can still spend money on the things that bring you happiness. But then you’ll just spend less on things that are unnecessary or unimportant to you. So, when done right, frugal living is simply about being sensible and mindful about how you spend your money. The tips to live more frugally that I share below will show you how to do this without taking things to the extreme.
Can You Even Save Money When You Don’t Have Expendable Income?
Of course, you can! It just takes some effort. Most people don’t track their spending habits or stick to a budget. This means that even though you don’t think you have an expendable income, you probably do. As you become more aware of your spending habits, you’ll notice where you can cut back or minimize your expenses and actually save money. This is what frugal living is all about. Creating awareness around your spending habits and determining how you can change these habits in order to save money.
I share more about ways to manage and save your money when things are tight and you can’t make ends meet or don’t know where your next check is coming from here.
10 Tips to Live More Frugally
Let’s dive right into it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about money or the lack thereof, then it’s time to implement these 10 tips to live more frugally right now.
Keep a Log to Track Your Spending
The key to frugal living is setting a budget, but you can’t stick to a budget if you don’t track your spending. Use a budget planner or just a regular notebook to create and track your budget each month.
Track the following:
- Your income
- Fixed expenses
- Unexpected expenses
- Amount to be put in savings
- The expected amount to be leftover
Spend at least a few months tracking these numbers. Once you have a better idea of your finances, you’ll be able to determine what can and should change. This is the first step to take and it will help you to implement the other tips to live more frugally that I share next.
Stick to Your Grocery List
It can be so tempting to buy things you don’t need while at the grocery store. But the best way to adhere to your budget is to create a list of items you actually need before going to the grocery store. It’s also a good idea to only go grocery shopping after you’ve eaten. Because if you walk through those aisles with an empty stomach, you’ll end up splurging on items you don’t need. So, make a list, eat something and then stick to the list once you get there. Frugal living means prioritizing. Buy food that you need for the meals you’ve planned for the week. This will help you eat healthier as well.
Eat at Home
One of my best tips for living more frugally is to eat at home. Takeout and dining at restaurants can quickly add up to a big chunk of money. Save money by consciously choosing to cook meals and eat at home. You can be even more frugal by planning your meals in advance so that you only purchase products that you need and will be using for the meals you’re cooking. Or, cook your meals in bulk and freeze the extra to enjoy later on in the month. If you’re not sure what to cook, check your recipe collection or scour the internet for blog posts with interesting recipes.
No Waste Promise
Do you know how much food and other perishable goods get wasted each day?
Households in the US throw out about 150 000 tons of food daily.
That’s a lot of unnecessary waste. And a lot of your spent money simply ending up in the trash.
Purchasing things in excess that are only going to be tossed once it reaches its expiration, is a big waste of money.
It can be avoided by becoming more aware and mindful of what you purchase (always check expiration dates to give you the longest time to consume an item) and what you actually use.
Try implementing a zero-waste week once per month to live more frugally. During this week you must consume everything you buy and cook during that week. You can do this by eating any leftovers, using supplies you already have before the expiration date, and planning your meals for the week in advance.
Declutter & Tidy Your Home
Regularly take the time to declutter and tidy your home. You can do it one room at a time so that it doesn’t take up too much of your time. The goal of this activity is to be more conscious of what items you bring into your home. This also serves to prevent you from reverting back to mindless spending habits again; which can happen quite easily if you’re not careful. As you declutter and tidy up, you’ll probably also discover unused items that you can sell online to make some more money.
Be Smart about Home Expenses
Frugal living begins at home and there are many ways for you to save money, simply by being clever about home expenses. Apply these tips to live more frugally at home:
- Be organized and pay all your utility bills on time to avoid those late fees.
- Switch your utility providers every few years to ensure that you’re getting the best rates and deals available.
- Reduce the number of household products you use.
- DIY your home products and projects whenever possible.
- Keep and re-use bags from retailers to avoid being charged fees for these bags each time you shop.
- When you do need to purchase something, think Dollar Tree – everything is a dollar and a dollar can go a long way when it comes to items you use at home.
- Drink water.
Cut Utility, Cable & Internet Expenses
One of my top tips to live more frugally is to see where you can cut back on, reduce or completely eliminate expenses. You can save money on utilities simply by learning how to save energy. For example, using LED lights throughout your home, turning off unused electronics, or sun drying laundry instead of using a dryer.
Similarly, you can save monthly by canceling your cable subscription. Rather opt for Amazon Prime which gives you access to all the movies and shows you could watch on cable.
Finally, look for low-cost or even free internet options which are available to people in the US.
Increase Your Savings
The most important thing you can do is build up an emergency savings fund. Emergencies can happen at any time and can be devastating financially if you aren’t prepared. This is one of the top reasons to live more frugally – so that you can save money for emergencies.
But how exactly do you go about doing this?
One idea is to automate your savings. Pay money into your savings first after receiving your income each week or month. You can set it so that a certain amount is automatically paid into your savings account each month. It doesn’t need to be a big amount to make a difference as it will build up over time. And as your financial situation improves, you can increase the amount you save.
Avoid Credit Card Debt
Debt can drain your limited resources quickly. Avoid racking up debt as much as possible by only purchasing what you can afford to buy instead of buying things on credit. Paying with cash will make you think twice before buying. If this is unavoidable, then use a credit card instead of your savings for necessary purchases. Opt for a credit card that has no or low fees to avoid extra costs. Since credit card interest rates are high it’s best to fully pay back any money spent with your credit card each month. This practice will help you avoid too much debt – which can quickly pile up if you aren’t careful.
Another good option is to choose a credit card that has a cashback policy instead of reward points that you need to redeem.
Wait Before You Buy
Impulse purchases tend to be a waste of money, so practice the pause before you purchase anything. If you have the urge to buy something, wait a set amount of time before you do. You can choose to wait 7 days, 14 days, or even a full 30 days before buying something. If you still want it after this time, then buy it. But chances are you’ll lose interest in this item and no longer want to make the purchase. This is one of my secret tips to live more frugally and reduce splurges that you’ll later regret.
Learning how to be frugal is important in this post-pandemic world. The economy is struggling, the cost of living has increased and it’s a smart decision to be careful about how we spend our money.
Take some time to apply these tips to live more frugally in your life. Each tip is designed to give you more control over your money which will lead to financial freedom.
What are your top tips to live more frugally?
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