Managing finances and saving money has become a science and an art form in today’s expensive world. With inflating price tags and stagnating wages, it becomes essential to make the most of what you earn. This probably explains why the concept of frugality has become a rage.
Contrary to what you might believe, being frugal and saving money doesn’t require you to make significant changes to your lifestyle. What’s more, most millionaires attribute being frugal at the beginning of their careers to their success. Let’s take a look at how you can master frugality and understand how this unusual habit can change our lives for the better.
How to live frugally?
Different people have different lifestyles and expenses, but living a frugal lifestyle can be learned easily by everyone. It might seem pointless or redundant in the beginning, but once you start accruing the benefits of living a frugal life, you will want to carry on. Here are 25 simple ways to live frugally that you can adopt right away:
This is one of the easiest ways to start. All you need to do is choose pre-used or pre-owned products, like clothes, accessories or electronics, while purchasing. Buying used items is a great way to reduce the burden on your pocket, and to save some money as used products are mostly available for a bargain price.
- Avoid showboating
Wealth cannot be maintained and increased by showing it off. You can always avoid extravagant lifestyle and choose to be a minimalist to save money, no matter what your income is. This can be done by setting a monthly limit to your expenses and putting the rest in your savings. Over time, you’ll have amassed a decent sum of savings.
Most retailers offer coupons and deals for massive savings and discounts. Keep an eye out for schemes and deals that give you buy one get one (BOGO) offers to help you cut down on grocery expenses.
- Using reusable items
There has been a rise in the use of disposable products, such as cutlery, tissues, storage items and stationery items in our lives. You can choose to replace these with their reusable counterparts to avoid repeated expenses and invest in quality products once, as compared to purchasing them every month.
- Collecting change
We make numerous transactions every day that leave us with some quantity of pocket change. This seemingly unusable and trivial amount if kept aside daily can act as a drop of water to fill the savings bucket effectively. Keep a savings jar and collect all your change from the petrol station, restaurant, grocery, and travel in it.
- Planning ahead
Planning for the long-term is an essential step towards being frugal. Carefully planning your expenses, savings and earning can prevent expensive last-minute purchases and provide your surplus money during sudden expenses. This is particularly true for heavy-ticket expenses like traveling, buying electronics or purchasing a car.
- Do I really need it?
This question is of prime importance while making any purchases. Ask yourself this question before you swipe your credit card to buy a pair of jeans or shoes that you like a lot. Take a moment to ask yourself if you actually need the latest model of the phone? Once you distinguish between what you need and what you want, your bank account will thank you for it.
- Sleep on it
Impulse buying decisions are the worst nemesis of frugality. Did you just get a notification a flash sale that is available for the next two hours? Only 2 left in stock? Do yourself a favor and sleep on it. If it’s an impulse decision, you’d have forgotten all about it in the morning.
- Do not waste food
Consider this – nearly half of the food purchased in grocery stores in wasted. This can be prevented by planning your grocery purchases weekly and as per your taste. Check the best before date while you buy to ensure that the product lasts long.
- Save water and electricity
Put together, water and electricity bills form the bigger part of the monthly utility bills. But, their skyrocketing cost means you need to be careful about using them. Water and electricity are very easily wasted or overused. You can start by fixing leaking pipes and buying energy-efficient appliances and installing low consumption toilets and showers. What’s more, this way you’ll be helping the environment as well!
- Use public transport
No matter where you live, chances are that the public transport in your city is the most cost-effective way of moving around. If you have the time, you can use buses, trains, metro, and auto-rickshaws to reach your work or college to save on fuel costs altogether.
- Using fewer washing products
Dish soap, laundry detergents, and toiletries are advertised to be used liberally. However, using lesser than the recommended amount still gets the job done effectively while making your products last longer, thereby saving you money.
- Cook your own food
It might be tempting to buy ready-made food products or cook ready-to-make dishes, but the cheapest and healthiest way is to cook your own food. Even if you know nothing about cooking, it’ll just take a week or so to get a hang of the basics and then you can start saving money with every meal you eat.
- Reuse and refurbish products
Repurposing daily use items is an excellent way of cutting down unnecessary expenses. You can use those old tires as makeshift lawn chairs or use your old clothes as cleaning rags. Such things generally serve an added purpose and thereby eliminate the need for new purchases. Look up some DIY crafty tips online to creatively reuse old products.
- Trade your goods and skills
You can always opt for bartering what you have for what you need to avoid buying new stuff. Paint your neighbor’s wall or fix their pipes in exchange for getting your taxes done or teach their kids how to play a sport in exchange for legal advice. If you’re good at what you do, the possibilities are endless.
- Replace holidays with staycations
Replace expensive travel plans with relaxing and affordable staycations. Give yourself a holiday at home – watch a movie or follow a hobby while you indulge in a “stay-at-home” weekend and rediscover the city you live in.
- Buy generic goods to save money
Branded high-end products come with sky-high price tags. If you wish to save wisely, go with the generic, unbranded counterparts to similar quality, but more quantity. Find local shops and brands in your area and frequent their establishment regularly.
- Redefine entertainment
Entertainment doesn’t have to begin and end at movies. Sign up for nature walks, food walks, history walks, marathons, discussions, exhibitions in your area to meet new people and learn new things and save a few bucks in the process.
- Do your own housework
Have your house under your control. Be the manager and the maid, and take an active part in the housework. Gardening, cleaning repairing taps, changing light bulbs – try it all to become adept at different things and save money.
- Rent or borrow one-time use products
Several expensive tools, products, and appliances that are needed for one-time use should be taken on rent or borrowed from friends. Not only will you save a fortune, but also be free from the stress of storing and maintaining it.
- Involve friends and family
A frugal lifestyle might impact those around you and you need to take them onboard before diving in. Talk to them about your saving goals and ask them to support you in your journey. Chances are, they’ll understand and help you save more than you could have ever done by yourself.
- Manage your vehicle
Managing the costs of your vehicle – the fuel, maintenance, and insurance – is critical. Drive efficiently, optimize your trips, wash your car yourself and keep an eye out for offers from service providers and insurance companies about offers. With careful management, you can cut down the expenses related to your vehicle immensely.
The bottom-line is that there is no right way to living frugally. It is a combination of various efficient practices in terms of food, lodging, lifestyle, traveling, and all other aspects of life in order to cut back on expenses. Depending on how and where you live, you need to identify the ways in which you can maximize your savings. However, it is crucial to keep working with commitment and dedication. Remember, the end goal is to save money and not cause you discomfort.
Make all efforts to save whatever you can but do not lose sleep over every last rupee. Once you are able to integrate these practices in your life, they will come naturally to you without making much effort. To sum up, have a goal in mind, be persistent and be inventive.
Shivam is a passionate content writer with Masters in journalism. A mutiple-award-winning writer, he brings over a decade of experience as a BFSI writer. In fact, he himself is known in his circle for sound financial advice. A writer by day and a reader by night, Shivam enjoys researching and writing on various financial topics, including credit, stock market, crypto, taxes etc. When he is not spending his time penning down an informative article or opinion, he can be found playing with his kids or collecting stamps.
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