While some may think that living frugally means depriving yourself of the things you love and eating beans on toast for dinner every night, adopting a frugal lifestyle does not need to mean following this limited lifestyle. Instead, you can make sensible changes in your life that can still allow you to enjoy the things that you love and help you to save money! This article will guide you through some tips and tricks to give you the know-how so that you can apply to your everyday lifestyle and reap the money-saving benefits!
What Does Living Frugally Mean?
Frugal living, in a nutshell, means to take intentional steps to spend less money unnecessarily and instead to invest saved money on things that are important in your own life. Frugal living is a way of life, and there are of course people that take frugal living to the extreme and live without watching TV or having hot showers, but ultimately you can still save money by making small life changes. Anyone can incorporate money-saving tips into their lifestyle regardless of how much money you have and eventually these small changes will make a difference in your savings and prevent you from wasting money and getting into debt.
Getting On Top of Your Finances
The success to living a frugal lifestyle starts with organising your finances and figuring out where you are spending money unnecessarily and how you could save money. A good tip of how to approach your finances is to buy a budget diary which allows you to itemise what you have purchased and see how much money you are spending each week/month and where you could save money.
Colour coding your expenses into categories such as direct debits, food and travel costs allows you to see at a glance your monthly fees such as the bills that you have pending and, for example, how often you are spending money eating out. Knowing how much money you have coming in and going out of your account each month will allow you to approximate what disposable income you will have to play around with so you won’t need to worry about missing out on going with your friends for dinner as you will have already slotted this in to your budget diary.
Many people accumulate a lot of debt and often feel out of control in figuring out how to begin paying off debt. A big frugal living tip is to avoid getting into debt by not signing up to a credit card or spending money that you do not have, for example paying up a smartphone when you could outright purchase a cheaper one. However, that is not to say that if you are in debt, you cannot live a frugal life. Knowing exactly how much debt you owe and to who allows you to make the necessary steps to start paying it off and saving money each month will help you to be able to achieve this and become debt-free.
Setting up a savings account is another good way of managing your finances and allows you to start saving up towards a particular goal whether that is a new car, a holiday or for early retirement. If you set aside a small amount of money each month and put it into your savings account, it will over time accumulate. Having savings allows you to have an emergency fund should you need it and it also gives you extra money to go towards your disposable income.
Everyday Tips for How to Save Money
After organising your finances, the next step to living frugally is to start implementing everyday changes into your life. As the saying goes from great elms, little acorns grow and by making a series of small changes and new adopting new habits you will over time save a lot of money which will allow you to invest this saved money into something more meaningful.
Most of us can identify with wasting a fair amount of money on food and drink. Something as simple as spending money on a coffee en route to work every day from cafe’s such as Pret a Manger and Starbucks is a small luxury costing around £2, but you don’t have to do away with these little enjoyments as there are ways around spending this additional money. Investing in a travel mug that keeps your coffee warm will allow you to make your coffee in the mornings and to make a packed lunch instead of buying lunch on your lunch break will help you to save those £s.
Something as simple as spending money on a coffee en route to work every day from cafe’s such as Pret a Manger and Starbucks is a small luxury costing around £2
Meal planning is quickly becoming more and more popular as it allows you to sit down and itemise exactly what you need to eat every day versus what you want to eat which not only helps you to become more popular, but it also stops you spending money unnecessarily on food items that you do not need. Batch cooking also allows you to make meals in bulk which is perfect if you are cooking for a family. Freezing batch cooking will also ensure that you have food at the ready should you not have anything in the fridge.
‘Love Food Hate Waste‘ is an excellent site to discover recipe ideas on how to use leftovers and make food last.
Ordering food online removes the temptation that occurs when you go to the shops and will also help you save money on petrol as delivery slots are as cheap as £3. Another easy tip of how to save money on food is to switch from buying branded goods to purchasing own brands. Very often the quality of the product does not decrease, and it also skims off a good chunk of money to allow you to buy a treat at the end of your shop such as your favourite branded ice cream.
Travel costs slowly eat away your cash each month, but there are ways to minimise spending and take advantage of good deals. Reducing your journeys can help save both petrol and public transport costs. For example, walking or cycling to work or the train station lowers carbon emissions and saves you money on a bus or petrol money which is a win-win situation! Taking the time to assess the number of journeys that you make each week on public transport will also allow you to discover if you are eligible for specific transport saving cards for the train or bus. For example, if you work in London and regularly travel on the tube and buses Transport for London caps your card based on the number of journeys that you made on that day and in that week. Transport discounts help you to save money and get around London all day from as little as £8 a day as long as you remember to touch in and touch out on each journey.
Cheap Day Trips/Nights Out
It is still possible to have fun while living frugally whether that is during the day or at night. Museums, art galleries and parks are excellent examples of day trips that are free. In the summer, it can be fun to make up a picnic and go to a park and in the winter, botanical gardens that are enclosed and art galleries make excellent options. Libraries are unique places to spend a day. It costs nothing to read newspapers, use the library laptops and rent books and DVDs which makes it cheap entertainment.
Discount websites such as Itison offer money-saving deals on a range of different things from discounted meals to spa experiences; therefore, it is advisable to subscribe to such websites to take advantage of these deals.
If you are looking to do something with friends and still live a frugal lifestyle, many restaurants provide discounted menus throughout the week such as pre-theatre menus and many bars offer ‘happy hour’ on cocktails which means buy two drinks for the price of one. Meeting friends and taking advantage of these deals makes for a cheap yet fun night out and if you’re looking for some entertainment, many pubs offer pub quiz nights which cost as little as £1 to take part in.
Many students find that the first time that their student loan drops into their account and they have to pay off rent and buy food that they don’t have enough money left over to enjoy themselves. However, making a conscious effort to save money as a student will help you in the future. It can be beneficial to put aside a small amount of your student loan into a saving account that over time will build up interest. Tips such as buying a student cookbook and taking advantage of student deals can help you to save extra money and will allow you to develop good habits for later in life.
Long-Term Frugal Tips for How to Save Money
As well as making a conscious effort of how to save money daily it is also essential to assess the ways that you can live frugally and enjoy your life in the long term.
The best way to increase your income is to earn extra money so that you have money coming in that will help to supplement your primary salary. There is a wide range of side hussles available in 2019 thanks to the internet. It is beneficial to research the various ways that you can earn some cash on the side and see if you can utilise your skillset. For example, if you are good with animals, you could look into the possibility of dog walking and advertise your availability, or if you are an eloquent writer you could build a blog or do freelance writing, the possibilities are endless. Having extra income will help to pad out your savings account and give you extra money to spend on big things such as holidays and social occasions.
Memberships & Direct Debits
An easy way to skim back on money is to re-assess what unnecessary memberships and direct debits you have coming out of your account each month. A lot of people have gym memberships but are only able to go once or twice a week which is a waste of money. Instead of pouring money into a gym membership each month you could take up an exercise that doesn’t cost you money such as taking up running around the block or practising yoga at home. Instead of paying a personal trainer you could follow exercise routines on YouTube from the comfort of your living room which will allow you to get fit for free and not waste money on a membership that you do not use.
Frugal people are savvy when it comes to where they spend their money on items such as clothing. Reducing the number of clothes that you buy each season will make a difference in your monthly budget. A good tip is to have a capsule wardrobe for each season which means invest in pieces of clothing that are durable and versatile so that they will last you for months and you will not have to waste money on repeat purchases. Many high-quality items can be found in second-hand clothing thrift stores that are a fraction of the price that you would spend and pick up on the same item on the high street.
The Christmas period is probably the most expensive period of the year and depending on how much you spend it can have a significant impact on your finances for the year ahead. So if you are reflecting on how much money you spent on Christmas last year, it can be crucial next time to stagger your Christmas spending throughout the year and write a smaller present list for loved ones. Gifting experiences can be a cheaper alternative to buying specific gifts and can also more enjoyable for the recipient.
There are multiple ways to save money and as this article has shown it is more than possible to live frugally while still living your life to the max! Saving cash will in the long term set you up for a better future as you will be in a better financial position to spend money on the things that you want without worrying about wasting it.