Living Frugally

Frugal

Sparing or economical as regards money or food

Being frugal with your money is the key to becoming a personal finance superhero. Squeezing your wallet and making smart purchases is one of the best ways to make your money last longer, your savings get higher and your debt gets smaller.

So how do you live a life of frugality? Will you ever get to enjoy life again? Of course! Being frugal helps to balance out any splurges, fun or debt you may be paying off and makes you more financially stable in the long run. So you don’t have to live frugally 100% of the time, start off by trying a 70/30 split and if that’s easier, live life 80% frugally and 20% wildly.

No idea where to start? It’s ok, many people don’t. Here are my top tips for frugal life.

Downsize your house. Do you really need a spare bedroom? Big houses with big rooms are not only expensive because of their square footage; they also run up massive utility costs for the amount of heat they use and all the extra lights. Not to mention, if you have a second bathroom, that’s twice the amount of water. If you’re in a position to, then move somewhere smaller.

Buying second hand for everything is a great way to cut small costs in everyday life. If you need something, ask around first and see if anyone you know has one of what you want spare or are getting rid of. If that search runs dry, hit the thrift stores and charity shops to get a great deal. Also check out eBay and Gumtree for things people are just giving away – often you’ll only have to either pick it up or ay for postage.

Stop eating out when you don’t need to. I know it’s easy and it’s convenient and “oh, it’s only £3”, but those £3s seriously add up and can create an expenditure that is so easily avoidable. Make food at home with the groceries you already have or wait until you’re back at home to eat. Never just give in for the convenience – especially when you had already planned your meal for home! Like I said, you don’t have to live frugally all day, every day forever. Plan for splurges, sometimes this means eating out.

Don’t impulse buy online, it’s unnecessary and having that Amazon Prime account makes it all too tempting to buy something for next day delivery. Getting rid of your PayPal and making a rule to online buy items using someone else’s card (with you giving them physical money) will make it that much harder to just hop on the internet and buy needless things.

Gyms are really expensive. Sure, health is important, but what is it that you actually do in the gym? Do you run? Use weights? Do aerobics? All these things can be done at home or outside for free, you don’t need to pay £30 a month to go o a treadmill or lift dumbbells. Buy a set from a sports store for around £25 and use them at home, the initial purchase may seem like a luxury, but it will save you money in the long run.

Drink tap water. We are very lucky in the Western world to have drinkable tap water, utilise this and save money on needless plastic bottles of water that have been bought from the corner shop. If you don’t buy bottled water and buy fizzy drinks or juice, then stop immediately and switch to tap water. Your bank account, and your health, will thank you.

Do it yourself. Do everything yourself. It’s really not as scary as some people think. You only need to be a functioning human being to be able to search for what you need and how to do it online and put it into practice. Need a coffee table? Timber can be bought for about £8. Need to fix the toilet? Save on a plumber and Google the problem. You can save hundreds, if not thousands this way.

Turn off lights. This sounds so simple, but it’s amazing what conserving energy can do for your utility bills. So turn off lights when you leave the room, don’t leave TVs etc on standby, limit radiator time. Do them all and make it your mission to use the smallest amount of energy possible. It could be a bit of a game, examine your statement every month and see how low you can get your usage.

Taking care of your belongings can make them last a whole lot longer. Keep cookers, washing machines and other kitchen appliances clean and do a regular check on wiring to make sure they’re in full working order. Maintaining cars is a little trickier, but not impossible. Most come with a maintenance manual, or they are easily found online. Take time to come to terms with the body and do routine checks regularly.