In this article I want to offer some frugal living tips that won’t make you miserable.
Frugal living on it’s own will not make you wealthy… but it certainly helps not to waste money. While you certainly can’t get rich without upping your income, developing some frugal habits will keep a little extra money in your pocket that you can, in turn, put to work for your benefit.
The key to getting richer and generating wealth is to get the maximum possible value out of every pound/dollar/euro you have in your pocket.
So here are my 17 frugal living tips that won’t make you miserable.
- Clear out and sell items you don’t have a use for.
Our homes fill up with all manner of stuff that we don’t need. If you haven’t used something in the last six months, it’s highly unlikely you will again… and if you do want it, you can always purchase something again when you have the need. It has never been easier to sell items with eBay, Gumtree, Facebook, Amazon etc. Clear out the nonsense. Your home will be cleaner, you will have more space and your wallet will be heavier.
- Look at the things you are buying as a representation of your time. Your time makes you money, and your money buys stuff. Consider how long you had to work to buy that item. I guarantee with this mindset you will make fewer bad purchases.
- Frugal living doesn’t mean be cheap! Redirect your money to the things that bring you most joy. Remove the things that don’t. It’s sounds obvious, but harder to implement than you might think.
- Leading on – create a budget for your money. Go through every expense you had in the last three months. This will tell you where your money is going. Decide what is well spent and what is wasteful. Create a budget accordingly and make sure investing is part of it.
- Food. Supermarkets are traps to make you spend more money. Plan your meals for the week and by all means factor in a treat or two if you have budgeted for it. Stick to the plan when shopping and ignore the enticing advertising and product placement.
- Be flexible with food shopping – try to shop for one step down in quality than you usually do. For example, supermarket own brand goods instead of branded goods. If you find they are at least as good as the branded goods, then you have likely just saved yourself the difference forever. There is no point in paying more, but by all means, pay the difference if you notice a drop in quality that you can’t abide.
- Supermarkets place their most profitable items at eyeline. Hence the expression, “searching high and low” for bargains rings true here. Don’t be lazy when shopping – look for the best deals.
- Make big changes to the big purchase in life. All the money you save and turn into investments from not buying coffee in Starbucks, or expensive designer clothes is great, but to make a real dent then consider something as dramatic as moving house. Savings on mortgage/rent/rates can be life changing and it’s these big changes that are going to supercharge your investments.
- Trade services! Don’t spend money at all if you can help it. Have you got marketable skills? Web-design, graphic design? Advertising skills? Languages? The next time you need a plumber, mechanic, builder etc, see if you can offer some kind of skills based payment instead of cash. Maybe you could do their accounts? Create a new logo? A website to drum up new business?
- Free activities – I can guarantee your local area has loads of free events taking place, or at least they would ordinarily! At the very least there will be some recreational areas you can use.
- Gyms are a waste of money! Particularly if you only go a few times in a year. Running on the road is free and you can cover just as many miles! There are some great body weight programs available free on the internet that are a substitute for weight training. Open yourself to more possibilities – there are savings to be made everywhere.
- Negotiate for your broadband, telephone and TV services. Be ready to move if your provider can’t match your expectations.
- Cashback sites are a great way to get a little money back on essential purchases. Never buy stuff you wouldn’t normally, but when you have to make that purchase you might as well be rewarded.
- Drink more water and pay for fewer drinks. Soft drinks, fizzy drinks, juice cartons are typically full of sugar, additives and caffeine. All these extras, of course, upset the balance of your body and can leave you feeling anxious, in a state where you can’t focus, and leave you distracted and unsettled. More water keeps you naturally hydrated, helps your body function properly and helps your mind stay clear and alert. No need to pay all that money for Coca Cola. Coke doesn’t belong in the human body, it’s belongs in an investment portfolio.
- The three week rule – if you find something you want to buy, wait three weeks. If you still want it, then consider a purchase. If you are anything like me, you might find the urge to buy dissipates and you keep your pockets heavy!
If you do find you want to buy make sure you use price comparison tools to make sure you lock in the best price and don’t forget potential cash back.
- Join some frugal living message boards. Having like minded people around you can help you focus on the task at hand – not wasting money and maximising your investments. Seek inspiration and learn from other that went before you.
- Take some free courses and learn some valuable skills to eventually up your income. Not only will you be learning something valuable, but it’s entirely free of charge. You will spend less time consuming and create the possibility to create instead.
Watch some instructional videos on youtube or check out HotUKdeals.com for frequent threads with new free learning material.
Those are my tips.
Frugal living gets a bad reputation because it is often associated with FIRE community in a bad light. Live miserably so you can retire and live miserably for the rest of your life!
Truth is, frugal living is how we should all live – not waste our money, invest consistently and spend our money intentionally on things that bring us joy.