Frugal living tips 2022
That won’t make you miserable.
Frugal living is a miserable existence, right? You cut corners, scrimp and save and for what? Just to make do. Just to be uncomfortable while prices rise and the cost of living goes up and up. You tighten the purse strings so you can save up for your retirement where you will have just enough money to see out your days.
It seems that frugal living is living miserably so you can retire and keep living miserably, right?
Frugal living is just one facet or an early retirement plan many have, and in this video we are getting into 14 frugal living tips and tricks that won’t make you miserable so that you can get as much value out of day to day living as you can while still enjoying yourself and having a good time.
You can’t frugal your way to wealth. Saving isn’t scalable after a certain point, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to be more mindful with our money to find savings and redirect that money to something more useful, or even ways that can make us more money in the future..
So here we go, let’s just get right into it.
(some of the links in this article are affiliate links. All links are to products I use myself and I will receive a benefit if you use them)
1. Money = Days for your life
The best way to save money is not to spend it at all, obviously. So let’s crack that spending habit first with this one simple idea. Start thinking of your purchases as days of your life. Sounds a bit mad, but let’s take the average UK hourly rate which is around the £15 mark which means daily take home pay is about £90. You want that new Samsung phone that has just come out at £1250 mark. Divide this £1250 by your daily rate and it’s going to cost the average uk earner nearly 14 days of their life to have this phone. You have to work nearly 14 days just to get this tech. You might think that’s worth it, you might not, but when you start thinking about purchases in terms of days of your life, your mindset will change!
2. Buy the right food for you
We all need food. That’s non-negotiable. We are all spending money on it so we might as well spend it right.
The staples like milk, rice, pasta, flour, sugar all that stuff, you would do well to consider sticking to the store’s own brand. Rice and pasta seems obvious, I can’t see how there can be a big variation on these just because the packaging looks nice on a well known brand. I’ve never been able to tell the difference between salts either. As far as something like milk goes, I’ve never seen a branded cow producing super-charged milk. It’s squeezed from the same kind of udder so just go for the best value.
Baby milk is another – close examination of the ingredients of the basic stuff vs the fancy branded stuff will show you the same essential ingredients are in both, so just can just go with the cheapest. Baby milk is highly regulated in the UK so there isn’t much scope for difference between brands.
Painkillers too – they have the same active ingredients, again a highly regulated sector. The fancy branding is just fancy branding. The tablet is the same and your headache won’t care much for a slick advertising campaign. So much is spent by big companies on their branding, across all kinds of consumables, because largely their products are the same. Check the ingredients, that’s all that matters.
2. Adjust Spending Habits in the supermarket
Try buying your stuff one level down. If you are a fan of the big brands, go for the store brand. If you like the store’s premium version, go for the standard. This could be bleach, fruit and veg, drink, whatever. If you don’t notice a difference in performance then why pay more? If you don’t like where you have landed, well now you know you were better off with your first choice and that you are getting the right value for yourself even though it may be a little bit more expensive.
3. Never shop hungry
Never shop hungry. Body chemistry is wild. When we are hungry, we don’t think straight, we don’t make good choices, we seek instant satisfaction for our hunger pangs and when we are looking at all those expensive processed quick-fix foods, it’s going to hit us right in the wallet. So make sure when you shop, you do it at a time when you are nice and full up from a healthy home cooked meal.
4. Plan your meals
Which brings us nicely to meal planning. Shop with a plan. Never wing it. This will help keep you on the straight and narrow and avoid those products you don’t even want – I’m looking at you middle aisle in lidl. Buying stuff we don’t really want probably means that we will have waste at the end of the week. Something good will be shunted out for something not so good and there is nothing more wasteful than wasted food. Winds me right up.
5. Batch cooking
Batch cook it! When you are planning meals plan to make lots of them. Making a nice chicken pasta dish? Then make enough for six meals. Wrap them up and throw them in the freezer. It means the next time you get caught out by not preparing properly (and come on, well all have bad days) you can go to the freezer and there is a nice healthy meal waiting for you, instead of hitting the fast food outlets for an expensive, unhealthy and unsatisfying feed. As an extra tip – filling your freezer actually helps with it’s efficiency so you will save on energy there too.
6. Drink more water
It’s sounds obvious but fresh water is so much better for you than fizzy drinks laced with sugar and caffeine and things you can’t pronounce. Staying well hydrated keeps up your focus, good for your skin, immune system everything. Wholesome and inexpensive – that’s my kind of thing
7. Credit cards
They so often get a bad reputation but if you are using them right then they are a fantastic tool. Everything I buy goes on a credit card, and I mean everything. All those purchases I’m making in my day to day life are earning me air miles that will soon take my family and I on a nice holiday. I don’t buy anything I wouldn’t normally and I pay the bill in full at the end of the month. No interest paid, just benefits that you don’t get with cash or debit cards. And of course, here in the UK you get extra consumer protections when paying with a card so in this case it really is something for nothing. That said, if you have a problem with spending or likely to get into trouble with credit cards then it’s best to stay away.
8. Do more free stuff
Do free stuff instead of paid for activities. The world is a more open place than it was just a few months ago, and local councils have budgets to spend. Check your local listings and see what’s happening in your area that is free of charge. Hopefully coming into a bit of better weather There might be kids’ treasure hunts, festivals, car shows, playparks, whatever you are into I’m sure you will find something a little bit different to do.
Following on – take some free courses. Every fancied learning photography? Gardening skills? Learn to code? Learn to create a blog? Taking free courses online is a great way to find free entertainment as well as learning new skills. Further by learning in demand skills like coding or photoshop for example is going to open doors for you to make a little bit more money if that’s the route you want to take. I have subscriptions with Skillshare and Pluralsight and both offer a free trial, so get yourself some free training. Pluralsight has loads of courses for all levels made by smart people – well worth a look. I’ve been following courses on .net and Azure and having a great time!
9. 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! So many of our buys are steeped with regret shortly after and we find, it’s not really something we need or want. Once the three weeks pass, 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 on sites like Quidco.
10. 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. Pick up heavy rocks, move them somewhere and repeat. Go down to your local tyre centre and ask for the old worn out tyres. Take them home to flip in your garden perhaps. You don’t need to pay fortunes to stay fit and strong. Open yourself to more possibilities – there are savings to be made everywhere.
11. Track your spending.
Go through every expense you had in the last three months. Everything, leave no stone unturned. This will tell you where your money is going. Information is power, so decide what is money well spent and what is wasteful. Create a budget accordingly. Don’t forget to leave room for a treat if you can. Budget in some good times! Often we think of budgets as constraints but they aren’t. They are tool to be used to help you prioritize spending and make room for the things you enjoy but cutting out the rubbish you don’t.
12. Make changes to the big ticket items in life
Something a little more dramatic. 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 in how much money you keep 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 bank balance! Consider transport too. With the price of fuel going nutty right now, could you get to places on a bike instead of a car? Could you use public transport? There are savings to be made in maintenance and insurance if you drive less also. All these things add up to great savings.
Of course frugal living is how we should all be doing it. Spending money on what brings us joy and not wasting any of our resources. But if you want to become really wealthy then you are going to need to up your income. To find out how I’m setting up multiple streams of income, you can watch this next video here.