Frugal Living: How To Make It Work Without Feeling Deprived

Let’s face it; most of us aren’t blessed with an unlimited supply of money. Not even that, but a lot of us struggle just to make ends meet and live comfortably these days. The trend of the frugal living lifestyle is something to embrace now like ‘going green’. Being thrifty, pinching pennies, and downsizing are suddenly nothing to be ashamed about; in fact, you can be proud of it! Money savvy families and people in the U.S. are making the most of having less and enjoying life a lot more than before. Here are some tips to start the transition without it feeling like a chore.

Conserve the small things. Remembering to turn the lights and water off when not in use is a fast way to save some money. Turning the heat or air down when you leave the house cuts down on costs and you won’t notice anyway. Also, start paying all you bills online or over the phone (if they don’t charge for the services). Cutting out the cost of stamps and envelops will help in the long run. These little things will add up to bigger savings sooner than you’d think.

Do-It-Yourself. This may seem like a chore but can actually save you money, teach you something, and be fun in the process. A simple task like changing the oil in your car on a sunny day instead of paying up to $30 for them to do it at a shop will definitely help your budget. You’ll get to have a beer outside in the driveway and feel like more of a man in the process! Other things like re-tiling your bathroom or fixing a lawnmower are easier than you might think and will give you a great sense of accomplishment while saving you the money of paying a professional. (Also, try finding tools, parts, and supplies on sites like Craigslist.)

Food and Coupons. This is a big money saver that will make a huge difference in your expenses. Here a few quick ways to start saving on your food bill.

• Coupons- You might not save hundreds a month like the ‘extreme couponers’ but clipping a few coupons out of your weekly newspapers or magazines will most certainly add up. A few coupons during one shopping trip could easily save you $15 or more.

• Generic Brands- Most generic brands have little to no difference. Things like rice, soups, juices, eggs, milk, and more taste almost exactly the same. Plastic wrap and tinfoil work just as well as big brands too.

• Bulk Buys-Buying foods in bulk can add up to major savings in your wallet. 12 packs of soups, tubs of butter, and other items that are either non-perishable or that you use often are a good idea to add to the list. Try buying a membership to a Sam’s Club or Costco for even better warehouse and bulk deals.

Better Choices On Non-necessity Expenses. For example:

• Movies- If you’re in the habit of buying movies, you best ditch it. If you’re trying to save money this is a collection you can stock up on down the road. Switch to renting but choose wisely. Although Netflix or renting from a store may seem cheap, Redbox is better. $1 gets you a movie for an entire 24 hours. Or, try visiting the library for free rentals.

• Coffee- As good as the major coffee chains are and as addicting as they may be, QUIT IT! They are OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced. You can either brew your own at home or better yet, drink water! Guess what? It’s free and better for you by the longest shot possible.

• Eating Out- Pick up a copy of ‘This, Not That’ and try to make some of your favorite restaurant meals at home for a healthier option and to save money! You don’t have to pay $13 for one meal, plus drinks, plus a tip. If you NEED TO once and a while, order take-out. No tip included and you can drink WATER, at home!

These simple and painless tips to frugal living are sure to get you on the right track. You don’t need to feel deprived of anything if you are smart about how you spend!


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