Frugal living appeals to people who want to take control of their finances. Some choose a frugal lifestyle because they need to get out of debt. Others choose to become frugal so that they can save their extra money for large items like a car or a home. Still others live frugally because their current income demands it. If you count yourself among those who’ve jumped on the frugal bandwagon, take heart. Living frugally doesn’t have to be a chore if you follow these four tips.
1. Practice Money Management
It’s nearly impossible to get control of your finances without putting together a serious budget and sticking to it. Taking this step shows you exactly where your money goes. Specifically, there are some things in your budget that you’ll want to take a look at like your debt repayment plan. Debt in particular can prevent you from living frugally because you’re spending extra money on debt and possibly losing money on high interest rates. As money guru, Dave Ramsey points out in his book “The Total Money Makeover,” you need to tell your money where to go each month. Not doing so will kill even your best attempts at saving money and living frugally.
2. Buy and Cook in Bulk
The Morning Chores website tells would-be frugal-living aficionados to buy and cook in bulk to save some serious money. However, before you even get started, make sure to take steps to avoid impulse shopping. Make a list of food items you need and stick to it. Not doing so can decimate your budget before you even get started.
Next, plan on buying in bulk. Stores like Winco, Sam’s Club, or Costco allow consumers to stock up on oft-used items. Stock up on items like beans, rice, noodles, dried fruit, and other staple items. Many of these places also have good prices on meat. However, Morning Chores actually recommends that you either cut your own meat or that you live on a meat-free diet, which is much cheaper.
Finally, speaking of bulk food accumulation, if you live near any you-pick orchards, you can save some money by spending an afternoon picking your own apples, pears, peaches, etc.
3. Functional Wardrobe Choices
You can also save some cash on your wardrobe by practicing a little advanced planning. Most people only wear a few items regularly. The rest sits in their closet. The first thing you want to do is to get rid of stuff you don’t wear.
Next, build your wardrobe around clothing that you do keep. From a professional standpoint, be sure to take stock of items that you absolutely can’t live without. For example, if your job requires you to wear fire resistant clothing, you’ll want to choose a company like Ariat that creates great looking clothes. The reason that you want to do this is that you’ll have the pieces that you need for work, but they’ll be pieces that you can also wear for other occasions. Ariat FR clothing is available from retailers like FROutlet.com.
Let’s say that you have two or three pieces from a specialty company like this. These become the base pieces that you’ll build your wardrobe on. They may cost a bit more, but to balance things out, you can buy less expensive, but good quality clothes to mix and match with them. Frugal doesn’t have to mean you’re not fashionable.
4. Cutting Down on Car Expenses
How you get to and fro has a big impact on your wallet. If you live in a place where you must take some sort of vehicle to get around, consider leaving your car at home and taking the bus. That’s the advice that Life Hack gives savvy savers. Or if public transit isn’t your thing, try doing a carpool with friends, walking or riding your bike, or by looking into careshare.
As this list demonstrates, there are a number of ways that you can live more frugally. No matter whether you choose to do some or all of these steps, just starting with a budget plan is going to make a difference. By carefully planning your purchases and by planning budgetary items like transportation or shopping ahead of time, you’ll soon get your budget back under control.