Friday, January 5, 2018

Frugal Living Ideas To Try This Year

I am all about anything that will help me save money.  I've been working through frugal living ideas for years, but I'm always finding more and trying new things.  Especially during this year of no shopping, I'll need to get creative and learn a lot of new ways to save money by doing things myself.  I know a lot of people are with me too this year, on the shopping less and saving more font.  So even if a shopping ban isn't for you, there's a ton of frugal living ideas you can still try this year to help get your finances under control.

Use as Little as Possible.  Using the minimum amount necessary of anything is going to save you money over time.  Things that you regularly use too much of?  Toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, you get the idea.  Try using less, you'll be surprised how little you actually need.

Learn to Cook.  Cooking at home will save you so much money, because we all know how expensive it is to keep eating out or ordering food for delivery.  Even something incredibly cheap like McDonald's is overpriced (and will cause havoc with your health related expenses.)  Start with simple recipes and ingredients if cooking isn't your strong suit.  Over time you can learn even more money saving cooking skills, like making bread from scratch, canning and preserving, and making your own versions of convenience foods.

Meal Plan.  To save the most money, you need to learn a basic meal planning strategy in addition to working on your cooking skills.  Meal planning doesn't need to be complicated (in fact, I'll have some tips later this month on a very basic version of a meal plan), but it will save money in terms of less food waste.  If you can make a plan at least for the fresh ingredients like vegetables that you plan on using, you'll throw out so much less rotten produce.  Once you get the hang of that, you can start planning around sales and buying in bulk to freeze portions of large meals.

Eat Less Meat and Dairy.  Nothing is more expensive on your list than meat and dairy (and convenience foods.)  You don't need them at all, of course, but I know people don't want to cut them out totally.  Which is fine - even if you cut back to say, only with dinner or meatless meals Mondays, you'll still see significant savings on your grocery bill.

Drink More Water.  The more water you drink, the less you'll consume of things like pop, fruit juice, or energy drinks.  Personally, I only drink water, black coffee, and tea.  Mostly water.  Very inexpensive!

Learn Proper Clothing Care.  You'll save both on needing to buy new clothes less often as well as on needing to hire someone else to fix your clothes for you if you learn how to properly take care of your wardrobe yourself.  There's a lot of skills here - sewing, ironing, line drying, proper gentle washing techniques, etc.  To start slowly at this, I highly recommend you phase out 'fast fashion' and invest in quality pieces one at a time.  Get one new, more expensive but well made dress or pair of shoes and learn everything you can about caring for that piece.  It will last you many years.

Find Free Entertainment.  If you struggle with spending on entertainment, like buying books, paying for cable, going out to the bar with friends, etc., find free ways to still enjoy your favorites.  Get a library card and borrow books instead, get Netflix or Hulu instead of cable, and suggest cheaper alternatives for getting together with friends, like a BYOB show or simply hosting them in your own home.

Make Everything That's Marked Up.  This would include cleaning supplies, hand soap, seasoning blends (like the taco seasoning that comes in those packets), and beauty products like body scrub or face masks.  These items have crazy markups and it's easy and much more natural to make your own from things like vinegar and sugar.

Quit Disposable Products.  This is one that will cost you more up front but save you in the long run.  Replace your disposable, one use products with a reusable version.  Investing in cloths, for example, isn't a very expensive fix but will save you from constantly buying paper towels.

Live in a Smaller House.  A great way to save money is by not buying or living in a house that's too big for your needs.  It's not feasible for everyone, but if you don't already own a home or are considering a move, you save money living in a smaller home - not just in terms of how much the house itself will cost, but also in terms of utility bills and general maintenance.  A smaller home costs less to heat, less to insure, less to clean, less to maintain, and more.

There are, of course, plenty of frugal living and money saving tips that just didn't work for me, but I'll be sharing those later in the month.  Until then, I hope you have success with these, because they've worked for me!

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