08 May A beginner’s guide to becoming frugal
Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? It’s a stressful existence we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. If you are desperately looking for ways to live within your means, know that with a few emotionally difficult but fundamentally simple decisions, you can change your financial situation dramatically.
Ready to take the first step towards a more financially stable pocketbook? This article will help guide you down the path towards becoming frugal.
Do I really need it? How little can I get away with paying?
Before starting your journey towards becoming frugal, you need to change your mindset towards personal finance.
We get it: most ads out there want us to believe unless we buy their product, we’ll never attain fulfillment or even meet our basic needs.
You can get away with spending a lot less than you think – take gym memberships for example. Do you really need to shell out $30, $50 or even $70 a month to stay fit?
A tiny bit of thought debunks this, as you can go for morning jogs and do floor exercises at home for free. Dressing for the weather solves the problem of cold days, and if you want to do heavy-duty resistance exercises, you can pick up some used weights off Craigslist for a nominal amount of money.
Approach other areas the same way – from your phone bill (change plans and/or renegotiate) to house payments (refinance your mortgage and/or take on roommates), there are countless methods you can use to streamline your finances.
Cook meals at home en masse
Food is one of our biggest expenses in our daily lives. Most of us know that eating out costs more than cooking at home, but the pace of life fools us into thinking we don’t have the time for it. As such, you end up buying lunch out more often.
Add take-out dinners and meals out at pricier restaurants, and the bill for feeding yourself can balloon to a size that is much bigger than what is needed to sustain your health.
With a bit of organization and discipline, though, you can find the time to make meals for an entire week in advance, saving tons of money in the process.
Once this becomes a habit, you’ll be spending way less for food that is far healthier and tastier. Find out how to institute this in your Sunday routine, and you’ll be on the fast track to becoming frugal.
Look for coupons everywhere
Not only will grocery shopping and cooking for yourself save you hundreds of dollars per month, but couponing strategically can help you to further extend those gains.
Start by checking the newspaper daily, but if you don’t, there are countless websites dedicated to couponing that will allow you to print off ones that are most useful to you.
Moreover, coupons can save money on more than just food these days. There are codes you can find all over the internet that can greatly reduce the purchase price on things you order off web marketplaces like Amazon, so always do a search before hitting the ‘buy now’ button.
Think in terms of time savings as well
Becoming frugal is about more than just saving money. Time is a currency as well, and in our view, it is often more important.
Classic example: when traveling, you have a choice between taking a 1 ½ hour flight or an eight-hour bus ride. The bus costs $30 less than the flight: which do you pick?
Some may choose to slum it on a Greyhound, but we would take the flight every time. Spending more quality time with our loved ones is often the better decision. You can always make more money, but time is a non-renewable resource.