Adopting a frugal lifestyle is about finding creative ways to live within your means. Some simple practices can create more room between your income and expenses and increase your quality of life.
Going for the bigger, better, or flashier option is how a lot of people get into debt in the first place. For that to happen, habits have to change.
1. Use Cash Whenever Possible
Statistics show people spend less money when they use actual, physical cash. These days it may seem cumbersome, inconvenient, or even unsafe to carry around lot of cash, but that inconvenience is precisely what keeps you from overspending. People who spend with credit cards tend to spend 15 percent more. That usually means they often get the nicer, more expensive version of whatever they are considering. When you see the cash disappear in your wallet, it’ll make you think twice about spending more than you have to.
2. Buy Frozen Produce
Contrary to what most people think, one of the best sources of fresh produce is the frozen food section. Fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of their freshness, and then frozen to preserve all their vitamins and minerals for the buyer. The biggest advantage is that you can buy a wide variety of produce in bulk that won’t spoil at a low cost. You can throw the frozen fruit into a blender with protein powder and water for a quick, healthy smoothie. Put the veggies in a skillet with some sauce for a stir-fry. The possibilities are as endless as they are healthy and cheap.
3. Don’t Upgrade, Maintain
Clean it, repair it, top it off, do whatever is needed to maintain your possessions, especially if they are valuable and useful. It’s almost always more expensive to replace a computer, car, or anything of significant value rather than spend the money to maintain it. Sure, it may not be as exciting as getting the latest model, but it’s smarter and friendlier to your budget. If you appreciate what you already have and take care of it, then you won’t need to upgrade nearly as often and you’ll save more money.
4. Shop Used Whenever Possible
If you have a need, not just a want, then find out if someone you know has what you’re looking for. Try sending out a group email to family or friends. The results really might surprise you. Someone may be trying to get rid of whatever you need, and often at a much lower cost then buying new.
If no one responds, then look online at ebay, freecycle, or craigslist to find it used. You could also visit garage sales or thrift shops. If you put pride aside, you can treat used items as welcome gifts and treasures that have memories for the family.
5. Use the Library’s Many Resources
Okay, at first glance this may seem like a boring or outdated suggestion, but look closer and you’ll see a wealth of resources at zero cost to your budget. Buying books, CD’s, and DVD’s new, or even renting them can chip away at your entertainment budget really fast. The library offers all that for free, as well as free magazines, TV shows, computers, internet access, and educational materials all for and your loved ones for nothing more than library card.
This guest post is by John-Michael Haines of DebtConsolidation.com