People are frugal for different reasons. Some people are forced due to financial setbacks or health issues. Some people choose frugality to achieve a goal such as freedom from debt, staying home with the kids, buying a house, saving for a dream holiday etc.
Identify why you want to be frugal and what you hope to gain. The idea that being frugal is about sacrifice or going without is not always true, its more about using your money in the best possible way to get more of what you need.
Are you looking to start a more frugal lifestyle but don’t know where to begin? My ten easy steps will help you get started and give you some things to think about to make your money go further.
1. Identify Your Needs and Wants.
Try to cut down on your wants and think more about whether you really need something before you buy it. Most impulse buying is based on an instant want rather than a need. So by taking a step back and identifying this with each purchase you can think about your purchasing more rationally. This is not about being stingy or going without its about being honest with yourself regarding your needs verses your wants.
2. Start Tracking Your Money
Look at where your money is being spent. It may sound simple but just tracking it can be eye opening. My husband and I were spending hundreds of pounds eating out a month. We never realized how much money we were wasting until we started to keep track of it. You can do this using by going through your monthly bank statements and entering your outgoings into a spreadsheet.
3. Make Small Changes
Start with small changes. For example switching to a less expensive brand of something you use regularly from the supermarket. Make one or two swaps at a time and if you like it, that’a great. However it your not happy with an alternative brand because you prefer your usual then look for other products you could scale down to a lower brand instead. For example name brand washing powder because you prefer how it cleans your clothes but you might use a cheaper washing up liquid because you get the same results from it. In our house we won’t budge on a specific name branded coffee or toilet rolls but we use supermarket branded cleaning products and washing powders.
4. Live Below Your Means
Wait for sales, plan for what you need and look at free sites, barter, thrift, trade, do it yourself first. Use loyalty rewards, bonus points. Then use those savings to pay off debt or put into savings. Don’t feel that if you already have enough money in the bank that you have to spend it. Don’t fall into the trap that if you earn lots of money then you have more to spend. Always try and stay below your means no matter what your income is and shop for a bargain or look for offers that give you more for your hard earned cash.
5. Stop buying Everything & Anything
Stocktake everything that you already have and see what you actually use and don’t use. Once you’ve done this use up what you have before buying more. Go through your wardrobe and see what you enjoy wearing and what items are just taking up space. Do the same with everything in your kitchen, food cupboards, fridge and freezer. Eat everything before restocking. Go through the bathroom and use up what is there. Then, the bathroom. Use up everything and don’t buy more until it needs replacing!
6. Comparison Shopping
Have a look at what your utilities are costing you then start looking for cheaper options. Have a look on comparison shopping websites to make sure you are getting the best deal on your current gas, electric, mortgage, insurances etc.
7. Meal Planning
This is probably one of the biggest areas that we have saved money in our household. Take some time once a week to plan your meals for the week ahead. Make a list of what ingredients you already have and make a shopping list of what is needed from the shops and stick to the list when you go food shopping. Never go food shopping when you are hungry as you will put things in the trolly you don’t actually need. Then stick to the meal plans using up the items you have bought for them. Freeze left overs and don’t be tempted to call the take away.
8. Batch Cooking
Another great tool in your frugal arsenal is batch cooking. I know, many of you are pressed for time but believe me spending a few hours a week batch cooking your meals ahead of schedule and Freezing them can save you a ton of time and money after a long day at work
9. Get Down To The Pound shop/ Dollar Store
Just be careful with this one and make sure you are not tempted to buy a load of stuff you don’t need. These places are designed to catch your eye. Have a list of particular items that will save so much money when bought from these shops such as washing powder, cleaning items, toiletries, toilet rolls essential items that you need.
10. Charity shop/Thrift Shop Shopping
I saved the best for last. My absolute favourite way to shop. It’s good for your purse, it’s good for the charity and it’s great for the environment. You can find some absolute bargains for a fraction of the cost new. Most if not all of my clothes are from charity shops, I’ve bought all of our bedding, pots, pans, cushions all sorts of stuff for our house over the years.
Remember, being frugal is a mindset. Simply start looking for ways to save money and keep on going from there. It’s a lifestyle rather than a quick fix. Being frugal is not about being cheap. It is about prioritising your spending so that you can do more of the things you really care about.
What are your favourite steps to incorporate a more frugal lifestyle? Did I include it in the list? Let me know!
I hope these steps help you with your own frugal lifestyle whether you are just starting or are a seasoned thrifter. If you have friends who might benefit from these 10 steps, please feel free to share this post with them.