Frugal living and how it can help you save money

Finance Tips

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

– Charles Dickens

The term ‘frugal’ often has a negative connotation. But in reality, frugal living is a great way to turn a little into a life of abundance. By living frugally, you save money, live well within your means, and set up a better life for you and your family. Here are several ways to live frugally that could help you live your way into a better financial future.

No more eating out

Your favorite restaurants are costing you more than you think.
Your favorite restaurants are costing you more than you think.

Sure, dining out at restaurants might be fun, especially when you don’t feel like cooking. But did you know how much that convenience and luxury are really costing you? This is especially true if you live in Western Europe or Nordic countries, as these venues come with high restaurant bills.

Making your own meals will greatly cut down your food bill, which can be a major expense for most families. Not only that, but making meals at home with fresh ingredients will be more healthy than constantly ordering out. So it’s not only the frugal choice, it’s a healthier choice as well.

Can’t live without restaurants? Well, you can still enjoy eating out, but do it less often, and include it into your financial budget.

Buy in bulk, but don’t waste

This is a delicate balance to strike. While buying some items in bulk will result in significant cost savings, if you end up leaving behind more waste, you will actually be wasting money, and goods.

Only buy bulk items that have a long shelf life. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, canned goods, pet food, soap, and laundry detergent. If you are going to buy food items in bulk, make sure that you can freeze them to extend their shelf life. For instance, try buying your meat in bulk at a cheaper price and freezing it so that you can cook it over time.

Find value in used items

While new things are nice, there is so much value to be had by purchasing used or pre-loved goods. Used items will not only save you money, but can provide you with even better long-term value than new purchases. Big-ticket items, like cars, are a good place to start, as you can find great value in secondhand cars as compared to new ones.

But don’t stop there.

These days, pretty much anything can be bought used, and most of the time in great condition. This ranges from home goods like toaster ovens and dishware, to furniture, baby items, and more. And in today’s digital world, buying things in used condition is easier than ever. There are so many online platforms on which to purchase used goods, including Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, and so many others. This makes it simple and convenient to purchase discounted items that are still in perfect working condition. Just don’t forget the tried and true method of a garage or moving sale for some of the best shopping around.

Loyalty card points and coupons

Loyalty card points have been around for quite some time, and in the past decade, these rewards have grown to add up to substantial savings. There are dedicated websites—like The Points Guy—that can help you find the best rewards. Cards can come with a variety of freebies, from cash and discounts to airline miles. Using them optimally can add to your savings.

When it comes to coupons, don’t get out your scissors just yet. There are plenty of apps and services that help you find coupons right from your computer or phone instead of rifling through print ads. Services like Honey, Coupons.com, and RetailMeNot are all designed to give you the best coupon options no matter where you are shopping.

Cut back on your subscriptions and memberships

Do you really need all those memberships?
Do you really need all those memberships?

It’s so easy to get lost in a sea of memberships, from streaming music and TV to gym membership and fitness apps. There is a lot to manage, and it might feel easier to pay the small fee every month than to sort through them and cancel the ones you don’t need. But once you add all those small fees together, you would be shocked by the amount you could be saving every month.

Take stock of your memberships and determine whether or not you need them all. For instance, do you need to subscribe to both Hulu and Netflix, or is one of these services enough?

One way to manage this is through services like Truebill and recurring. These services identify your current subscriptions (and can even identify subscriptions you might have forgotten about) and allow you to cancel them quickly and easily if you want to. This makes managing your memberships, and saving, easier than ever.

Vacation differently

Ditch the expensive hotels and luxury tours and get out of your luxury comfort zone. You can have just as much fun on your holiday vacation and spend much less in the process. One way to do this is to hold off on traveling until the off-season. The off-season varies depending on the location, but will always result in a big reduction in travel costs and expenses. Or, decide to travel to an out-of-the-way destination that is not overrun by tourists and high prices.

Instead of a hotel, opt for an Airbnb or Vrbo. These frugal options are better for a few reasons: they are cheaper, may come with a full kitchen, so you can cook meals, and are often owned by locals who can help you have a more authentic experience.

There are other, smaller ways to travel frugally. These include:

  • Bring your own reusable water bottle
  • Research cheap or free attractions ahead of time (like free walking or museum tours)
  • Skip souvenir shopping
  • Walk or take public transport instead of taxis

Frugal living is still living well

As you can see, living frugally doesn’t mean giving up on life’s pleasures altogether, it simply means being more mindful of how you spend money. These tips can be used as a guide for you to continue living your life, but on a smaller budget and in a more financially healthy manner.

The result will be more savings and wealth generation, while continued happiness all around. So maybe it’s time to jump on the frugality train and see how your savings can increase!