Category Archives: Being Frugal

How to Improve Your Life with a Frugal Lifestyle

Sometimes frugal living is a choice and sometimes it isn’t (or at least not our first choice). Maybe you’ve started a family and want to be able to stay home with your children but have always relied on two incomes. Families have been struggling through economic hard times over the last few years and during that time, many people found themselves unemployed or underemployed.  It can be scary. The time to adopt the frugal lifestyle is when it is still a choice.  It gives you the opportunity to decide what’s important to you and what isn’t.

So the next question is, how do I do this? The first thing that you need to understand is that frugal living, at least for me, is the ability to be more reliant on myself and live a simpler lifestyle.  A side benefit of that is that it takes less money to do that. It’s not about going without the things you love. It’s about finding the best way to have or do the things you love.

Let me give you an example. I love cooking with fresh herbs. Fresh herbs can be pricy. My solution was to grow my own.. I didn’t do this because I can’t afford to buy them.  I did it because I don’t see the value in buying them. Not only was it a quick, easy and inexpensive project but it added a decorative element to my deck in the warmer months. I started my herb garden with plants from my local greenhouse but I could have very easily started from seed at a lower cost with the same results. Now, I have all the fresh herbs that I need and it doesn’t cost  me anything more than a little time to take care of them. Let’s take this one step further. I can grow more plants with clippings from my current plants. Now I have some lovely gifts to give. I have friends and family who love to cook and would be appreciative of this type of gift.  It makes a great hostess gift when visiting friends. The possibilities are endless. Did this change make my life better? Yes it did.  Was it a major lifestyle change. No it wasn’t. I didn’t have to give up something I loved. I just found a better way to do it.

When I decided to live a more frugal lifestyle the first thing I did was take an inventory.  What was I spending my money and my time on.  Time is just as valuable a commodity when choosing a simpler lifestyle.  The next step was to see where I could make better choices.

Start with the incidentals. Do you stop and buy coffee every morning on your way to work? Look at why. Do I stop and get that coffee because it’s my favorite part of the day or do I stop and get coffee because I don’t have time to make my own? If it’s because I don’t have time to make my own then look at why. Am I trying to get too much done in the morning? Maybe the easiest thing to cut out of the routine is making coffee to bring to work. See if there is something that you can move to the night before. If it’s the best part of your day and it’s something that you love then continue to buy your coffee on your way to work. Remember that it’s all about making choices and not about doing without. If you’re not sure which it is then why not try making your coffee every day for a week instead of stopping to buy a cup. Maybe you’ll enjoy your coffee more because you’ve made it exactly the way you like it.  Now you have one less stop to make in the morning. Think about how many times you’ve stopped for coffee and the order wasn’t right. You know exactly what you like so your coffee will be “as ordered” every day. Pick up a good quality travel mug that you can use every day. HERE  is a favorite mug of mine. You can buy the travel mug with the money you saved over that “homemade” coffee week. If you enjoy your coffee that week then continue to make it at home and throw that $10 (or whatever it is that you spend buying coffee) into your emergency fund. You’ve just grown your emergency fund by $500 a year (for other easy ways to fund your emergency fund, click HERE.) without taking anything away.

After you look at your incidentals, take a look at your regular monthly expenses. Television costs continue to rise and also continue to be a bit of a hot button. Broadcasters charge more and more so that your cable company has the ability to retransmit their programming to you. There are lots of options our there to explore. Again, you need to decide what is important to you and then find the best options our there.  Our friends at HowtoShopforFREE.net have put together some great alternatives. You can check out their finds HERE.

There are so many ways that you can make your life better through frugal living.  There are lots of other options that we can explore. These are just a couple ways to living better and being Simply Frugal.

 

 

 

 

What Does Being Frugal Mean to Me

 

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Being frugal means a lot of things to a lot of people. My grandmother sometimes kept the coffee grounds when she made a pot of coffee to use a second time because “they’re still good”. My parents have purchased three living room sets in their 48 year marriage. They spent a pretty good amount of money on those sets, but when you spread the cost out over the life of the furniture (averaging about 20 years per set), they have spent far less over the years then if they had gone the less expensive route. Two very different examples of being frugal.

So what’s the difference between being frugal and being cheap?

Being cheap is the “quick fix”. It means always looking at cost and never considering value.

For me living a frugal life means not being wasteful. Live the life that you want but do it efficiently and without waste. Being frugal is getting the most out of your money. Essentially, it’s finding the value. Being frugal doesn’t mean being cheap, it means being smart and informed.

What else does being frugal look like?

Being frugal looks like different things to different people.  To decide what “your frugal” looks like you first need to decide the goals for your life.  Do you want to be a stay at home mom and live on one income? Do you want to retire at 50? Do you just want to live a simpler life? Once you decide the life you want to live, you would take a peek at how you are currently living and identify the waste.

Being Simply Frugal will give you an insiders view of living a frugal lifestyle through tips and tricks and real life stories.