Are you sick of wasting money? Are you tired of not knowing where your paycheck went every week? Have you thought about frugal living but don’t have any idea where to start? I know exactly how you feel. Growing up my dad use to say “I am not cheap, I am frugal”. I never truly grasped that sentiment until I got married. My husband and I struggled to keep up with our finances. We were living a life of luxury (at least in our eyes) and the paychecks kept running out. That is when I finally turned to frugal living to get a handle on our family finances.
Frugal living does not mean you spend no money and become a hermit. I mean, if that is what you want to do that is fine, but I am here to share effortless tips with you to live frugally while still enjoying your life. Finding balance is key to changing your family finances.
10 Effortless Frugal Living Tips
1. Avoid Late Fees like the Plague
It is so easy to get a bill in the mail (or e-mail) and put it out of sight and out of mind. Then you remember later in the month the bill was due but didn’t pay on time. Wham – $35 late fee – all because you weren’t intentional with your time and money. Schedule the payment in your online bill pay as soon as possible. Keep track of your upcoming bills so you don’t get hit with an overdraft fee!
2. Menu Plan for the Week
Menu planning is not only a life saver but also a money saver. When you menu plan you know exactly what will be cooked for dinner (breakfast and lunch too if you’re detailed!). Menu planning also gives you an idea of what you need to shop for. It eliminates the guesswork for you at dinner time. It ensures you stay out of the restaurants or fast food lines.
3. Don’t Make Large Purchases on Impulse
We are all victims of walking into a store and walking out spending hundreds of dollars. If you are in the market for a larger purchase sleep on it. Take 24 or 48 hours to think about the purchase. If the purchase can wait even longer that is better. Waiting will give you time to research the product and shop around. You want to get the best deal possible and not regret your purchase later.
4. Buy Your Internet Modem
The first few years after buying our home we rented a modem from our internet provider. I didn’t think much of that $5 fee and just paid the bill each month. Then I become more intentional and did my research. You can buy a modem for $50 to $100 and save that monthly fee. You’ll come out so much farther ahead in the long run by thinking long term.
5. Drink More Water
This is honestly something I struggle with. I love my Arnold Palmer and Pepsi but the sugary drinks are expensive. It wasn’t until my husband and I started tracking every dollar we noticed how much money we were spending on beverages. If your town has decent water you can drink straight from the tap (or buy a filter). If you have terrible water like we do, buying gallon jugs is cost effective.
6. Embrace The Library
If you’re a bookworm like me you know that the cost adds up. Check out your local library – there are thousands of good books you can check out and magazines to flip through. Most libraries now have an online system as well where you can borrow books and download them directly to your Kindle or other e-readers.
7. Pack Your Lunch
Spending $5 to $10 daily on lunch may not seem like a lot but it adds up over the course of a month. If you prepare your lunch ahead of time and bring it into work with you can save over $100 monthly. Just think what you can do with an extra $1200 yearly (on the low end!)
8. Shop the Weekly Grocery Ad
Shopping the weekly grocery ad goes back to the menu planning I mentioned earlier. Create your shopping list based around what is on sale and plan to cook with it that week. Our new grocery ad starts on Thursday so I go onto the website and write my menu plan and grocery list based on the sales. Of course, not every item we buy is on sale. However, it drastically reduces our bill when we shop with intention.
9. Turn off the Lights
This is a big pet peeve of mind. My husband always has the lights on, even in the middle of the day! During the day open up the blinds (if necessary) and enjoy the natural light. Again, you may only be saving a few cents per day but it adds up over the course of a month and year. Plus, the natural light just makes you feel better than those artificial bulbs.
10. Skip The Gym Membership
I know some people are gym rats and love to work out. I get it. However, you can do a lot of workouts at home without equipment while still working your whole body. Gym memberships are one of those subscriptions most of us purchase and just forget about. You can find workout programs for free on Youtube or even on Pinterest.
Frugal living can be as simple as making small changes in your daily life that have a big impact on your budget. It doesn’t have to be this big scary word. You can still enjoy your money by living frugally. It’s actually kind of fun to find ways to cut back on your bills and daily expenses so you can enjoy more of your money.
I would love to hear from you in the comments – what are your favorite frugal living tips?