Top Tips for Frugal Living
Frugal living is a very rewarding way to live. Not only do you save money, you get to learn a lot of skills that many would consider long-dead. When living a frual lifestyle you are seldom bored because there is always something you can be doing to save money. Here is a list of the top tips for getting started in frugal living. You will notice that this is not a “top 10” list – but rather just a “top list” – I would like everyone to contribute their own items and a small description in the comments and I will place them in the main list. Let’s see if we can make this the best online list of tips for Frugal Living.
This is essential for all lifestyles – not just frugal living. Make a budget (be completely honest with yourself) and put a special section aside to keep track of how much money you spend. Each week, try to spend a little less than the week before. This can be a lot of fun as you start competing with yourself. You will be amazed how much lower you can go week by week.
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9. Cancel Unneeded Services
Cancel cable TV and any magazine subscriptions you have. If you are like me, the chances are that you don’t read the majority of your subscriptions. I have a subscription to the New Yorker and on the rare occasion that I do open the latest copy, I normally just look at the cartoons! Most of the magazines that are available have websites with many of their print articles online. Use those instead.
Spend a weekend to go through every room in your house, picking out all of the things that you don’t use or need. Once you have finished rounding up all your unneeded goods, sell them on ebay. Not only will you simplify your life by de-cluttering, you will make some money which you can put in the bank for an occasional treat.
7. Talk to other frugal people
There are thousands of brilliant resources on the internet for people who are interested in Frugal living. In addition to websites I strongly recommend the newsgroup misc.consumers.frugal-living which has thousands of subscribers and a non-stop flow of useful tips and advice for frugal living.
6. Save on Bills
Run your washing machine on cold, and make sure you turn out any lights that are not in use. Another great way to save money here is to turn down the thermostat on your hot water boiler. Most electric and gas companies have brochures that tell you how to save money – take advantage of these. You can save a lot of money by wrapping up warm on the sofa with a good book and leaving the heating turned off.
There are lots of freebies available that can save you a great deal of money. A google search for free goods can bring up a lot of useful items that you would normally have to pay for. You can also try writing to some of your favorite companies and ask for samples. If you have to stay in a hotel for any reason, be sure to pack up any left over soaps or shower items – you are paying for them as part of your hotel room bill, so you might as well get some use out of them.
This may sound horrifying complicated, but it is very easy to make all of your own household cleaners. Not only is it easy, it is fun. One bar of soap can make enough washing detergent to last months! Here are some excellent recipes for homemade washing detergent. For other cleaning needs you can often use vinegar in place of the expensive items you are used to buying. Don’t bother buying dryer sheets – they are totally unnecessary and cost a lot of money.
3. Use Coupons
Check your local stores regularly for coupons or special deals. You should be careful though – don’t buy something that is not essential just because it is on discount. Keep the coupons handy in case you need one at a later date.
Don’t buy new clothes unless you absolutely must. It also goes without saying that you should not buy big label brand clothing as it is much more expensive than regular clothes. This is also a good opportunity to develop some good old fashioned skills like sewing – if you have clothes that are in need of repair, don’t throw them away – repair them. It is not difficult to learn how to use a needle and thread.
1. Eat Well
I say eat well because if you follow this tip, you will eat better than you have before. First off you need to stop buying any pre-packaged meals. Start making your own meals – all three of them. As you get better at being frugal, you can set aside time on the weekend to bake bread and other goods – it is much cheaper to make your own bread than it is to buy bread from the shop. In addition, it tastes much better. You can also dispense with things like milk and use milk powder. Remember to buy your flour and milk powder in bulk. At some point in the future I will write a list of top 10 frugal recipes.
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