Do you want to simplify your financial responsibilities and start living a frugal life this year?
One of the main parts of living frugally is to gain control of your finances and pay off any debt. While creating a budget and paying off debt using a debt repayment system you should learn how to live frugally.
Most people associate being frugal with pinching pennies and not having any nice things when in fact the opposite is true. Being frugal means getting control of your finances and only buying things that bring you joy in a reasonable manner. It is all about making mindful choices so you can enjoy your hard earned cash.
The number one rule of living Frugally:
SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN
To achieve this, you just have to rationalize your spending and cut some expenses in your life.
Why Live Frugally?
The reason I personally like to live the frugal life is that the less stuff I have, the less cluttered my home is, and the LESS I have to CLEAN! SCORE for this momma bear. I also feel quite content with the items that I do own and take really good care of it all because I would hate to have to go buy it again if it gets ruined. In general, I feel like my life has become simplified and less stressful when I’m focusing on providing experiences for my family rather than buying items for my home and extra toys for the boys.
Here are some frugal living ideas you can incorporate in different areas of your life so you’ll know how to live frugally and save money.
1. Get Your Finances In Order
In my household, my husband is the breadwinner. I get a good little bundle of cash from my blog but I put it all away into our savings, so I don’t consider it spending money.
Because I don’t bring in regular paychecks and I have no credit cards (you heard me!) I got really behind in knowing what was going on with our family finances. I left my dear husband in charge of our money. Now, of course, all of our bills got paid, but I realized we had nothing left over after all was said and done, and it wasn’t because we didn’t make enough, it was because we were spending frivolously.
So, before you can commit to living the frugal life, I suggest you know what money comes in, and what money goes out every month, so you can adjust your spending accordingly.
2. Create A Budgeting System
once you know what your money is up to every month, focus on creating a budget you can stick to! We use the envelope system in our home, but we adjusted it so it works with our digital payment systems with our banking applications. You have to figure out what works best for your family.
Other Budgeting Systems:
If you need additional help with creating a budget you can check out this post by the money crashers.
3. Downsize To One Car
This is just not feasible for all households, especially if public transportation is far and few between, but having one car for the household can help lower your living expenses. If it is possible to survive with one car, you can lower your expenses by 80% by taking a bus.
4. Downsize Your Home
If you can afford a bigger home but can live in a smaller home comfortably, consider downsizing. You can save thousands of dollars every year just by living in a small space. Imagine how much less cleaning you have to do in a smaller space too! BONUS!
5. Lower Electricity and Hydro Payments
If you can get used to living with temperatures around 20°C (68°F) during the winter months and keep warm with cozy socks and fuzzy sweaters, you can sure save some big money on your monthly hydro bill. Make sure to turn off lights you aren't using and try to avoid having the TV on as background noise if you are home but not watching the screen.
You can also cut out cable altogether and save even more money. We cut cable years ago and we aren't missing it at all. With Youtube, Netflix and the Amazon firestick, we are plenty entertained during screentime.
6. Stop Buying Books
I'm not saying stop reading, that would be silly of me. I am saying, take full advantage of your public library. Most library cards are free to get and books are free to borrow. You can find almost any title at the library.
7. Cook Meals At Home
I know this is an obvious one, yet it gets missed a lot. I personally found that if I’m cooking a meal at home, I have to have planned it in advance. We keep our meat in the freezer because we buy our food in bulk every month. I also meal plan in my Life Planner every week. The reason I plan weekly instead of monthly is that my children seem to eat out the pantry and the fridge quicker than expected and If I can do an inventory count once a week, I can adjust the meal planning to fit our current food situation. Sometimes I have to pop into the shop to top up, but it’s a few bucks, and not a whole grocery shop so I don’t mind.
When I used to work full time, just 4 months ago from writing this post, I would use my slow cooker every day. I never did jump on the Instapot train, but maybe one day I’ll try it out. Living frugally and clutter-free makes me doubt that I actually NEED the Instapot to take up space in my cupboards. If I ever change my mind about the Instapot, I'll write about it.
8. Shop In Bulk
We buy a lot of food in bulk, but we also realize that it costs a lot of money to buy in bulk. Our average Costco bill used to be $600 every time we left the store. Ouch.
I shop with a purpose. If I’m buying in bulk, I make sure that the price is ACTUALLY saving me money. I noticed at Costco I tend to buy things that cost me the same amount if I went to Sobeys.
My favorite things to buy in bulk:
- Meat at Costco (They ALWAYS have the best deals there in my City)
- Toilet Paper at Walmart (When it’s on sale, I’ll grab 2 or 3 packs even if we have the TP at home)
- Canned Food at No Frills (We have Dollar Days at No Frills once in a while and I seriously stock up during that time)
- Laundry Detergent (We have to buy the sensitive skin stuff, and it’s more expensive than regular ones, however at Walmart, the no-name brand is so cheap I normally grab a few if I have room in my cart) UPDATE: I'm going to try to make my own detergent soon!
- I also make my own cleaning supplies so I buy Baking Soda and Vinegar in bulk as much as possible. Walmart usually has my back for the cheap prices on those.
9. Buy Second Hand
I don’t know about you but we have Facebook groups after Facebook groups with mom’s selling good quality clothing for pennies just so they can get rid of it. Heck, I have done it myself, just gave great baby stuff away to strangers.
We can find ANYTHING for free or super cheap and haul it back home. I definitely don’t pick up anything that is garbage, but you would be surprised the stuff that people just give away.
Let me give you an example. When my first son was turning 1, we had Christmas around the corner. I had JUST finished maternity leave and we were catching up on our debt from my year off work, so needless to say, money was TIGHT. I found a lady giving away a garbage bag of toys for $20. I drove to pick it up and she gave me 2 bags of toys when I arrived. When I got home, I discovered the toys were all in almost brand new condition. Only 1 child had played with them and they were still so perfect. I gave them a nice wash and put them under the tree. $20 for a tree full of gifts for a baby? YES PLEASE!
I’ve also had the same experiences with clothes for the boys and even clothing for myself. We have a website called Kijiji which is more popular than Craigslist where I live, and you can find anything under the sun on Kijiji.
PS. If you want to earn extra cash, you can SELL your stuff on Kijiji too. I’ve had friends flip furniture on Kijiji and make full-time incomes this way. I mean, I don’t have time for that myself, but if you do, it’s a good “Side Hustle” as they say.
If you need more side hustle idea’s, read my post on my favorite 9 ways to make money at home.
By the way, you don’t HAVE to buy things second hand to live the frugal lifestyle. Buying high-quality things is also a part of being frugal. Buying less provides less clutter in your home, but buying good quality means not having to buy that item again for a long time.
10. Save Money When Shopping Online
I'm sure you've heard of a program called Ebates... it is THE ultimate online shopping money saver. How it works is, every time when you log in to your Ebates account and use a store’s link from their website to make purchases, you get paid cash back.
If you haven't heard of Ebates, or just haven't signed up yet, follow this link and get a $10 bonus when you spend $25. It's also free to join!
PS. If you grab the Ebates browser extension, you can get through to the shopping channel without having to go through Ebates website. (Once you have an account)
If you're American, you can also get cash back from in-store shopping by simply linking your card to the Ebates website. So simple, but only available for US residents. Darn Canada, get on the train!
If you’re like me and skip to the bottom of the blog post for the quick version, let me break it down for you. Living Frugally can lead to a less cluttered home and a simplified lifestyle. Before you can begin to live frugally, you have to have your finances in order (know what’s going in and out every month) and create a budget based on your financial situation. Living frugally also means a lot of cooking meals at home, shopping in bulk and buying things second hand.
I hope you enjoyed this post, leave me a comment if you have any questions or further tips on living the Frugal Life.