7 Tips For Living in a Frugal Way

There are a lot of reasons why more and more of us are embracing a more frugal lifestyle. Sure, some of it is due to the economy and we are becoming more frugal by either necessity or fear. But for many of us it is a lifestyle choice. It’s a way to get back to the basics and spend more time on things that are truly important instead of chasing that new house, car or exotic vacation. If you’re ready to embrace living in a frugal way, I have seven tips that I’d like to share with you today.

Ask Yourself  – Do I Really Need This?

This is a good question to ask yourself anytime your about to make a purchase. It’s  a great tool when you’re just starting out, but also something I still do on a regular basis (and have to remind myself to do as well). A good way to look at it is to distinguish between needs and wants. Let’s look at some quick examples:

I really need to buy these groceries or else my family won’t have dinner.

I really want this new shirt because it looks cute, but the once currently in my closet are still working fine.

What works for me is to make myself delay any “want” purchases by at least a day. Once I had a chance to sleep over it, the new item I thought I couldn’t possibly live without suddenly doesn’t seem quite as important anymore and I’m able to walk away from it.

Skip The Meat And Other Grocery Saving Tips

A big part of living more frugally is cooking and shopping for groceries that are less expensive. Rely less on convenience foods and cook more from scratch. Sure it’s simpler to buy that frozen lasagna and just heat it up, or pop a breakfast sandwich in the microwave every morning, but you’re paying the price for that convenience. Instead make your own lasagna (in fact, make a double batch and freeze one for later) and grab a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast instead. Just scoop 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of dry quick cooking oats into a bowl, cover with water and microwave for 1 minute. Then just add sugar and cinnamon or whatever else you like.

Meat is another biggie. You don’t really need to cook with meat every single day. Work in a few days a week without and prepare a bean and rice or bean and cornbread dish instead. It will provide you with plenty of protein, is low in fat and has a lot of healthy fiber in it. To be truly frugal, you’re going to want to cook up the beans yourself from dry ones of course.

Another thing that works well for me is to simply reduce the amount of meat I’m putting in a dish. If you’re making pasta or casseroles, you can easily cut the meat in half and substitute more rice, pasta, potatoes or veggies.

Repurpose and Reuse As Much As Possible

Don’t discard or throw out anything without considering first if there’s something else you can do with it. I mentioned oatmeal before. We eat a lot of it for breakfast and as a result we end up with a bunch of empty round oatmeal cans. I’ve turned some of them into flour and pasta containers, others hold various craft items. A member of my Hillbilly Housewife Club recently pointed out that it would also be easy to put contact paper around them and then let the kids color them. It’s a very cute idea and the end result will be a perfect and unique gift container for Christmas or Birthday presents.

When I don’t know what to do with a particular item (an old bath towel for example), I go to the web and search for “What can I make with …” or “reusing …” or “repurposing …”. Give it a try. You’ll be surprised how many things that you would ordinarily throw away can be reused and brought back to live with a different purpose.

Small Habits and Changes Add Up

Don’t get discouraged by how small the savings are for all the little frugal things you are doing. On their own, they may not seem like much, but by making them habits that you do day in and day out and by combining quite a few of these little things, they will start to add up and translate into big savings.

What works for me is to sit down from time to time to write down all the little things I do to help save money and live more frugally. I cook batches of dry beans in the crockpot and freeze them instead of using canned beans. That ends up saving me about $0.05 per can. I also  line-dry my laundry which saves a few pennies a load. The list keeps going on and on. Each thing I do only saves pennies (and sometimes dollars), but by the time I’m done, they all add up to quite a bit of money each month.

Thrift Shops, Hand-Me-Downs, Yardsales and Such

When I was growing up, we’d always get Hand-Me-Down clothes, toys and books from older cousins. For some reason that frugal habit has gotten out of style over the years, but it still works well and we still practice it in my family with this generation of kids. They often outgrow things much faster than they wear them out and there’s no reason not to pass them on. Talk to your family and friends about it and see if you can’t start trading things.

In addition, you can find plenty of “gently used” items at yard sales and in thrift shops. They are usually the first places I look when we need something.

Keep it Simple – Keep It Fun

Often the simplest things are the most fun and don’t have to cost a lot of money. Instead of going out to a restaurant, grab the kids and have a picnic at the park or cook outside on the grill. Other frugal activities we enjoy are game night where we dig out our favorite board games, reading together, going for hikes and exploring some of the playgrounds, parks, museums and such in our area.

Another thing that works well for us is movie night. We pick up a movie from the library or borrow it from a friends house, put on PJs and pop some popcorn. Great family entertainment for a Friday night.

Learn from Others and Get Support

There is a lot of frugal knowledge out there. Talk to the women in your family to learn more or find an online community of women that have the same values and interests. Not only are they a fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things frugal, they are also there to encourage you and motivate you to keep going.

I would like to invite you to join our frugal community at http://www.HillbillyHousewifeClub.com . We have a great group of women just like you who share tips, stories and recipes about living a frugal lifestyle.

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About Susanne

My mission is to provide a well-rounded approach to all areas of keeping a home, and provide a place for you, my readers, to voice your opinion and share recipes and tips with each other. Find me at Hillbilly Housewife.

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