You wake up to another overdraft notification from your bank. It might be payday, but your bank account is not reflecting it. All you want to do is be able to pay your bills. You don’t want to live like the 1%.
You feel like you can’t get ahead no matter what. You feel hopeless. What are you supposed to do? You then find the phrase frugal living online.
Can this change your life, or is it all hype?
What Does Frugal Living Mean
Frugal living means being aware of your money habits and having a financial plan. It’s about making smart decisions to make your financial future bright.
It’s about prioritizing what you do with your money.
Benefits Of Frugal Living
There are many benefits of frugal living.
Some benefits include retiring early, having more money for vacations, paying for an emergency, paying off a mortgage sooner, and much more.
These are the results you can achieve with frugal living in 2022. There is a greater benefit that no one talks about, which involves how you feel about money.
For example, you won’t feel guilty after spending money on enjoyment as it’ll be budgeted already (more on this later). You’ll be less stressed and equipped with an action plan you can follow to reach your money goals.
You’ll feel confident about using your money and have a positive outlook on the future.
Is A Frugal Lifestyle Good?
This is for you to decide.
Is giving up some enjoyment now worth a stress-free life in the future?
Would you rather go out to eat twice a week or have money in your child’s college fund?
What They Don’t Tell You About Frugal Living
I’m not going to lie to you. You will struggle if you have never thought about saving before.
You can be on the path to financial peace with a plan and a little effort.
Can Frugal Living Make You Rich?
In the short term, the answer is no. Living below your means and being intentional about saving will build wealth for the future.
Don’t expect to be driving Lamborghinis. Instead, expect to be financially stable with savings in the bank. Savings that’ll grow and be used for a vacation, new roof, a fancy dinner, or whatever else your heart desires.
The key thing to remember is that your savings will take time to build. The priority will be to get back in control and feel comfortable with where you’re at financially.
Once you get here, you can start saving for something nice for yourself. But how do you get here?
Does Frugal Mean Cheap And Sacrificing Everything?
Being frugal does not mean holding on to every penny for dear life. If you are frugal, you only spend for a reason.
If you are cheap, you save money just to save it. Picture Ebenezer Scrooge stacking gold coins to the ceiling. That is not what any good frugal living blog will advise.
Yes, being frugal means being smart with your money and only parting with it if you’re sure of the purchase. While this is true, life should also be enjoyable.
If you wish, you should still be spending money on entertainment, travel, and video games. The only difference is that the enjoyable spending comes later after all the necessities are paid.
How Can I Be Frugal In 2022?
You need the right attitude toward money and a few basic skills.
We’ve talked about what happens when you have a positive mindset around money. The next step is learning the actionable steps to take.
Now that you know what frugal living means, let’s talk about some of the basic money-handling skills you need.
These will make your transition into frugal living much more manageable and help you get back on track if you fall off.
The Beginning Steps Toward Financial Peace
Budgeting is the best way to control your finances.
Most people view a budget as a negative. They think it restricts them from being able to buy what they want. Remember, you can and should spend money for enjoyment as well. A budget ensures you are wise with your money while still getting the most out of life.
A budget is a plan that permits you to spend money you’ve already deemed necessary. For more information about how to start, check out these steps from financial expert Dave Ramsay
Have An Emergency Fund
Before you pay down debts, you should have at least $1,000 in an emergency fund.
This will do two things.
- You’ll feel like you have accomplished something.
- You’ll have breathing room in case an emergency does happen, and you need cash fast.
Rachel Cruze dives deep into the process here.
Pay Down Debt
You should be using extra money toward paying down debt.
It’ll help build your net worth and get rid of stress.
Automate Savings And Investments
You can have a portion of your paycheck sent to your savings account or company 401 (k).
You could also set up automatic transfers into an IRA (individual retirement account).
Buy A Used Car You Can Afford
Credit Karma states that the average car payment for a used car in America is $488 a month.
Eliminating one for a family with two car payments can give you breathing room. Getting your car payment as low as possible is essential to being frugal in 2022.
Don’t Buy To Impress Others
Buy what you need that’s budget-friendly.
Buying to impress the neighbors is the opposite of a frugal lifestyle.
Focus on building long-term wealth.
Increase Income/Part-Time Job
You need to raise your income if you can’t afford to start an emergency fund or pay off debt.
You may think, “How can I live frugal but not cheap?”
Raising the amount of money you bring in a month will allow you to focus on saving without cutting everything. Getting a temporary part-time job can work wonders.
Limit Credit Card Use And Cashback
The majority of people shouldn’t have credit cards.
Stay away from them if you’re trying to get back on your feet.
Frugal Living Tips At Home
Do It Yourself
Painting a room, fixing an uneven door, and installing a ceiling fan are all things you can do yourself.
Learning the basics can save thousands in the long run.
Downsize Your Home
Consider moving into a smaller home if you don’t need the extra space.
It’ll cost less heat, and your mortgage payment will also decrease.
A smaller home means less cleaning! It’s a win-win!
With the rise of Netflix, fewer people are opting to pay for all the commercials that come with cable TV.
If you still want to be able to watch live TV, there are cheaper options such as YouTube TV.
Keep The Lights And Fans Off
If you have kids, you probably tell them this often.
We often forget to turn off the lights or ACs when we leave home.
Double-check to make sure everything is off before you leave. This is another simple and easy daily frugal living step anyone can do immediately.
Rent Out Space As An Airbnb
If you have some spare room in your home, you can make good money renting it out as an Airbnb.
You can charge for a limited time or set a monthly rent if the person decides to stay full-time.
Either way, it’s an excellent way to make extra money without working more hours.
Keep The Thermostat At A Low Temperature
Using less heat means saving more money.
Putting on a sweatshirt instead of cranking the heat is a helpful trick.
Of course, don’t be afraid of turning up the heat if needed.
Declutter Your Home By Selling Stuff
Sell items you don’t need to make money while at the same time making your home more organized.
Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace are two good places to go for this.
Feel Carefree On Your Next Grocery Trip With These Frugal Living Ideas
By planning your meals, you’ll avoid expensive restaurants.
It’s also great when life gets busy, so this means all the time!
Grow Your Vegetables And Fruit
Growing your fruits and vegetables can prove to be cost-effective.
They will also be fresher and taste better!
Look For Cheap Meals
Have a plan in the grocery store.
Buying the “Manager’s Special” for meats will save you a few dollars.
Avoid the bakery department and frozen pizzas that aren’t healthy and only provide one meal.
Keep The Freezer And Pantry Full
You open the fridge and see nothing.
The pantries are bare.
Now what? Well, if you’re like me, you order takeout!
You’ll be surprised how creative you are at making meals when you have to be.
Ibotta is a free cashback app that offers rewards when shopping at the store or online.
The app can save you around $1 on select purchases from specific stores. It’s worth checking out!
Buy Generic Foods
Generic brands taste the same as name brands.
Remember, frugal living is about spending money on what’s important.
Check out the difference in price.
Eat Meatless Meals
Meat prices are rising, and overeating can be unhealthy.
You can find other sources for your protein, such as protein powder and supplements.
Eat Out Less — Cook At Home
Try to get better at cooking and enjoy the process of making a cheap, delicious meal right at home! Practicing frugal living for one person instead of a family should make this even easier!
Pack Your Lunch For Work
Packing your lunch will help you to save money when those afternoon cravings set in.
It’ll also help you avoid the vending machine. Eat healthily and save at the same time.
Stop Washing Your Clothes And Cleaning The House (Just Kidding! Or Am I?)
Fill Up The Dishwasher As Much As Possible
Make sure you get the most out of it by filling the dishwasher before running it.
Rinse dishes before dishwashing them to ensure they come out clean.
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Mix two parts borax, two parts washing soda, and one part soap flakes.
It may take time to perfect, but it saves money in the long run.
Stop Using Paper Products
Keep in mind what a frugal lifestyle is.
While convenient, paper products are thrown away after a single use.
Buy permanent products instead.
Thrift stores are a great place to find the lowest possible price.
The items still function and may only have minor flaws.
Hang Clothes On A Clothesline
Your dryer is one of the most energy-draining appliances in your home.
To avoid this cost, consider hanging clothes outside when feasible. This tip may be a form of extreme frugal living, but it may be worth the savings.
Wash Clothes After A Few Uses
You can wear sweatshirts and pants a few times before they must be washed.
Please remember to wash your underwear after one use!
Wearing hand-me-downs is a great way to make fewer trips to the store when you have small kids.
How To Live Cheap Even If You Have A Shopping Addiction
Buy In Bulk
The price per unit when buying in bulk is less than if you buy individually.
Buy in bulk to get the best deals and save time. This may not be necessary if you are practicing frugal living for one person.
Use Coupons And Discounts
Coupons are your new best friend.
Use the free browser extension called Honey when shopping online to have discounts automatically applied.
Return Things You Don’t Need
It’s worth the trip to get your money back.
Keep all your receipts in case you need them.
Amazon Subscribe And Save
Amazon allows you to subscribe to items you might purchase again.
For example, if you subscribe to soap through Amazon, it’ll be delivered at a discount.
Try A No-Spend Challenge
Don’t spend anything for one weekend.
Free activities are still fun!
Use Credit Card Rewards/ Get A High Cash Back Credit Card
When used correctly, credit cards can save you money.
Enough points can get you a free flight or hotel room. Debit cards give you nothing.
Remember, use credit cards responsibly.
Shop Around For The Best Insurances
Shop around for life, health, and car insurance before purchasing.
Exploring your options can save you hundreds of dollars every month.
Buy Used Items And What’s On Sale
Always buy good used items over perfect new items.
Have Bills On Autopay
Wireless carriers will offer you a discount if you automate your payments.
You will also avoid late fees and build your credit score.
Only Use Cash
Studies have shown that using cash over a debit or credit card makes people spend less.
There is psychological pain when we hand over cold hard cash.
Always keep some on you, and you will spend less wherever you go!
Rakuten is a way to earn cash back on your everyday purchases.
It’s a free and easy way to save money.
Acorns, Qapital, and EveryDollar are some of the more popular ones.
The first two automate your savings, and the latter is a budgeting app to ensure you stay on track.
How Can I Live Frugal But Not Cheap? (Entertainment)
Check Out The Library
While it may be the weekend, don’t erase all your hard work during the week by going on a spending spree.
Your local library has free books, movies, board games, and more. It’s a great way to have fun while sticking to your budget.
Cheap Date Nights At Home
Forget the fancy restaurants and expensive wine.
Good date nights can be spent at home making popcorn and watching Netflix.
Make a homemade meal and enjoy each other’s company.
Go for a hike, plan a picnic, or go camping.
There are plenty of ways to have fun and be entertained without breaking the bank. Remember, one goal of a frugal lifestyle is to live within your means.
Cancel Unneeded Subscriptions
Chances are, you’re spending more than you think.
Home Entertainment Such As Board Games And Card Games
Board games and cards are great for a frugal lifestyle.
Get away from the screens and get back to the basics.
You Now Have The Power To Control Your Finances. Use It.
Before reading this, you felt hopeless with no plan to escape your financial situation.
When you make a budget and nurture your emergency fund, you won’t have to worry about an overdraft notice anymore.
You’ll cut back on expenses and automate your savings.
You’ll feel in control and hopeful for the future.
Your frugal living journey will be complete; you’ll be able to pay the bills and live a comfortable life.
You’ll be as rich as you ever need to be.