Frugal living doesn’t mean missing out – a few adjustments to your lifestyle and spending habits can make a noticeable difference to your money, especially if you have a financial goal in mind.
What is frugal living?
Choosing to live more frugally is a growing trend. People are becoming more conscious about the impact of consumerism on both the planet and their bank balance. Frugality means different things to different people. For some it might mean a very stripped back and minimalist approach to life. To others it might simply mean only spending on the things that are important to them.
People’s motivation for living a more frugal life also varies. Some choose to cut back for a fixed period of time in order to achieve short-term financial goals, whereas for others it is a long-term lifestyle choice.
If you’d like to live more frugally, here’s what you need to know.
Why should I live frugally?
The main aim of frugality is to cut out unnecessary expenses, to ease money worries, promote saving. And to help prevent overspending and feelings of ‘buyer’s remorse’.
It does not mean giving up everything you enjoy, feeling deprived or foregoing a social life. For many people, it’s about making small changes to their habits, consuming less and appreciating what they have more.
Learning to live within your means
One of the key elements of living a more frugal life is budgeting. Again, living with a budget doesn’t mean saying no to everything. It’s simply the art of balancing your income and your outgoings in a way that works for you. Set a budget for regular, variable outgoings like food shopping, socialising and entertainment, and trying to stick to that.
Another key part of living frugally is patience. With credit so readily available to many of us, it’s all-too-easy to buy the things you want without having the cash. Switching from instant to delayed gratification is an important element of frugality – saving for the things you want is the way to go.
7 simple ways to live more frugally
There are lots of simple changes that you can make in all areas of your life to help you to be more frugal:
- Reducing the amount of water and energy you use at home is a great way to reduce monthly costs. Replacing baths with showers, and finding other ways to stay warm can help.
- Create a realistic meal plan and shopping list before heading to the supermarket. Choose seasonal produce, which is often cheaper. Even bigger supermarkets change the prices of fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Try to budget as much as possible with everything.
- Try out different budget recipes and find a few simple favourites. Recipes that use frozen and store-cupboard staples are a great fallback if you haven’t had time to go shopping. They might even save you from picking up that takeaway menu…
- Switch brands on consumer goods, either to something less expensive or something longer lasting. It may be worth spending a little more for something that lasts longer or can be reused multiple times.
- Buying in bulk can feel like a big initial outlay, but it saves time, money and stress in the long run. It also usually means less packaging, which is good for the environment. Plus you could always share the cost and the goods with a friend or neighbour.
- Buying second-hand where possible is a great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact, too. Checking auction and re-selling sites for items of furniture, clothing and appliances that you want or need before buying new can shave a huge percentage off the cost.
- Be organised. Things like preparing meals in advance, taking a home-made coffee with you when you go out and picking up a book from home rather than buying a magazine can save you time and money – plus they’re less wasteful.
- Living frugally doesn’t mean giving up everything you enjoy – just cutting back on the things you don’t need.
- Being prepared and organised is key. Meal planning and preparation, buying in bulk and saving up for purchases are all important.
- Frugal living doesn’t only impact your bank balance, but can help you to feel less stressed and reduce your environmental impact, too.