- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
Frugal Living for Beginners
Oh how I wish I had lived frugally for my whole life. I think back to those paychecks in high school and how much I spent on clothes and food and regret it. If only I had saved some of that money I could be so much better off today. You know, compound interest and all. But frugal living is a journey, a process, and a learning experience. Everyone has to start somewhere. Eventually I started living frugally. After I was married and had my first child I was forced to just to stay out of debt. My journey still continues today, eleven years later. Here are some tips if you are just getting started on your frugal journey.
attention to where your money goes. You won't know where to cut back if
you don't know where it is going to start with. By tracking your spending, it won't take you long
to figure out the areas you need to work on. Then get started!
attention to your utilities. Many people consider these monthly bills
set in stone. That is the wrong way to look at it. For us, our third largest expenditure each month after the mortgage and food, is utilities. And in the winter, utilities are second. Utility bills can be lowered very easily. In many places you can call
around and try to find better rates for things like cable, phone, gas,
internet, and even electric. Start calling companies in your area, or at the very least look
around online. Once you get a feel for what other companies are
charging, call your company and negotiate a lower rate. If they won't
do it, then switch. In the long run you could save hundreds of dollars
a year. And don't think that turning off the lights when you leave the
room doesn't matter, because it really does add up. The same with your
thermostat. In the winter turn it down and in the summer turn it up. It won't take you long to notice a difference in your bill.
stock of what you have. It is hard to stop spending money when it is
such an ingrained habit for all of us. And literally you have to spend
money to survive, so it is essential. BUT most people (me included) can
work on spending less money. Go through your house and figure out what
you have. If you have 5 toothbrushes, don't buy anymore for
awhile. If you have food on hand to last the week, even though it is
your normal shopping day, opt to stay home and eat what you already
have. Wear the clothing that you already own. Use what you have and
don't buy anything new for while. If something runs out, see how long you can go without replacing it. This should help break the spending habit. It will also help you get ahead a little and kick start your savings.
that small leaks sink a big ship. Little bits of money add up. They add
up to lots of spending, or lots of savings. Rather than spend small
amounts of money here and there, opt to save it instead. It will result in a nice savings account in a very short time. Or you can use the savings to pay down debt and make your monthly budget a little easier to handle.
you start your journey on the path of frugal living, remember you are
not alone. There are many people living a frugal life and it is
becoming more and more popular now that we are in a recession. If you
are struggling to get ahead, now is the time to make some changes.
Small changes add up to big savings so take the first step and start
your frugal living journey today. Everyone has to start at some point, so wherever you are at, now is as good a time as any.