ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cut Expenses and Live More Frugally

Updated on February 6, 2013

Time is Money, and Money is Life Energy. Respect it!

Money  makes the world go around, sings Liza Minelli in Cabaret.   Money opens doors, allowing for a "normal" life.  Wage earners need to save for the future, too.
Money makes the world go around, sings Liza Minelli in Cabaret. Money opens doors, allowing for a "normal" life. Wage earners need to save for the future, too. | Source

Frugal Living In Baby Steps

Living Frugally is the New Standard

During the past few years, living frugally has been the objective of many people world-wide. Before, being cheap was a source of embarrassment. The world wide recession has given us all the pinch. Grocery store bags are no longer free - they cost money. The cost of cabbages and other "cheap" vegetables have doubled. Gasoline prices are out the door. What happened? And when will it ever come to an end?

After living in a credit card economy, this new economic environment can feel a little like a culture shock. How can an average person save money and live frugally?

It's not that hard to do, but remember we are trying to turn an ocean liner around, and like Mark Twain quotes, a bad habit is best "quietly coaxed down the stairs". We have learned to take the charge card out and figure out "how" later on.

Instead of trying to find money to match expenses, reverse the process. Use the money you have to create the greatest amount of good. If you are on a potatoes budget, even home made french fries can taste like a gourmet specialty when it means living within one's means!

Remember - even $1 left over at the end of the month is better than being in debt for $1. The point is to have something to show for your hard work at the end of the month. If the job you have requires plenty of non-reimbursed expenses - suits, meals out, babysitting,etc., you may be better off with a part time job if the net result is greater (income minus expenses). Put it on paper and think about it!

In the book, Your Money or Your LIfe, there is an example of a financial planner wife and truck driving husband. The wife needed a wide array of gadgets to go with her job. Although hubby was on a modest, hourly wage, he ended up farther along on the Plus side than his spouse did. Do the math - it's worth looking into.

Don't buy - do it yourself

With rising prices everywhere - don't buy! Try to do it yourself!

For example:

That means - don't buy a prepared birthday cake - make it yourself!

Don't pay for the tailor to mend your pants - fix them yourself!

This goes for haircuts. Stylist, no. Home hair cuts - yes!

Prepared foods - no. Fix them yourself - yes.

Painter for the house? NO. Paint your rooms yourself!

Yard work outside? Pay a gardener? No! Trim the trees and bushes yourself!

Does that sound reasonable enough?

Pearls of Wisdom

It is great wealth to a soul to live frugally with a contented mind.

- Lucretius

No Excuses. Let's Get Started...

Maybe you say "I have no experience". or "I don't have a clue".

Thanks to the heavens above- the internet exists. Great resources are available at your fingertips. If there's something you want to learn, there is most likely a You Tube video covering and showing you exactly how it's done. E-How is an excellent resources, as well as our own very well known and loved HubPages.

Doing something different than normal may be just what the doctor ordered. This requires getting out of the normal, usual comfort zone. A quote to help the process along:

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

Budgeting Means Keeping Track

This Sharp Calculator is battery and solar powered.  It is useful for calculating receipts and other expenses.
This Sharp Calculator is battery and solar powered. It is useful for calculating receipts and other expenses. | Source

The Barter System

Role Playing:

You can take a look at my plumbing leak (i.e. fix it) and I will fix your daughter a great birthday cake!

Would you mind giving my car an oil change? I will be glad to clean your house next Saturday from top to bottom.

We all have different talents. Most people don't have money to burn. Let's creatively find a way to get things done without having to part with the green stuff....

Plant a Veggie Garden

Month of Year
Tomatoes, Zucchini, Peppers, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage
New Potatoes
Russet Potatoes
Beets, Lettuce, Peas, Carrots, Radishes

Home Grown Vegetables from the Garden

Depending on your location, Spring and early Summer are a great time to plant vegetables. Plant a bunch. It's great to have something to make a salad of, or delicious homemade soup. Not only is it full of vitamins, tastier than store-bought vegetables, it's great to just go pick your own instead of having to sweep the debit card or look for whatever spare cash to go shopping. Do a little research and start your new garden - there is plenty of information available on the subject! Seeds or seedlings, follow directions and ask advice. There's no reason why you can't have a great garden of your own the very first year. Whatever bumper crop you grow (tomatoes, zucchini, beans... you name it) - wisely freeze for winter. Tomatoes can be made into delicious tasting tomato sauce for pizza and spaghetti. Nothing beats home made!!!

Gardening is a great form of light exercise, too!

Utilities Can Be A Trap

is your washing machine a luxury?

If may be if you live alone or have a small family. Save money by changing clothes when you get home from work, keep them fresh for future wearings. I have found that hand washing barely dirty clothes saves money. Washing every day socks and a T-shirt or two keeps the laundry from building up. Not for everyone, but worth considering!

How to do it? Put the laundry in a bucket "just for laundry" and a freshly purchased toilet plunger for just this purpose. Plunge away, making a sudsy hand washing system that will actually get your upper arms in shape while you keep your clothes fresh. I put jeans and blankets in the washing machine, they are too difficult to hand-wash.

Devil in the Utilities

Watch like a hawk for utilities expenses. Especially when you are paying out rent money (which disappears into thin air after you spent it) utilities can be another ogre that can completely throw your budget out of whack.

Kilowatt hours - you need to track how many your family uses during each of the four seasons. Get familiar with the electric meter, keep tabs on how much you spend and be able to predict and prepare yourself for the final result.

Watch for large fluctuations in daily energy outputs - if you can't trace them specifically, it's time to play detective.

A leaky faucet can also wreak havoc on your utility bill. Get it fixed immediately. That annoying drip could really drain you, financially especially if it drips 24 / 7 non stop!

A New Way of Thinking

I have met poor people who throw away money on lavish frivolities - and well to do people who check the prices before they buy. Needless to say, much like dieting, those who want to be wise with money need to adopt a new way of thinking that will be a new consciousness in making "do I buy or not?" decisions.

The best way to describe this shift in thinking is to equate money with energy. How much life energy we expend to receive our pay checks! That energy needs to be expended, since our life energy is limited. We cannot work more than 8 to 10 hours a day on a consistent basis without long term health effects.

Since money = energy, conservation makes sense, doesn't it? Why leave all the lights on when a small florescent one will do the job? Why spend money on a parking valet when a local parking lot is free of charge? Why spend a lot on a once a year party dress when Mom's formal can be modified - or a friend's prom dress can be borrowed, washed and returned? Once the brain starts ticking in this new way saving becomes easier and self respect naturally follows.

Before opening the wallet, think twice. Do I really need to spend money for this?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Teri Stohlberg 2 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips! Many of them I already do, but its always great to get new ideas.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 5 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Another tip that I forgot to mention is the killowat prices for non-working hours. For example, where I live electricity is 50% cheaper between 10 pm and 6 am, so it pays to turn on the washing machine and dishwasher later at night, getting the same result for less money. Frugally yours....

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 5 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      I think step one is to save and then try to manage on what you've got to live on. They say that necessity is the mother of invention - so let the creativity help you make frugal living fun. It's kind of a game. Thanks ladies for reading and commenting, ECAL

    • LisaKoski profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from WA

      Great tips. I especially liked the bartering idea. I think it's fun to learn how to do things yourself but I think I'd be a little too afraid to cut my own hair. Voted up and useful :)

    • farmloft profile image

      farmloft 5 years ago from Michigan

      Some good tips. I like the bartering idea. Voted up.