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- Frugal Living
Make Frugal Living Fun With A Creative Approach
Living frugally is not about going without. It's about identifying those areas of your life where you need things, and using your smarts and existing resources to get them in the cheapest way possible.
Some of the things we all need are:
- Social Interaction
- Growth and Learning
You will notice that I didn't only include those things that have a monetary value or a physical presence. If you want to correctly design your life, you need to take into consideration not only the physical needs that you have, but your psychological and emotional needs. We all get bored and need to be entertained, but too often our default is to buy expensive movie tickets or costly dinners. That simply isn't necessary. If we can spend more wisely in non-tangible areas, it helps us to be able to have more for those physical things that we often can't avoid paying for - like food and bills.
Be assured that you can have everything that you need on a low budget. It all just has to be cheaper and you have to be resourceful.
1. Make Use of the Internet
One of the biggest things that you can make use of to live frugally is the internet. But be assured, it's all about the way you use it. Without the right attitude the internet could be a source of a lot of expenses, rather than the means to a frugal lifestyle.
Make it part of your budget to have a quality internet connection if this is at all possible, While this may seem like an unneccesary expense, it is more than justified considering how many other areas of your life you can enrich by having this particular service.
Ways To Use The Internet to Your Benefit
- Make Use of Free Learning Sites
- Download Free Ebooks
- Listen to Free Audiobooks and Podcasts
- Get information and entertainment as well as How-To videos on YouTube
- Get access to free images
- Depending upon which country you are in, you may be able to sign up for free samples of food, toiletry items and more online.
- LibriVox | free public domain audiobooks
Classical and modern books from many genres
- Pixabay - Free Images
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Free Learning Resources
- Audio Books, Podcasts, Videos, and Free Downloads to Learn From
Various digital resources for free
2. Aquire Skills
Just because you can't afford to get your hair done, doesn't mean that you can't have nice hair. The same goes for having well-shaped eye brows, nice nails, tailored clothes or other nice things that you might want.
For a lot of us, the fact that so many services are on offer, and that we can pay for them unfortunately means that we never learn to do these things for ourselves. But many of these things can be easily done, and like never before, there are an abundance of free tutorials online to help you acquire these skills for yourself.
Learn to pluck your own eyebrows, cut your own hair, make beautiful homemade gifts, unique accessories for yourself and learn to be self-reliant in so many more ways. This is a positive thing.
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Other Skills That Will Save You Money
- Learn to cut your children's hair
- Learn to do repairs on your own car
- Brew your own alcohol
- Do at-home manicures
- Grow your own vegetables or herbs
- Learn to cook food that you enjoy
- Do your own mending and fitting
- Re-purpose old items into new useful things
3. Join The Local Club
Depending on where you live and what you have available in your community, you may have local clubs you can join. In Australia, these sort of clubs require a yearly membership fee that is usually around $10/ year or less, depending on the location. What this means is that you get discounted prices on most food and beverage items, but more importantly, it gives you a place to go where you don't have to buy anything.
When you are trying to keep costs low it can be easy to just sequester yourself in your home, but places like this allow you to go out without putting pressure on your wallet.
Water is free, there is often free finger food meant especially for the 'pokie' players (one-arm-bandit machine players) but available to everyone, and it allows you to have a place to go where there are people and music. This is also the best way to access free live entertainment as well, because these sorts of clubs will often have a schedule of live entertainers on Friday nights or Sunday afternoons.
These clubs always have security, they tend to be open till the wee hours and you can watch t.v and stay warm and cozy there helping you use less electricity at home, keeping those bills low.
4. Join The Library
You may not be into reading books. But that's ok. These days, libraries offer more than that. Not only are they a quiet place to hang out, they will have the daily newspapers, recent magazines on everything from gardening to men's fitness (save on those magazine subscriptions!) and a lot of libraries also have a ebook library from which you can download various e-versions of books. Great to listen to when doing something with your hands.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.— Marcus Tullius Cicero
Some libraries have computers that you can use for free, with internet access also. For free entertainment of generally a more educational type, libraries have free events as well. I have seen and attended some of the most wonderful free events including a talk given by a Travel Writer, teaching how to start your own travel-writing career and the realities of it, composting workshops, internet basics classes and more. Libraries are often part of the local council and there is usually a council budget for community education and sometimes collaboration between other government bodies to bring such great courses and free community activities.
Many libraries also have generous areas for dvds, audio cds and audio books and this can save you on video rentals and purchases.
I have noticed that people tend to underestimate the local libraries because it's a free service for the community, but they are real community assets - especially if you are trying to do things frugally.
5. Join Local Groups
Whether its a meet up group or another free group created in your local community, these can be useful for a number of reasons. The very first benefit of this is to give you a sense of contribution. While it may appear that living frugally is about spending as little as possible and stretching your resources, it also needs to be about gaining as much enrichment in your life as possible - while not spending, if possible. Contribution is one of the most important, albeit overlooked needs that we have, and joining a group with a mission and purpose outside yourself can achieve just that.
Some of the best groups to join include bush regeneration groups or those that do clean ups in the local area.
Secondly, these sorts of group create a sense of camaraderie and give you a place to socialize with people who are passionate about the things that you are. It's a good way to meet someone with whom you may forge a lasting friendship, or even a relationship.
In addition, these groups often offer little additional perks like free morning teas or complimentary t shirts, etc as a thank you for your efforts. You will also learn more about your local area and the cause in which you are involved. If outdoor activities are not your thing, think knitting circles for charity, or volunteer at an animal shelter.
6. Make Frugal Friends
It's important to be around other people. But if your friends are hosting expensive dinner parties, you are going to feel a little out of place - not to mention unwilling to reciprocate! Like with anything in life, it's important to surround ourselves with people who have the same goals as we do - to keep us focused on what's important to us.
During your time volunteering with local groups you will meet lots of people. Hopefully you will be able to connect with people who want to live their lives like you do.
For those dubious about seeking out people based on their desire to live cheaply, relax. It could be the best thing you ever do. After all, the people that you meet may provide you with the most genuine relationships you have ever had, as they won't be based on trying to impress or outdo each other. People who live frugally tend to be creative, rather than stingy, and often are equipped with many valuable skills that they may be happy to share with you.
Things For Frugal Friends To Do Together
Having frugal friends also means that you will learn even more ways to live frugally with their assistance. Some useful frugal projects for friends include the following:
- Join a community garden. You will swap your hard work for what is almost free food that will be fresher than anything you can get in the store.
- Organize a co-operative with other frugal people - Friends take turns buying bulk vegetables, fruit or other items which are then split with the group. This allows you to access the savings of buying in large amounts, that you wouldn't be able to enjoy if you bought only for yourself.
- Become brewing buddies. If you still enjoy your tipple, but want a way to have it that won't blow your budget, get together with your friend and invest in a distilling setup. You will have cheap drinks and a friend to share them with for a long time to come.
4. Trade resources. Share your harvest of home veggies for a few jars of your friends homemade marmalade.
5. Learn a skill together by watching free online videos. An example of this could be juggling, learning to weave, practicing yoga, self-defense or learning a dance form that requires partners..
7. Pursue Lifestyle..Frugally
Many of us think we need to have 'things' to have quality of lifestyle. That's simply not true. At this point in the frugal journey you have learnt to be more self-sufficient by acquiring more skills, having free and cheap hobbies, getting free entertainment, socializing through good causes and make friends who share your frugal aspirations. Now you want to make sure you make lifestyle your focus. This is important because it helps you to re-align your focus from 'stuff' to experiences. Collect experiences - not stuff. Which is where you get the real richness from life!
And the people who share those values will enrich your life even further.
Frugal Lifestyle Ideas
- Arrange a picnic at a nearby riverside or park with your new frugal friends
- Plan group nature walks in your area to meet even more people and get some free exercise
- Arrange a swap-meet. People can bring garden produce, homemade jams, pot plants, homemade cloth shopping bags and other useful things that can be made at home free or cheap.
- Potluck Dinners - instead of going out for expensive meals alone, arrange gatherings with friends who each bring a pot. It's like having a buffet - for the price of a pot of whatever you can rustle up.
- Challenge a frugal friend to a game of chess at an outdoor table at your local park. Bring a big flask of hot chocolate or herbal tea to share.
- Have a pamper night with a special friend. Give them a massage or draw a hot bath. Cheap but delightful pleasures!
- Have a movie night at your house. Throw cushions and blankets around for comfort. Popcorn is super cheap and you can have your friends bring something to drink.
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