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Simple Tips for Frugal Living
Frugal Living is a Lifestyle
Frugal living is something that comes naturally to me.. or rather, it is how I was raised and I often forget that I know how to do anything special!
Frugal living is about making choices about what is important to you, and learning to compare deals to find the best prices on what you want. It is not about going without, but simply choosing what to use.
So much about frugal living just makes good common sense. So often frugal living in naturally green, and good for the environment too.
Let's explore a few ways to save money.
Turn it off.
This is a really hard one. When you leave the room, turn off the light. When the television show is over, turn off the set. When you aren't using the computer, put it to sleep, let it hibernate, or turn it off. Today's systems are designed to be turned off.. they do some important clean up work when they turn off. You know that space heater you have in the bedroom because it is so cold at night? Turn it off when you get up! There is no point to running it while you are out of the house.. or even the room!
Pretty simple, but worth saying again! Turn it off when you are not using it!
The Same Goes For The Water!
Save money on your water bill by learning to turn it off. No really, make sure your faucets are not dripping.
You can even save money on the water used outside by landscaping your yard with plants that belong in your climate. Seems like a simple statement, but living in the Sonoran and Mohave deserts over the last few years has made me painfully aware of how many people don't think about this. Really folks, green grass is not supposed to grow in some places!
Clean water is a precious natural resource.. don't waste it.
Heating and Cooling
Is your heating bill giving you the shivers? Does your air conditioning bill make you sweat?
Save money on your heating bill by turning the thermostat a couple of degrees cooler in the cold weather, and a couple of degrees warmer in the warm weather. A couple of degrees will not effect you anywhere near as much as it will your bill! Wearing a sweater when it is chilly, and lighter weight clothing when it is hot will compensate for the temperature difference. And just think.. it is a chance to be fashionable while staying comfortable!
A Bright Idea
Here's a bright idea! This is a product that everyone uses.
Light bulbs! This is not an area where you want to scrimp when you are buying. Buying those funny swirly CFL bulbs are the way to go. They will save you money over the long term, and be better for the environment!
Even better is to invest in some decent Daylight Bulbs. These light bulbs will produce a light that is healthier for your body. They are designed to produce a light in the same color spectrum as the sun. Especially if you are spending large amounts of time indoors, or during the parts of the year when the sun does not shine as often, these bulbs will help to lift your spirits!
Energy Star Compliant Electronics
This one seems pretty basic, but when you are looking to buy a new electronic appliance, AND you are looking to save money, a lot of times the price tag gets in the way of the continuing expense. Make sure that your new appliance comes with that cute little star showing it's energy effecient. Then notice how much less energy that model next to it uses! That energy effeciency compliant star rating will save you money each and every month over the lifetime of the product. That is worth looking for!
We All Eat..
The price of food just keeps going up, but there are things you can do to save money. Look for the store brands, or the generic products. So often these foods are simpler versions of the name brands that taste just if good, and so often even better! Don't pass them by just because the package is a bit plain.
Are there items that you use each month? These are items you may want to consider buying in bulk. Keep an eye on the price per unit cost though. Grocery stores have gotten wise to the buy in bulk advice, and they are not always the cheapest anymore. Make sure you check that price per unit to get the best deal.
The grocery stores send out the weekly ads in the newspaper flyers each week. Even better, you can find your local ad right online on the store's website. Go through these flyers looking for the best prices and your favorite products being used as the loss leaders. Loss leaders are those items that they sell for incredible prices on the front page.
Most people will tell you to use coupons, but not me. I have found that in order to use the coupons, you have to buy those products that are not good for your health, or cost way too much to begin with. I find that paying full price for the store brand is usually cheaper than coupons on the name brands.
Don't confuse paper coupons with the cents off using your store discount card. Sign up for all of those! I have often saved more money than I have spent thanks to those little cards on my keychain!
In addition to that, those fresh fruit and vegetables that are so healthy for you.. there aren't coupons for those. That is true for that fresh meat to. Learn to shop the outside of the store. Fresh food, better prices, better health.
Plan It Out
Especially if you are going to be driving out of the way to get to the store, or in my case, need to drive into town, plan your shopping trip and route to save gas money. There is nothing worse than making five trips to the store in one week to run up the gas bill. Make a list, check it twice.. okay just plan to get everything you need in one trip!
It's In The Bag!
Here's a nifty one for you. Take your own bags to the grocery stores. Just about every store sells reusable bags with their name on them. The really nice thing is.. most stores will give you a bag credit for bringing your own bags in.. whether they have that store's name on them or not.
Don't be shy, ask for this credit. A lot of cashiers forget about it.. I guess the idea is fairly new in some places. If the store doesn't offer a bag credit, plant the idea in their head. Remond them how they will be doing their part to save the environment. Most places give a 5 cents a bage credit.
Do you always forget to bring the bags when you go to the store? Learn to keep them in your trunk. They will always be on hand that way!