Today, most of us don’t have nearly as much money as we would like. It’d be nice to feel as though you have the cash to pay for a fancy meal every week or go out to the movies with the kids, but the truth is that wages are getting smaller, while expenses are getting bigger.
The good news is that if you learn how to trim your spending more effectively, you can develop a more frugal lifestyle for you and your loved ones, freeing up extra funds to use wherever you need them most. In some cases, you might discover that you don’t even miss the things that you stop buying.
Importantly, being frugal doesn’t have to mean being cheap, either. Instead, living a frugal lifestyle is more about learning to watch where your money goes, tracking your cash, and ensuring you get the best value for each penny.
1. Know How You’re Spending Your Money
Before you can become a frugal spender, you’ll need to figure out how much cash you’re paying out daily. If your earnings tend to vary, then you should come up with an average estimation to help you out. Also, keep an eye on how much comes out of your pay each month. Building a chart that lays all of your expenses each month out in front of you is a great way to see the difference between the cash that’s coming in, and what’s going out on a regular basis.
This baseline knowledge will help you to see if you’re accidentally spending more than you earn, so you can make some significant changes.
2. Live Below your Means
If you’re already living within your means, then you’re in pretty good shape. However, the chances are that you’d be better off if you started to find ways that you can cut your spending even more. By living below your means, you might find that you end up with extra money that you can stash away to invest or save later. By doing this frequently, you should be able to tap into some more significant long-term wealth.
3. Consolidate Your Debts
The easiest way to make sure you know exactly how much cash you’re spending on debt each month is to pay off your credit card debts and loans with one single personal loan. Debt consolidation might not be the ideal solution for everyone, but it can be a simple and effective way to get your spending back on track.
In some cases, you might find that consolidating your loans actually allows you to save some money by cutting down your interest payments. Make sure you compare the different products available to you before choosing a strategy that suits your needs.
4. Focus on Quality
There’s a common misconception out there that being frugal means always choosing the lowest price. However, it’s more about making sure that you get the best value for your money. By spending more for better quality, you’ll be able to save up more cash in the long run, because you won’t have to replace items as frequently.
5. Automate Certain Expenses
Banks can make it a lot easier for you to save and earmark certain funds in your income. By setting up direct debit payments, you can make sure that you never miss an important expense, and you can even set your money up to go into a savings account too so that you’re always putting a bit aside for a rainy day.
6. Stay at Home and Eat for Less
We all know that eating and cooking at home, rather than eating out can save you a lot of money – particularly over the course of a year. However, it’s worth noting that even your home-cooked meals can start to get a little pricey depending on the ingredients you choose.
The best way to keep things frugal is to search for recipes that help you get the most bang for your book. There’s plenty of websites out there that offer hundreds, or even thousands of amazing recipes designed to help you organize your budget.
7. Always Shop Around
Finally, before you purchase any expensive items, make sure that you know you’re getting the best price. While it’s tempting to pick all the things you need up from a single store, the advent of the internet has meant that comparison shopping is simpler and faster than ever before. All you need to do is type a quick search into your phone to find out if you’re getting a great deal.
Don’t simply assume that because something’s on sale, it’s the best price you’re going to get. Look around before you commit to a purchase.