Living with the word ‘budget’ hanging over your head everyday isn’t a very nice way to live, and besides the stress that financial worries can cause, living on a budget often leads to families favoring the cheap option over the frugal one. After all, being frugal is about making the most of your money and not always going with the least expensive option!
Cutting corners is great; just be sure you’re cutting the right ones!
Taking care of your family is obviously going to be your top priority, so you’re not going to want to skimp on the essentials; however, there are loads of little ways in which you can streamline your spending and make lots of little –and not-so-little – savings that can really add up in the long-term:
- Take advantage of special offers at the supermarket by cooking in bulk and freezing batches for use throughout the next week or two. This way, you can still eat plenty of fresh meats and vegetables but at a vastly reduced cost.
- As well as cooking in bulk, learn to cook generally! If you can whip up a delicious, restaurant-standard meal for your friends and family, you won’t have to spend as much money on expensive nights out, with the added benefit of everyone coming to you so you don’t have to waste fuel!
- Rather than paying for commercial cleaning products, why not try making your own? Simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda can be used to clean pretty much every part of your home, including tiled surfaces, faucets, kitchenware, drains, stained fabrics, coffee mugs, and so much more.
- Check parts of your home that could help bring down your energy costs. Things like cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, pipes, and boilers are all worth checking for damage or general wear and tear because oftentimes you can make cheap minor repairs that will save you a pretty penny over time.
- Set yourself a weekly or monthly budget, calculating your expenses and allocating funds to the things you and your family need before anything else. This is a simple and effective way of determining how much disposable income you’ll have available each month so you don’t find yourself overspending.
- There are countless ways of saving money when it comes to entertainment – encourage your children to trade games with friends instead of buying them; use services like Netflix instead of buying DVDs; and download your music in digital format instead of buying CDs.
- Learn to adopt a mindset of “if I can’t afford it right now, I can’t have it right now.” With this approach, you’ll be less likely to rely on credit cards and loans to afford the things you want immediately. Set a certain amount of money aside each month for savings, be patient, and you’ll have the money to pay in full rather than accumulating unnecessary debts.
- Avoid using a drier for your laundry. A $10 clotheshorse provides a ridiculously high return on investment, even if it only lasts for one year, while a drier will be using electricity and requiring periodic maintenance or even replacement. This is also a good time to suggest washing your clothes less often; obviously you don’t want to walk around smelling, but try making some of your clothes last just one day longer before washing them and imagine the savings you’ll make on electricity and detergent over the course of a year.
Readers: What frugal tips would you like to share?