Often, saving money isn’t so much about the big things, but changing the way you spend money on a day-to-day basis. Of course, your shelter and transportation costs are going to be big expenditures. It makes sense to keep them as trim as possible, such as buying a used car, taking public transportation, or living in a more affordable neighborhood, but in this respect, the choices available may be limited.
When you’re not in a position to save on those bigger life expenses, you have to look at your everyday habits and learn how to embrace frugal living.
Change Your Mindset About Spending
Frugal living isn’t just about budgeting and controlling your spending. It’s about changing the way you think about money and spending. It’s about feeling positive about your financial decisions, not held back by the constraints of a budget. It’s a way of prioritizing your spending so you can do and own the things you really want in life.
You gain more financial independence when you live frugally. You can choose your priorities and what you spend money on, such as:
- Saving for a vacation;
- Investing money for early retirement;
- Getting out of debt once and for all;
- Buying the home of your dreams.
When you have a goal or something to look forward to, it can give you more purpose. You’ve got a reason to do things like bring your own lunch to work or deciding not to buy that new outfit. You’ll be able to spend money on the things you find more meaningful in life.
Quick Tips for Frugal Living
The great thing about saving money in your everyday life is that there are some really easy wins. If you can make these a regular habit, you’ll be in business. The time it takes to form a habit really depends on the individual and the habit in question, but with the right motivation, you can make it happen. Here are some quick places you can start saving right away:
- Cook at home and make a meal plan. When you plan out several nights’ worth of meals, you can minimize food waste.
- Buy used. Between local thrift stores and online marketplaces, there are plenty of opportunities for saving on essentials.
- Lower your energy consumption by learning when peak periods are in your area, making sure the dishwasher is full before you run it, and adjusting your thermostat.
- Make your coffee at home. Takeout coffee is the number one target of financial advisors helping people stick to their budgets.
- Hold onto your receipts and don’t be afraid to return products you regret or that aren’t everything you hoped they would be.
- Save on transportation by walking or taking a bike when possible. Even if you rely on your car to get to work, do you need it to do your neighborhood errands?
- Check out the library when you want to read a new book or magazine. You can even rent movies and read the paper there. You might be surprised just how much your local library can save you on entertainment costs.
These are all easy ways to save a bit of money here and there. Remember, it all adds up, and at the end of the month, you might be surprised how much progress you’ve made.