How to be Frugal and Save Money
When you hear the words ‘simple frugal living’, what does your mind conjure up? Do you think, stale bread, small food portions, thrift store clothing, no fun outings, and rough toilet paper? Well, living frugal doesn’t have to be that way.
Dictionary.com defines frugal as: “Economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful: ... .”
Simple frugal living doesn’t mean you are a penny-pinching tightwad, that you are selfish, miserly, stingy, or that you are more concerned with saving a dollar than living life. Simple frugal living is buying what you need, when you need it, and not wasting your money on things that add no value or meaning to you or your family’s life.
This quote, by the founder of Radio Corporation of America, Owen Young, says it all:
“We are not to judge thrift solely by the test of saving or spending. If one spends what he should prudently save, that certainly is to be deplored. But if one saves what he should prudently spend, that is not necessarily to be commended. A wise balance between the two is the desired end.”
Simple Frugal Living Tips for the Home
Following are some of the ways I save money, and stretch my food dollars.
1) Write your grocery shopping list after checking weekly sale prices.
2) Stock up on staples that you normally use, like flour, sugar, can goods, paper goods, etc., when they are on sale.
3) Plan your menu for the week based on the meats and produce that are on sale.
4) Buy larger pieces of meat, and plan several meals using it. (This will also save energy costs as well as time in the kitchen.)
5) Instead of purchasing precooked items, make them at home. For instance, consider what you pay per pound for macaroni salad against what it would cost to make it at home.
6) Bake cakes and other desserts at home, too.
7) Save coupons, and use them.
8) Carry all your coupons with you when you go shopping, just in case you see an unadvertised deal or a close out sale.
9) Have fun with the kids, and save money at the same time. Look for easy kids recipes, and make something together.
10) Join a warehouse store like Costco; I save on every trip I make there. Call to see if you can visit as a guest, and check to see if their deals will work for your family.
11) Stop buying soft drinks, and save a lot of money. Plus, they are not a healthy beverage choice. Instead, make tea and lemonade at home.
12) An excellent dollar stretcher idea is to make casseroles. Casseroles typically require less meat, which will not only save you money, but eating less meat is a better health alternative.
13) Go online, and look for frugal recipes that feature ways to use leftovers. After all, throwing away edible food is wasteful.
14) When refrigerating leftovers, place them in a clear glass bowl. That way, you will be able to see exactly what you have in the refrigerator. No more hidden mystery leftovers.
15) Plant a vegetable garden. Not only will you save money, but also, you will be able to put the freshest and healthiest vegetables on your table. Add an extra plant or two to your garden to share with people who need it. My church has a place where you can put fresh garden produce to share with others. Gardens make an excellent family project. Kids are sometimes more inclined to eat something they grew.
16) Freeze or can goodies from your garden. My garden isn’t large, but I freeze peppers and squash for the winter. I have also canned tomatoes and string beans in past years. And you just can’t beat homemade pickles.
17) When preparing your meals, save vegetable scraps and peelings, and add them to your composter. Those worms really enjoy coffee grounds and tea bags, too.
18) Make a composter in your backyard, work it, and you will get the best possible food for your garden plants. This is a healthy choice, since it will be a chemical free plant food.
19) My family takes assorted vitamins and supplements off and on all year. I use Nature Made Brand products. They have a program whereby you sign-up online, and post a number that is on your bottle. When you acquire enough points, you can get free items or a $7.00 coupon to be used to purchase other Nature Made Products. I look for buy-one-get-one-free specials on these supplements, use my $7.00 coupon, and compound my savings.
20) If your local grocery store offers a gasoline reward program, sign-up for it, and save some money on your gas.
Benjamin Franklin is well known for his words of wisdom. One of his meaningful quotes is: “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”
Simple Frugal Living Tips for When You're Away From Home
We enjoy traveling. But traveling can be an expensive pastime. My husband doesn’t like to fly, so we drive. Following are some tips for saving money when you travel.
21) We always carry a cooler in the car, for water and snacks, so we don’t have to stop and purchase these along the way.
22) We have hotel charge cards that we use, so we can build up points that will eventually entitle us to a free night.
23) Quite often, we eat our large meal in the middle of the day, to take advantage of the smaller portion size lunches and the lunch prices.
24) We belong to several warehouse clubs, and we look for them when we travel, to take advantage of their cheaper gas prices, and to have pictures transferred to DVDs.
Confucius said: “He who does not economize will have to agonize.”
Other Simple Frugal Living Ideas on How to Save Money
Some other tips to save money are:
25) Pay your credit card bills on time, to avoid late fees. This will also improve your credit rating.
26) If you use credit cards, then look for the ones that offer some type of cash back reward, with no annual fee.
27) Contribute funds to your 401k plan to save for retirement; they are a great way to save using before tax dollars.
28) If you get a large refund every year from your taxes, then you should talk with your payroll department, and change your withholding tax. Place this money in a savings account, and earn interest on it, instead of letting the government use it interest free.
29) If you buy your office supplies from Staples, then sign-up for their rewards program, and earn a percentage back that you can spend in their store.
30) Some drug stores offer rewards programs, too. This is another way to get a percentage of what you spend back.
“Take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.”
These simple frugal living tips can easily be applied to your life. I use these tips in running my own household. It is very satisfying to me to spend wisely when I shop, and I enjoy knowing that I came away with a great bargain. After all, the money I save is better than earned money because it will not be taxed. Please share your simple frugal living tips in the comments section below.