What can be more enticing than the very thought of living your life carefree and with enough money set aside to pursue your passions? Sounds like something out of a dream, but, the truth of the matter is that, not enough of us manage to maintain our composure when the bills come a-knocking.
Try as we might, but at the end of each month, our money does seem to find a way to fly away from our wallets, leaving us with more questions than answers.
Luckily, there are ways to cut back on these costs without giving up the things you enjoy doing. Have you heard about this relatively new gig called frugal living? It’s a witty, effective, and entertaining way of saving money, by knowing what to do and, most importantly, when to do it.
This quick guide will teach you the basics of how to embrace frugality, welcome it into your house, and adopt a totally new lifestyle.
Step 1: Switch Off the Electricity when Leaving the House.
It’s a grand idea to switch off the electricity while leaving the house because accidents happen, there’s also a way here to save some money. Ever heard about vampire draw or phantom electricity? No, it’s not the title of a low-budget horror production, but something that has to do with home appliances, like washing machines, dryers, computers.
A quick explanation is that electrical devices are designed to draw a low amount of power even if they are switched off or in a standby mode. This may not seem like much, but, in the long run, you will see that this peculiar phenomenon has rightly earned its name of ‘vampire draw.’
Furthermore, according to TreeHugger report, this electrical energy vampirized by common household electronics, reaves the US consumer of $19 billion each year.
Bottom line: switch off the electricity every time you leave the house to save more money in the long run (believe it or not, about $100 per year).
Step 2: Cut back on your food costs by making Homemade Foods.
Going back to the idea of becoming a supermarket regular, why not take that extra step and prepare your very own food. There are some marvelous and delicious cold meats recipes on the web, easy enough to make and cost only a modicum of the amount you would usually spend buying this type of food from the supermarket.
Just to have an idea on how much is spent on food, according to a Business Insider article, an US household spends, on average, at least $7,000 per year, with “eating out” taking the most out of your dough (about $3000!).
Subsequently, if you choose to produce your own food instead of buying it from the supermarket, you would have cut that cost in half.
Baking your own bread is also a good way to bank some extra cash at the end of the month and, let’s be fair – who can resist that divine smell of freshly-baked bread?
Step 3: Grow Your Own Veggies (for homeowners with a generous backyard)
And now for your daily dose of whimsicalness, brought to you straight from Jamie Oliver. Why should you spend time going to the green market or wasting a lot of time purchasing greens with poor nutritious value from the supermarket when you can grow them in your backyard?
Fresh veggies should be the cornerstone of every meal, and having a garden of your own will place these marvels at your fingertips. You can grow all kinds of stuff, from cabbage, carrots, to potatoes, onions, and parsley.
What’s even greater is that this kind of investment doesn’t cost that much and, with the proper know-how, you won’t have to go to the supermarket every week.
According to an investment report from Joe.org, a typical vegetable garden costs around $240 (including gardening utensils, seeds, and other materials used to build it), and it returns $680 worth of products.
You can also deep-freeze the harvested veggie and keep them in sealed bags to enjoy over the winter.
Step 4: Property Maintenance Should Be a Priority.
A good piece of advice on how to save more money in the long run is to adopt a new mantra – house maintenance. A well-maintained living space will deteriorate at a slower pace, which means that you won’t have to spend a great deal of money on property repairs. Give the walls a good coat of paint every two years, replace the wall sockets once every five years, check the bathroom appliances, and take good care of your lawn.
Step 5: Become a Handyman Instead of Hiring One.
Computer bricks, the air conditioner stops working, and the washing machine won’t stop making that awful noise. Who you gonna call? The handyman, of course. Wrong! If anyone can learn how to fix a faulty piece of machinery or a broken electrical wire, so can you.
Maintenance companies usually charge quite a lot when it comes to repairing broken items around the house. And, to tell the truth, why should you bother learning to fix things yourself, when a phone call can do the trick?
Well, that usually costs a lot of cash, money you can very well spend on something else. The obvious solution is to become yourself the handyman. And with a reliable Internet connection, you will be able to learn to repair virtually any household item just by looking at a couple of YouTube clips.
To get an idea of how much you would have spent if you were to call a handyman, according to a Homeadvisor report, a household owners can spend anywhere between $182 and $636 if the choose to call a handyman for repairs.
Step 6: Ditch Cable TV for a Reliable Internet Plan
Tired of all of those reruns on TV, cheesy soap operas or last year’s baseball game? Then it’s high time to make a change. Instead of having to pay a heap-load of money on cable TV just to get 200 channels of nothing but white noise, consider ditching your TV plan and choosing an Internet plan which covers all your needs.
HughesNet Satellite Internet, the ISP with the biggest satellite in history, have wallet-friendly plans, high-speed connections, and with a monthly subscription to video streaming websites, you won’t ever have to waste an extra dime on cable television.
Thinking of how much you can save on switching to a simple Internet-based plan? According to a cable TV report published by Reviews.com, by simply choosing to put together your cable and Internet plan, you can save up to $30 each month
Step 7: Use Your Bike Instead of the Car.
Although the car is a homestead’s best friend, do keep in mind that the maintenance fees and gas bills can become quite bothersome if you add them together. We’re not saying that you should totally give up your car, as the maintenance costs can skyrocket in this case, but you can sure save a lot of gas money by simply using your bike more often.
You can potentially save roughly $2,000 per year, by simply choosing to ride your bike instead of using your car, according to an insightful analysis conducted by Forbes.
It’s easy to maintain, health-friendly, and last, but not least, a marvelous way to get around the town, especially during the dreadful rush hours.
Step 8: Give Up Smoking
Apart from the obvious health concerns such as heart attacks, lung or throat cancer, smoking is one of the most expensive vices out there. We know that this is not something you can do over the night and it’s not easy at all, but its benefits outstretch far beyond the health implications, meaning that your pocket will thank you from the bottom of its fabric.
As a result, according to a rentability study published by the Quit Smoking Community, a heavy smoker can save more than $2,000 per year if he used to smoke at least 2 packs per day.
There are many ways to achieve this, but, apparently, quitting cold turkey is the most efficient and cheapest method of quitting compared to behavioral therapy or medication.
Step 9: Low-Cost exercising.
It would be irrelevant to enumerate the health benefits of exercising on a daily basis, considering that there’s literally a ton of material available on the subject. However, what you didn’t know is that you can save quite a lot of that hard-earned cash by staying in shape. ‘How can that be?’, you ask yourself.
Consider this chain of facts: if you don’t exercise, you won’t stay in shape, and your health will rapidly deteriorate. When this happens, you would have to see a doctor to get better. A trip to the hospital equals a hefty bill that you will be compelled to pay. It’s as simple as that! Exercise now to avoid paying unnecessary hospital bills.
And there are tons of ways to do that, without having to purchase an expensive gym membership card. According to an expense article published by MarketWatch, such a gym card can cost between $50 and $200 per month.
Try simple calisthenics, fashion dumbbells out of empty bottles, go jogging in the park. It’s entirely up to you.
Step 10: Don’t Forget to Share your Frugal Experiences with Others.
The last lesson in frugality and, perhaps, the most important one is learning that sharing is caring. Have you had any pleasant memories after switching to a more frugal lifestyle? Then do yourself a favor and share your opinions with your friends, family members, and, why not, with total strangers who are interested in this topic.
Remember that frugality is not all about holding back or giving up in order to have more; it’s about relearning to the same things you love, living a healthy and decent life, and stop worrying about money.