If you want to start your frugal living journey but are new to this approach of living then you are in the right place! I have compiled a list of 9 ways to start living frugally for beginners.
Here are some tips for the newly frugal, whether it be debt that got you to this point or you just need a lifestyle change.
Living the frugal lifestyle was not something that I fell about intentionally! Not by a long shot! The frugal life found me. At a point of financial desperation. There was no choice! I had to face the consequences of my financial habits.
Frugal living was no longer an option for me it was the only answer. Trust me you are not the only one who is in this place or has been there. I know what it is like to have not option but to find a feasible way to make ends meet while still living a comfortable lifestyle, and I am going to share my journey with you! I was desperate and clumsy in the beginning. Essentially I was resentful towards my new lifestyle. My frugal lifestyle. So if that where you are at don’t worry frugal living doesn’t have to be permanent it just has to solve the problem first!
I didn’t know this then but, I learned later that frugal living is an excellent lifestyle. With all, it’s learning curves and financial benefits I discovered that it could actually make me happier!
Frugal Living Is Not All Or Nothing Ladies
I promise there is no set benchmark to “making it” in the frugal world.
Frugality is more a series of wise financial choices because even the smallest of changes in your day to day life can have you reaping incredible payoffs money wise.
Save yourself a heap of money in the long run by diving into the frugal lifestyle.
As I said already frugal living doesn’t have to last forever, it could simply mean just making a few changes now to help you save a couple of bucks of pay off pesky DEBT. There are always things you can do to cut down on expenses.
Ladies don’t forget it is always having a plan, being consistent, and following through that will have glorious rewards.
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1. Develop An ATTAINABLE Budget
First starting out I had no idea how to budget. How do you start? Where do you start? I had no clue where all of my hard-earned money was going each month. It seemed every month there was something unexpected that I would come up, and I was stuck dishing out the money for it. Calculating the unexpected into a budget helped me stay on track.
Mapping out my expenses was a lifesaver. You will not be successful at living frugally if you don’t have a set budget to live by. A budget is necessary and unavoidable for living frugally. You must first simply write out your total household income and total expenses. There can be no guess spending only strategic spending.
Every purchase should be accounted for and fall under your budget categories.
Failure to develop a budget is absolutely detrimental to living frugally. (I should know I failed multiple times.)
All of my failed attempts to live frugal stemmed directly from not putting in the necessary time and effort to build a budget that would work for me. For tips and tricks on creating a successful budget check My Six-Step Guide To Budgeting. Don’t forget to grab your free budgeting binder.
2. STOP Unnecessary Spending
A key contributor to keeping your budget on track is cutting any unnecessary and frivolous spending. Now is the time to find out all of the bad financial spending habits that have brought you to living frugally.
Personally, it was a junk food habit for me! I love chocolate!! I would send my husband to the dollar store( my attempt to be savvy) to pick me up a little something weekly. That wasn’t the only problem though, another was the fact that he never just stuck with what I asked him to pick up. There was always way more junk food than what I asked for as well as anything else he found while browsing. ( Not good for the wallet or the waistline.)
We were spending about $20 at the dollar store each week!!! In a year that adds up to a grand total of $1040!!!! That is $1040 worth of useless spending non-necessities.
Only once I made a budget I realized where my money was going and what I was spending it on. I didn’t know it was a problem because I was not keeping a budget. All those small purchases really add up quickly. This was not the only place where we were spending unnecessarily.
Dissolving those bad habits of wasteful spending is the key to achieving a frugal lifestyle you can stick to long-term.
3. Create Spending BOUNDARIES Or Your Not Living Frugal
I have the will power of a small child in a toy store! That being said eliminating frivolous spending was extremely difficult when I began my frugal lifestyle. Setting boundaries is a major factor in making frugal living easier and succeeding.
What does setting barriers mean? It means making it harder to spend money on unnecessary things.
Such things include unsubscribing from magazines, making list before going to the store, canceling store credit cards, canceling memberships that you pay for each month, limit shopping trips to once a week. The less you go to the store the less you will buy. The purpose of boundaries is to make spending money a challenge instead of simple.
Struggling with boundaries is common. You are not alone. Some things that can help with this are finding joy in “free” things, or maybe learning to cook more budget-friendly meals at home.
4. Live With What You Already HAVE
Making the most of what you already have can go a long way to stretching your budget. It is time to tighten up even more with your frugal lifestyle. You’ve got your budget now but let’s not stop there.
We need to start making great use of the resources available to us. Sometimes that can require a lot of creativity. Some DIY item suggestions are making your own cleaning solutions, and face masks. Learning how to cook on a budget and how to have fun without spending loads of money can be a very rewarding skill to obtain.
A huge factor in living with what you already have is finding happiness with what you’ve got!
5. Allow Yourself Some FUN Even When Living Frugal
Everyone deserves to have some fun and go out every once in a while so don’t deprive yourself of socialization and a good time. Instead, choose activities that you can easily keep in your budget. Think smart when spending.
An alternative to spending $20-$30 on a movie, rent one on apple tv or stick to Netflix, you could also consider taking advantage of movie times that are discounted. Another possible way to save a chunk of change is forfeiting a dinner out with friends and switching it with a meeting for coffee. It is a lot cheaper and you still get to catch up.
In your budget plan, you need to set aside an allotted amount of money each month solely dedicated to entertainment. You need to achieve balance in life so you can live within your means and enjoy life. Without a good budget balance, you will burn yourself out fast.
6. Prioritize Saving
A big mistake that is commonly made before you start your frugal lifestyle is not prioritizing your savings, or even having a savings plan. Any of my extra income was always spent do to my lack of budgeting. However, savings is supposed to be used as a tool to prepare for the future, such as financial emergencies. That is what your budget is for. Your budget is meant to cover your day-to-day expenses, not your savings.
When you prioritize your savings, you take a vital step in learning the ins and outs of living frugally. Even if it is only a little you should always be contributing to your savings every month. $5.00- $20.00 is better than nothing. Following this saving strategy will prepare you for financial situations you can not foresee, such as health emergencies, and unexpected expenses that are not covered in your planned budget.
One way you can do this is by automating your savings.
You can use apps that round-up all your change from purchases you make daily. Some apps even allow you to make weekly deposits into your savings account all automatically. By automating my savings, I am ensuring it remains a priority.
7. Work On WILLPOWER
One of the hardest things when you first start living frugally is learning to say “no’ to yourself. I struggled and struggled with this portion of saving for a long time. Even though it is challenging at first, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
You have the power within yourself to say no to spending unnecessary money. Peer pressure and social pressure can be very difficult to overcome, but you are the only one who can spend your money. Nobody else can force you, you have the power. That is why the sole responsibility of saying no to yourself is a must-learn a tip for the newly frugal.
Setting yourself limits will go along way to keeping you accountable to your goals. For example, limit your number of outings allowed for each month, be reasonable with yourself. As soon as you reach your limit, all other opportunities are a “no.” Setting expectations for yourself in advance can make saying no easier and more natural for you.
8. Set Realistic Goals
Remember I said I hated frugal living to the point of resentment. That was because I lacked organization, goals, and appropriate knowledge. Giving up seemed like an easier option. I was always falling short of what I needed to succeed.
This why setting achievable goals is so important. There must something pushing you to not give up. Something pushing you towards your personal goals. This is not an overnight task. You need to put in the work and apply yourself to changing your lifestyle. Small steps are better than nothing. Keep working towards your goals!
Review your budget monthly, and set a new goal. But you must make sure it is attainable. If you have something bigger to work towards, when you have setbacks you will be less likely to give up and keep pushing forward. Failure is not an option.
I hope these 8 hacks will give you the encouragement you need to make your transition to frugal living a little bit easier. Frugal living is not a sprint, it is a looooooong marathon with many ups and downs and twists and turns.
But you can be successful! Believe in the power of a budget!