There is no dignity quite so impressive and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.
As a family of six, I aim to be more frugal in most of my choices. When you think of all of the expenses that a family has, you realize that those expenses can add up!
It doesn’t matter what type of income you and your family has, adopting some of these frugal habits will help you!
These choices don’t have to be about money. I like to add frugal habits to my life and become more intentional about my choices.
It’s also nice to set financial goals Developing money habits that help your family is a nice goal and something that will benefit your family.
So, here are 10 frugal habits that will help you.
Plan ahead with meal planning
Fast food might be fun and convenient, but those small trips can add up! Begin by creating a menu plan. Know what you are going to eat for the majority of the week. A slow cooker, or crock pot, is a handy investment and really helps with the cooking process. I use mine ALL the time!
I also like to put in a fast food meal or treat in once or twice in the week. That way the kids and I can enjoy something difference and I won’t have to plan to cook every single meal.
Buy in bulk
Non-perishable food and other household items can be bought in large quantities. Plan out what you are going to need in terms of canned goods and other supplies and shop sales.
Hand soap and other toiletry supplies can be bought at a discount if you buy in bulk as well.
The fun advantage to buying in bulk is to not have to rush to the grocery store once a week. Having a supply built up can really help you save time AND money.
Think long-term when it comes to family finances
Being frugal with finances also means planning out the next 10 years for where you want your money to go and how you are going to increase your income.
Be sure to plan out a long-term perspective over your finances. It is a huge aspect of how people who live frugally are able to afford items and stay out of debt.
This adds up not only in the day to day choices (eating from home rather than going out to eat) but also in the yearly decisions (buying a home or renting).
This also helps with debt. If you want to begin saving your money for larger purchases, begin by being frugal and paying off the debt that you owe.
Ask the right questions before you make a purchase
Are you thinking about making a bigger purchase? A car or a home? What kind of questions are you asking before you make that purchase?
How much a month is it going to cost? Can I afford that much?
What about other questions like how does it work? Is this efficient for what I need? Do I truly need this? Is there a cheaper option available?
Think and plan before you spend large amounts of money.
Know where your money is going
Always have a budget. Know how much a month goes towards rent and utilities. While utilities can fluctuate, you can at least round out how much you think you will owe or based off of how much you paid last month.
Your budget should also include other expenses such as entertainment, gas, and food.
I try to over-budget each month because little purchases always seem to come up that I wasn’t expecting. And if nothing new comes up, then I have extra money that we can save or use for a treat.
Keep It Simple
Don’t plan out some fancy frugal lifestyle that you can’t handle. Want to bake every meal from scratch but you can barely cook one meal a week? Then the leap from once a week to every meal, 3 times a day might be too much for you.
Start small and work your way up. Try one home cooked meal a week and see how well you are able to keep up. Doing too much at once might annoy you before you even really get started on a frugal lifestyle.
Take care of what you already have
Part of being frugal means that you appreciate what you already have and you take care of it. Buying the latest new toys might be fun, but they can add up to a lifestyle that you can’t necessarily afford.
Be frugal in how you take care of what you own. Take care of your electronic gadgets. Make sure to look over your vehicles and home. They will last a lot longer if they are taken care of and you will appreciate not buying a new item just because the old one broke for the second time.
Worry about what you are doing and not what you are buying
Life is stressful! This is pretty much a fact. Work can wear you out. Family life can become a stress factor. When you add these little stresses on top of one another, life can become too much and you will look for ways to relieve that stress.
Most times, shopping can become an outlet for relieving stress. The pleasure of buying something new can be a fun way to take your mind off of things you are worried about.
If you want to become more frugal, it’s important that you take note of whether you act on this fun habit and whether it is hurting you financially.
Begin by picking stress-free activities that don’t cost anything and will allow you to relax. Start an exercise routine. Read a book. Make a cup of hot tea and sit on the porch. Sometimes just doing nothing is a great stress reliever.
Live below your means
This used to be hard for me. I never had a budget and so I never knew how much I could spend and how much I had to save.
Know what your income is and make sure that you don’t spend over that. This goes in hand with no debt. Debit cards allow you to spend money you don’t have. I had a HUGE credit card addiction and now I am literally paying for it!
Budget out a small amount each month for you to play with and leave the rest for bills and savings.
Find free entertainment
Sometimes it’s fun having to be inventive about what type of activities you can do with your family!
Since we have been low on money, we have had to get creative about where we take the kids. There are several nice parks around our area and the kids love to run around and burn energy.
There are a TON of ideas for free entertainment! Have a picnic at the park, take a walk, ride your bikes around town, find a local museum or go walk around some shops and window shop. Go check out your library! Stay inside and watch a movie or TV show that you already own.
I hope these ideas have been helpful! Adopting frugal habits can be frustrating at times, especially if you are used to a different way of doing things.
If you are just starting out, try one idea a week and see if being more frugal sits well with you. Being frugal has helped my family immensely!