With the faltering United States economy in a downward spiral, many Americans are vowing to cut back on our spending. We are all concentrating on paying off those credit cards and getting our finances back on track.
I’ve been collecting frugal living tips since I was 12 years old. In the 60’s there was a “back-to-the-land” movement and we asked our grandparents (and other old timers) to share their own money-saving tips. Some of us listened.
The financial climate in my family has always been feast or famine. With my collection of frugal living tips, we were able to raise three children, and none of them ever starved or went to school looking like a ragbag. They attended proms and homecomings and played an extremely high level of soccer. We were even able to afford some Arabian horses.
My frugal living tips also helped us buy ten acres in southwest Florida, build a home and pay it off in 15 years.
The whole reason for implementing frugal living tips and techniques is to learn when and how to skimp, so you can have a more satisfying lifestyle.
My children now embrace many of the frugal living tips we practiced over the years. It’s enabled them to put themselves through college, buy cars and a motorcycle, travel the world, buy a home and pay off student loans early. Don’t you want the same for your kids? One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to teach them how to live within their means.
The problem with putting your budget on a diet is the same one we struggle with when we put ourselves on a diet … it gets real old, real fast. Dieting for just a few days makes us feel deprived and resentful. These frugal living tips will show you little ways to save that aren’t painful.
Cutting back on frivolous spending is a habit that takes a little time to develop. Most self help experts advise that it takes 21 to 30 days to establish a new habit. Be diligent. If you fall off the wagon, climb right back on. My frugal living tips will help you take positive steps towards controlling your spending.
Here are 5 frugal living tips that will help you start saving today:
1) Don’t order a beverage when you eat out in restaurants. Two days ago, my husband and I had breakfast at IHOP. We ordered two cups of coffee. They cost $1.99 a piece. We would have been happy with water. Sometimes even I forget my own frugal living tips.
Many of you dine out several times a week. The average cost of a beverage is $1.50. By eliminating one beverage a day, you’ll save $45 over the month.
2) Stop using paper towels. The average household of four uses four rolls of paper towels a week. Teenagers are notorious for unwinding half a roll to clean up a spill on the kitchen floor.
Exam your dresser drawers and find all the rag-tag t-shirts, towels and linens that are at the end of their useful life. Cut or tear them up into manageable pieces and store them underneath the sinks in the kitchen and the bathrooms. Train yourself to reach for them to clean up spills. You can wash them and reuse or if it’s a particularly nasty mess, just throw it away.
Go to a dollar store and invest a few bucks in some hand towels for the kitchen. Learn to dry your hands on these towels instead of automatically reaching for the paper ones. Or try out those micro fiber type cleaning clothes that you can find at the grocery store.
One of my favorite frugal living tips: It’s cheaper and cleaner to use newspapers to wash windows, instead of paper towels. Newspaper leaves no lint behind.
The average cost of a roll of paper towels is $1.87 roll. Switch to cloth and save $29.92 this month.
3) Break the “Get a Cup of Coffee on My Way to Work” syndrome. The average small coffee is $1.35. The average cost of a tall cappuccino is $2.55. If you only work five days a week, a coffee fiend will save $27 over a month and a cappuccino junkie will pocket $45.92.
4) Bring your lunch from home. This is one of those frugal living tips that you hear all the time, but it’s true. Restaurants costs at least twice as much as a brown bag lunch, the portions are either way too big for your necessary caloric intact, or way too small and you get little value for your dollar.
Depending on your location, American’s spend about $6 a day on lunch. You can put together a pretty awesome brown bag lunch for $3. If you do that, you’ll save $60 a month.
5) Grocery shop with a vengeance. Enter that store armed with a menu, a grocery list and a plan for the leftovers. Search out the sales and specials. Lean over and find the best deals on the bottom shelf. Don’t be afraid to experiment with generic products.
“Cutting out junk food” is probably the most mentioned of the frugal living tips and there’s a reason. Junk food has no nutritional value.
Even if you can’t be bothered with coupons, the average household of 4 could cut as much as $30.00 out of their weekly budget, for a month long savings of $120.00.
If you can embrace these frugal living tips for one month, you’ll save at least $279. Does it sound like too much work and a whole lot of sacrifice? What if your spouse gets starts implementing YOUR frugal living tips? What if your spouse also stops ordering beverages, getting that fancy coffee and brown bags the lunch to work? You could save another $132 a month, for a total of $411!
Still not convinced that these simple frugal living tips will really make a difference? If you make these five simple changes, one person would be able to save $3348 over a year. Two people, with the same determination could sock away $4932. Now that’s exciting!