In these tough times, it’s good to be frugal because when we tighten our belts where it doesn’t matter, we get to enjoy life a lot more. Living the frugal lifestyle is not always smooth sailing, but it’s a case of realizing that it is a lifestyle choice rather than a cost-cutting fad that the family doesn’t commit to for more than a month. If you are confident everyone in the household is on board, you should get your frugal budget in order. Sometimes it’s a good idea to include other members of your household in this process because they get to see where everyone is sacrificing a little for the greater good.
Sorting the Budget – Expenses you can or can’t Change
Some expenses are fixed payments so there is not much you can do about those. Mortgages, car payments and the usual household bills that you are already committed to will remain on your budget. At this point though, you should start writing expenses in another column that have some manoeuvrability.
This is where the family discussion usually becomes animated and people start realising it’s their luxuries that are in the firing line. Extra TV sports subscriptions are justifiable during football season if it saves money by not going out to watch the game; but if cricket isn’t on the TV much in the summer, why are you paying for it? Do you really need the movie package or would you be just as happy paying £4.99 per month with Lovefilm or other film streaming services?
Money Advice for the Food Shopping Budget
The weekly shop is one of the most expensive spends in every household, but how much is thrown out at the end of each week? Do you buy premium brand products when you should consider a no-frills option? This is where you make or break your frugal living regime because food shopping bills are the place where most homes are able to save something substantial each week. You don’t need to be over the top, but certain things like staple foods of bread, rice and potatoes can often mount up when you don’t take notice of your purchases. Obviously, you can save a small amount on the things you eat most, but that is pointless if you are not prepared to cut out expensive treats that have become the norm.
How You Eat
You can save a great deal if you are prepared to sit down together and eat together. When you all eat at different times, you need more convenient food and that’s what costs more at the shops. You also burn more gas or electricity when you cook at different times for different people. Even if you need to cook a meal for everyone all at once and then reheat the meal in a microwave, then your fuel and food bills will come down considerably. Teenage kids are the hardest of all to get on board with the right foods, but when you fill your cupboard with junk, they will happily live on that instead of towing the frugal line.
Use of Time
When you have cut back all you can, the only thing left to do is make more of your time. I’m not suggesting you sweep the floor with a brush or wash clothes by hand to save on electricity; but you can run your washing machine overnight and peg clothes to dry on a washing line rather than washing and drying through the day. You actually pay less for electricity at night that in the daytime and you may not save enough for a summer holiday; but at least you are getting in to the right habits so that the combination of savings may make a difference.