There is a misconception that frugal living, means the same thing as living cheap. And while I do have to admit they are certainly similar, there is a big difference in the goal. Being cheap is all about saving money for the sake of having more money. Whereas being frugal is about making what you have go farther. To put it frankly, I have never seen a cheap person be wealthy, but there are tons of millionaires who practice frugal living.
The reason for this is because people who are cheap, are trying to live the best life they can for their dollar. But on the other hand, those who try to be frugal are more about living below their means. The results are that cheap people, always use every last dollar they have in order to get a better life, where the frugal continue to build wealth that will last them a lifetime.
With those differences in mind here are the best tips for frugal living.
Get Your Payments on Schedule
Think about every bill that you have to pay, and make sure that you pay them on time. Think about it like this, for every time you miss a payment, even by one day, you will likely be charged a $35 late fee. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but for some people that is still more than an hour’s work.
Don’t waste your time, and don’t waste your money, get everything all laid out, and plan out a good budget. It can save you a fortune over the course of your life.
Don’t Always Buy the Cheapest
When you are trying to save money, it’s very tempting to buy the cheapest possible items, but that is not always such a good idea. Think about this, you can buy a cheap weed-eater at Sears for about 60 bucks. But it’s not going to last you very long. I know that there are people who bought these and had them die in a single day’s work. Granted, that was putting them through heavy commercial loads, but still, ask yourself what is saving you money, the 60 dollar weed-eater that lasts a year, or the 200 dollar model that lasts 20?
The answer is pretty simple, the one that saves you money in the long run is better for frugal living. And it carries over into every part of life. Don’t get the cheapest car, get the one that is going to last the longest, and cost the least to maintain. Don’t buy cheap furniture, get the stuff that will last a lifetime.
Do It Yourself, When Appropriate
I am a big fan of the idea of fixing your own things. For example, one time the transmission control unit on my car got nice and crispy. Of course the computer for a car can easily be over 300 dollars, even for a used one. But I wasn’t about to let that happen. I pulled the computer out of my car, cracked it open and soldered a new capacitor onto the board. The total cost in parts was less than 2 dollars. If I had taken the car to a shop it would have easily cost me 5-6 hundred bucks, but with some know how and perseverance, I saved a ton of money.
But it’s not just fixing things either. You can, mow your own lawn, and cook your own meals. Wash your car by hand, and clean your own carpets. Doing stuff like this is going to save you lots of money… at least potentially.
If you actually make good money, then there comes a point where it’s better just to pay someone to do it. Think about this, my mother hired a housekeeper. Now that sounds a bit extravagant, but think about it this way. She made over sixty dollars an hour at her work, which is not bad. Now it took 4-6 hours to do the house keeping, so in her case it made sense. Doing the work herself was actually costing her money. So keep track of how much things cost, eventually it can be worth it to pay the piper.
Grow Your Own Food
The price of food is is a great place to shave some expense out of your budget. You know what isn’t that expensive? Seeds. Growing your own food isn’t terribly hard. Yes there is a little bit of a learning curve, especially if you are trying to produce top quality produce. But it’s simple enough that anyone can learn it.
It’s an investment in time and patience, but the rewards are definitely worth it, if you are willing to get your hands a little dirty.
Do More with Less
This is the most important principal when it comes to living frugal. You need to start looking at everything that is going to waste in your life. Sponges last twice as long if you cut them in half, cheap toilet paper still gets you clean, and you don’t need premium gas if your car doesn’t require it. When you make a point to do this, you’ll see an incredible amount of opportunities for frugal living