The word frugal conjures up many thoughts in the minds of people, and half the time those thoughts could not be further from the truth. Being frugal simply means spending wisely and knowing how and where to cut expenses.
Does being frugal mean you can never have a name-brand pair of shoes? Of course not, however, you may have to use creative ways to obtain those shoes.
There are steps to take if you want to have more without working more, and it also takes commitment on your part. The amount of money that people waste is staggering. Most people have no idea where the money went, and that's very saddening. It's time to take charge of your finances and create a budget that works for you and your family. Understanding where your money goes is the first key to financial freedom.
Take pen and paper to the situation by listing your total income and your total expenses. This means medicines, clothes, food, fuel, and even those quick stops at Starbucks each morning. It all adds up to money leaving your pocket and going into someone else's.
Once you have subtracted expenses from income you will know exactly where the money is going and see where you can cut back, save, or completely get rid of expenses. One of the best places to start is with utilities. If you have not checked into bundling packages for utilities you are definitely paying too much.
Compare prices from different utility companies. It's almost like shopping for insurance when you realize how much money you can save each month.
The next expense to evaluate is your grocery bill. Families can save hundreds of dollars each month by making a few simple changes. Below are just some of the changes that will save you money immediately.
• Buy store brands instead of name brands.
• Use coupons if you don't like store brands.
• Make a weekly menu and then use the menu to create a grocery list.
• Stick to the list and do not buy items you don't really need.
• Cook from scratch. Prepackaged foods cost a lot more.
• Buy some items in bulk.
• Buy family sized meats and separate into meal size. Store extra meat in a freezer.
• Buy day old breads, tortillas, and deserts.
• Cook items like roast beef where leftovers can be turned into BBQ sandwiches, etc.
Look in thrift stores for items you need before shopping high-end retail shops. Many thrift stores carry designer clothes that look brand new. You will find name brands such as Ralph Lauren, Giorgio, Prada, and others.
Don't forget craft supplies, dishes, and books. The Goodwill and Salvation Army stores are full of these types of items.
Shopping and errands should be lined up where all can be done with one trip to town. This saves time and fuel, which means you are saving money.
Map out a route for these things so you won't be wasting gasoline driving around in circles. If the grocery store is first on the list, simply pack an ice chest to hold items that are frozen or refrigerated. Another great money saver is to go with a friend. One week you drive and the next week your friend drives, saving you even more money on fuel.
The Frugal Commitment
Living frugally takes commitment and many times a little more work. Cooking from scratch takes a little more effort but the results are well worth it. A homemade pie will always taste better than a store bought one!
The more you really commit to frugal living the more you will love it. You will especially love having hundreds more dollars in your bank account each month. What you were throwing away can now be used for a new car, a trip, or just mad money. The possibilities are endless.
Get your frugal on and you too will soon have much more!