Low Cost Living: Tips for Frugal Living

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The trick to making your money work for you lies in spending less than you earn, which leaves you a substantial chunk to save or invest to make more. Now, who doesn’t want to make more money? Spending less also means that you can work less, work more and retire early, have more time for hobbies and personal interests. In short, so many options open up when you live a frugal lifestyle. Below are 10 simple tips for frugal living.

1. Use one car

frugal living - use one car

After your house, your car is most likely the next expensive thing you own. If your family has more than one car, it is even more expensive. This is because a car’s costs don’t end with the purchase. Fuelling and maintenance take up a sizable chunk of your monthly expenses.  Ensure that every member of your family is comfortable with this and don’t force it where it doesn’t make sense. For instance, when you need to go in completely opposite destinations each day. 

2. Where possible, choose a smaller house

The fact that you can afford a big house doesn’t mean that you should actually live in one. This is not to say that you cramp a family of 8 in a two bedroomed house, comfort is a priority, but you don’t need a lot of extra space. In fact, a lot of space is taken up by clutter most of the time.  You will be shocked just how much you can save annually with a smaller house.

3. Rent rather than buy

Still, on houses, this is a highly debatable point. However, do not assume buying is always a better investment; considering the inflated interests on mortgages and maintenance. If you decide to rent and save up for investing, you could be better off in the future. Point to note is that this cannot be a blanket solution. Factor in all expense and make a decision based on what works for you best.

4. Look for used first

There are very few things that you must buy new. You will be surprised at how much you can save by buying second-hand items. There are many online markets where you can find the item you are looking for that only requires a little or no touch up to serve your intended purpose.

5. Eat out less

frugal living - eat out less

The reason why food is top in the list of big expenses is the fact that it is a requirement to stay alive. What most of us don’t know that eating healthy really doesn’t need to cost an arm (pun intended). Restaurants are expensive and mostly the biggest detriments to your ‘stay healthy’ resolutions.

6. Lunch bag it to work

Much of the food expenses usually occur in the office. Most offices are located in areas with expensive eateries, making your lunch budget soar. Carrying your lunch to work is an easy way to keep your food budget on a healthy check. A trendy lunch bag can come in handy for you if you consider it a drag carrying food to work.

7. Reduce online impulse buys

Online buying is so easy. You open an online marketplace, look through to find the category you are interested in, scour through listings then proceed to checkout, pay and wait for delivery. Half the time, you didn’t even need the item but it looked so good you just had to buy it. Problem is you didn’t even need it and now you have something else to add to the clutter in your house. Consider going to the store, even if you saw the item online. It helps ensure that you really need it, plus you get to verify if it really looks that good physically.

8. Clear and sell clutter

frugal living - sell clutter

This tip just had to make it on this list. Decluttering your home helps you create space for more important stuff, and helps you make money while at it. How much more frugal can it get?

9. Cluster your errands

Moving from point A to B costs you energy, time and money. Add the fact that you will probably need a biting to keep your energy running adds to your spending. If you run errands every day of the week, you will end up spending more. Consciously cluster errands that can be done on the same day and reorganise your route. This reduces the number of times you need to go out and makes your errands more valuable to you. 

10. Do It Yourself where possible

frugal living - do it yourself

You know those things you can do, but you pay someone to do? Those are what this point is about. if you have the skills, time and know-how of doing a certain task, just set aside time and work on it. Good thing is that you can always find a tutorial on anything online to help with the step-by-step and creativity. it is cheaper, more fun, exciting, satisfying and educational. 

Bonus Tip: Save energy

This is a no-brainer. Wastage in the home leads to skyrocketing bills that eat into your budgets and make you spend more. The mantra of energy saving is “Don’t use it unless you need it.” Lighting, water and gas are necessary in your home, but if not checked and usage monitored you will be paying huge bills for no reason. 

Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.