I’ve been writing about how to be frugal for a long time and I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Frugal living looks different for everyone as each situation is unique! So whether you’re new to frugal living or have been living a frugal lifestyle for years now, this guide on how to be frugal is for you!
The 2020s have already proven to be years of financial struggle for many. With inflation at 7.7% and mortgage interest rates at 7.63% currently, it’s not hard to see why so many of us are feeling the squeeze of tighter budgets and increased debt. I’ve looked at dozens of blog posts, articles, YouTube videos, TikToks, and more for what we can do right now to make a measurable impact on our finances. And honestly? I found a lot of the content only capturing the low hanging fruit (i.e. stop eating out, buy cheaper stuff, look for better bargains). But is that really going to help you lower your cost of living and start saving money right now?
The answer: probably not – unless you eat out for every single meal or have a luxury goods habit. My goals is to show you what I would personally do (and have done) to lower your cost of living. I have loads of posts on how to save money and be frugal and I’ll link those throughout this post – but think of those as extra credit 🙂
Reducing your waste is also a great way to save money. Part of our frugal minimalism journey includes being low waste (and just buying less in the first place). Some of the zero waste “swaps” that we’ve made over the last few years have proven to save us money. But there are also some that cost the same or a little bit more. Oh, and before I forget… my favorite zero waste swaps are the FREE ones! Yes, by using things you already own, not only can you reduce your waste but also save money at the same time.
The holidays can be the least minimalist, least sustainable time of year. Everything from the amount of gifts we buy (the US spent an estimated $886.7 billion last year) and the debt we incur (31% of Americans still haven’t paid their holiday balance from 2021), to the 25 million tons of garbage the US produces during the holiday season and the $16 billon in unwanted gifts that are sent straight to landfill – it’s pretty easy to see where we can make improvement for ourselves and for the environment!
This year, we’ve aimed to make the holidays more sustainable. While we aren’t the perfect zero wasters (or anywhere near zero waste), any step we take to reduce our waste is a step in the right direction. Maybe you want to take all of these sustainable holiday tips on this year – good for you! Maybe the idea of changing your spending habits is just too hard – I feel that too. Remember a small progress is still progress!
Before we found minimalism, I tried everyway possible to save money – even extreme couponing! I had a stockpile and a coupon binder. I was *that* couponer. But my ways of over-consumption changed whenever we found minimalism and made it our own flavor – frugal minimalism.
Shopping has become a past time for so many of us. It makes us feel happy! But it also clutters our homes and empties our bank accounts. Other than shopping, what else could we fill our time with?
In today’s world, saving money can be tough. Many of us aren’t earning as much as we used to and the cost of living has gone up. That means what we can save on a regular basis has decreased. Or has it? I’ve fallen victim to “lifestyle creep” where you spend more when you earn more AND everything you’ve previously owned, just isn’t good enough. You need better! (says the world). This is where frugality comes in. The goal of frugal living can be quite simple – save money.
Thrifting used to be a dirty word. Why would I go into a thrift store to buy something… used? Perfect new items are right down the street at Target! I want to scream at myself for ever thinking that thrift stores and shopping secondhand was “bad”. In fact, I now believe thrifting is one of the most amazing things out there! And I think you should thrift, too!
When money is tight you need to cook meals on a budget. That’s done by stocking your pantry with frugal foods. See just what we keep in our pantry to save money.
Like all good conversation topics (joking), this idea came to me when someone asked in a Facebook group “Is there such a thing as a ‘how-cheap-can-I-be? calculator?”. I immediately looked to my husband to see if he could build a fancy pie chart pivot table spreadsheet, and alas, that wasn’t what I got.
Instead, he replied with some no-nonsense advice.
“YA NEED A BUDGET!”
Practical, true. Realistic, yes. But how do you calculate just how frugal can you be?
Let’s take this “how frugal can you be?” question into experiment mode!*