This past week I was talking with someone who made a comment that she and her husband had an income of basically $2,000 a month but were forced to eat nothing but mini-donuts for weeks because that was all they could afford for food (yes, she really said that).
The only other thing she told me in regards to income was that they paid $435 a month for rent. Actually, that’s pretty cheap for rent these days.
This poor soul seems to be in the same boat that a lot of folks are in – she has no idea what frugal living is or how to about living a frugal life – or how to eat healthy on a budget for that matter!
Frugal living is not about living cheap, although that could be the case. Frugal living means living within your means, whatever that isfor your family and your household. Frugal living for one could mean living off of $600 a month. Frugal living for another could be living off of $8,000 a month. It simply means living within YOUR means, within YOUR income.
When you find that you need or want to start living frugally, there are some basic things that should be, in general, the first to go. You have to make sacrifices sometimes in order to make ends meet. As you go along, you can tweak your budget and needs for what works best for your particular situation.
First of all, you need food, medicine, shelter, and clothing. However, you do not have to spend a load of money on food, shelter, or clothing. People tend to way overspend on food, housing, and even clothing – along other things. Stop spending a lot on clothing – look for sales, use coupon codes when buying, or even shop the Goodwill store. If your house rent is more than you can afford, look for a cheaper place with less rent. If you are paying for a home and the note has become than you can pay, see about refinancing for a lower note and possibly a lower interest rate. Cook and eat at home – stop eating out every day or every week. Buy food you have to cook rather than premade. It’s cheaper overall, goes further, and is healthier for you.
Next, cut out all the extra cell phones, the high priced cable TV, and anything else that is a luxury that you don’t need. Cut your cell phone service down, or better yet go to StraightTalk.com and you can save a huge amount on your cell phone service – unlimited talk and text and web surfing with StraightTalk is only $45 a month per phone.
All of these frugal tips are things you can do to almost immediately start saving money. If you want to save money, you have to make the choice to actually do something and not just wish you could do this or that – but actually take action.
An example of what I am talking about here: I was in line at the grocery store to check out. A lady in the checkout line with me mentioned how much money I must be saving with all the coupons I had in my hand (I had about $75 worth – a fairly low amount on that shopping trip). She said she wished she could save a lot of money shopping and in everyday life. I looked over into her shopping cart and she had it loaded with name brand premade foods, along with several items from the bakery and deli (even higher priced). She mentioned after she paid for her groceries, she was headed over to Chili’s with the family to eat out – something she said they do all the time (however often that is). I told her if she wanted to save money right now, to go start over in her shopping- and then go home to eat rather than eating out. Needless to say, she didn’t start over and went on through the checkout lane. Plus I am sure she and her family went to eat out, putting out even more money.
There’s nothing wrong in the occasional dining out trip, nor anything wrong with occasionally splurging on something special at the grocery store. The problem is when that’s the norm, not the exception. More money is thrown away every day in this country by people who spend unwisely on food. The amount spent on just one dining out meal can buy a lot of food for meals that will last for days.
So this is it in a nutshell: Refinance your home or look for a place with cheaper rent. Leave the expensive clothes on the rack. Look for sales, coupon codes, discounts, bargains. Shop wisely. If you want to save money and live on less, take action. Stop spending money unwisely. Think before you spend. You can live a frugal life! You just have to do more than want to live it – you have to take action and do it!