Nearly everyone, regardless of how much they earn, likes to complain about the high cost of living. It’s understandable, yet it’s also possible to make your own cost of living substantially lower by living more frugally.
While this might sound unappealing at first, you might discover your life is just as much fun, but much more economical.
Not convinced? Well, here are 12 thought-provoking ideas to help keep a lid on your everyday costs:
1. Buy in bulk
Do some planning and figure out all the essential items you buy regularly, things like toilet paper, paper towels, butter/margarine, tea, coffee, cleaning products, washing powder, etc.
Don’t pay the premium prices at the supermarket, but buy in bulk instead – you’ll be amazed how much you can save.
2. Buy generic, not ‘Name’ brands
We all know they’re likely to be identical, so why pay much more for a familiar label? You can save lots of dollars every time you shop just by resisting those famous brands.
3. Eat out less
When you look at how much you spend in restaurants and cafes, you might be shocked. The best alternative is to eat at home more and discover how much fun cooking can be.
Another benefit is how popular you might become when you invite people to eat at your place.
4. Don’t throw food away
Most of us only eat a small portion of the food we actually purchase, the rest it just thrown away. So, rather than discarding food that’s sitting in the fridge make a point of eating it instead!
Sometimes you can re-think how a meal is served. Roast meats, for example, can taste even better when cold and served with a salad.
5. Don’t buy takeaway for breakfast or lunch
Another easy way to save money is to avoid simply grabbing a coffee and a muffin (or whatever) in the morning and then a sandwich at lunchtime. Just add up what you might spend in a week and you’ll be shocked at how much it adds up to.
To save money, eat fruit, yoghurt, toast or cereal at home, or make it when you’re at work.
For lunch, plan your meals and bring your own sandwiches, soups or salad pre-prepared so you’re not tempted to go shopping. Top tip: Lunchtime is another great time to use those leftovers you were going to throw in the bin.
6. Watch out for expiry dates
How much food do you not eat because you it’s past its expiry date? A lot is the likely answer. Think of how much is wasted so, next time, just check the dates and make a point of eating and drinking more of those great things you have in the refrigerator.
7. Savvy clothes shopping
Today it’s much easier to buy smart, fashionable clothes without spending a fortune. Don’t rush to buy new clothes as soon as they’re in stock because you’ll be paying a heavy premium for the privilege.
Online shopping means you can save hard earned dollars by not having to travel to the shops, saving money on transport, car parking, or hefty parking fines. Sales? To encourage buyers almost every clothes retailer will be running sales, or low cost offers, all year ‘round. Take advantage of them, rather than paying full price.
Other great alternatives are pre-loved clothing stores, where even the hip clothes bloggers now hunt for bargains. “Vinnies” has become the new Versace.
8. Cut energy costs
This is another easy way to economise:
- Reduce your heating bills by wearing warmer clothes
- Shut your doors and close curtains to retain heat
- Insulate your home
- Unplug your power chargers/phone charger – they consume power even when you’re not charging
- Switch to energy efficient bulbs – they really work!
- Use the economy cycle on your washing machine
- Don’t use the tumble dryer, use a clothes rack
9. Cancel your pay TV subscription
A big expense you can probably do without. Let’s be honest, there’s a world of alternative of cheaper entertainment available online if you must seek out visual entertainment.
10. Re-discover your library
They have thousands of fantastic books you’ve never read and, what’s more, they’re all free. Great books are still fantastic entertainment and, never underestimate how smart you sound when you discuss your favourite authors at parties.
11. Gyms – who needs them?
They’re full of sweaty bodies and are usually over-crowded, not to mention extremely expensive. If you want to keep fit why not do your favourite exercises in the great outdoors known as your local park. Or, if you live near the beach, work out there instead.
It’s free, doesn’t need air conditioning to make it smell good and, if you don’t go, you can console yourself with the knowledge you won’t be paying those sky-high membership fees.
12. (Almost) free parties
Throw ‘Bring a Meal” parties, so all you have to provide is one dish and that bottle of red someone left behind from your last party. Just send out the invitations and sit back. You can look generous, make new friends, catch up with current friends and enjoy the great food and drink provided by your guests.
13. Save on gas – don’t drive.
If you live in a big city, you’ll have the option of professional or private car sharing services whenever you need wheels.
The rest of the time, there’s public transport, walking or maybe a bicycle.
All of these options will save you purchase/lease costs, insurance maintenance and fuel costs.
This is just the start of a new way of living
These tips are the be all and end all. If you think about where your money goes, you’ll be sure to think of countless ways to seriously cut your living costs, without making your life any less enjoyable. Indeed, in many respects, it’s likely to be enhanced.
Or, look at it another way, what you save could help pay for something really special, like a trip overseas or a new house.