Saving money and making every cent count might make you seem like a miser – especially if you do it blindly. However, with some tricks, proper choices, and prudent decisions, you can lead a frugal life without giving up on tons of luxuries.
Yes, people will know you are very careful with your money. You won’t make spontaneous purchases. But you will be financially independent and have enough to enjoy your life to the fullest.
1. Consider Renting Instead of Owning
Though owning gives you equity, renting could be a good idea especially if it is still earlier on in your financial journey. Renting could give you the freedom and flexibility to live at decent but affordable places since you are not tied down. You will also:
- Lower upfront costs
- Avoid maintenance and repair costs
- Lower insurance costs
- Avoiding property taxes
- The freedom to downsize or upsize on demand
- Invest your savings somewhere else
2. Get a Smaller House
A small and comfortable house is a great way to live cheaply without looking cheap. The tiny house movement or living in a cabin on the farm is a great example of this. As long as it is well-furnished and thoughtful, it will be impressive and comfortable.
It will also help you declutter. Remember, don’t cram your family into a small house. Be reasonable and focus on not being in an extravagant house that you really don’t need.
3. Buy Select Second-Hand Items
Thrifting and buying used products is a great way to cut costs. However, doing it blatantly will make you look frugal and even cheap.
The trick is to focus on quality second-hand items that have a tiny blemish that is hard to notice or easy to remedy. Here are some examples.
- High-end fashion users or vendors could discard a piece of cloth or a handbag because it has a rip you could mend at the seams
- Buying a relatively new but faulty TV, gaming console, washing machine, fridge, and other appliance and fixing it will give you access to a quality device at a cheap price
Sometimes, if you choose well, buying quality used products could be better than buying generic items whose quality you can’t really guarantee.
4. Buy Things at the Right Time
Take advantage of end-of-season sales to buy clothing, accessories, and other items at discounted prices. This allows you to upgrade your wardrobe without revealing your cost-saving strategy.
The same applies to other common offer periods like
- End-of-year sales
- Specific store sales
- Black Friday Deals
- Cyber Monday deals
5. If You Use it Often, Go for Quality
Quality products from reputable brands tend to last longer than unknown brands with little to no quality control.
When buying something you will be using often, the wisest way to save money could be by spending more.
For instance, investing in a slightly expensive (used) chainsaw is better than buying a generic low-quality unit that will keep failing you. Known brand equipment is also easier to repair and maintain since there is already established support for the equipment line.
6. Travel and Vacation Off-Season Using Loyalty Programs
Every vacation destination has on-peak and off-peak times. While going off-season might mean you won’t experience a region to the fullest, it doesn’t mean you want to have fun while there.
Plan your holidays and vacations such that you leverage the discounts offered during low seasons. Couple this with using loyalty programs for flights and accommodation and you could enjoy touring the country or the world on a budget.
7. Stick to One RELIABLE Car Per Family
Cars can be a huge money pit. Sticking to one car per family reduces the costs tremendously. It might not be convenient and sometimes, someone will have to take public transport or plan their trip with the rest of the family in mind.
Apart from just getting a car, you should also ensure it is the most reliable possible. You don’t want to blow money fixing known problems on a car.
Moreover, going for a very reliable brand means you could buy used and still enjoy decent performance, safety, and fuel efficiency.
8. Always Shop for New and Better Insurance
The possibility of getting better rates on your insurance exists. Instead of renewing blindly, shop around and see if you can get better rates.
This is especially so if the insurance has no waiting period. Getting better rates will reduce your premiums saving you money without leaving you unprotected.
9. Get Rid of Unnecessary Monthly Subscriptions
Go through your monthly and annual subscriptions and get rid of those that you don’t need. Paying for things you don’t use frequently enough or can do without is a waste of money. It doesn’t mean you should get rid of everything, just subscribe on demand.
- Switch between Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney depending on what the family is watching. Subscribe to one at a go and never all at once
- Decide to deliberately skip some subscriptions, for instance, gym subscription, if you can stay fit by working around the farm or working out at the park
Regularly review your utility bills, internet plans, and subscription services. Negotiate lower rates or consider switching to more affordable alternatives.
10. Stay Energy and Water Efficient as Much as Possible
Conserve energy by turning off lights when not in use, unplugging electronics, and adjusting your thermostat. It cuts down on utility bills without drawing attention.
You could apply the same concept to your water and gas too. Don’t let taps run, spend too long in the shower, or use too much water than you need.
Creating a system to repurpose some of your grey water to irrigate a garden, using smart taps that auto turn off and more will help you reduce water consumption. Harvesting rainwater for specific chores will take things even further.
11. Do Your Own Chores, Turn Them into a Hobby
Find a couple of chores you could start handling by yourself instead of hiring someone to do them. This ranges from simple things like mowing your loan to some handy work around your home like cleaning the gutters, mending damaged things, repainting a wall, and gardening.
If it is something you can learn and eventually enjoy doing, invest time in learning it and perfecting the trade. Don’t ignore any safety precautions when starting out. Injuries are expensive.
12. Rent or Borrow Equipment You Needn’t Buy
Resist the urge to buy all the equipment you need for your DIY chores and tasks. Renting or borrowing tools you rarely use is more efficient. Yes, you can buy the basics, like an impact drill and a circular saw, but you cannot justify buying a table saw or a drill press for a one-off project.
ProTip: When DIY building, you could opt to use scrap materials from a construction site that still fit your goal. Pieces of timber, metal sheet, aluminum, and such. They will be cheaper since they’re destined for the scrap yard.
13. Use Online Market Places to Resell What You Don’t Need
In the spirit of decluttering, you can use marketplaces to resell any usable products in your home that you no longer use. This could range from appliances to clothes and such. An alternative to reselling would be donating.
With the correct circle of friends who live frugally, you can buy some ‘karma’ by trading or giving out what you don’t need or use instead of hoarding it in your house.
14. Practice Minimalism
We have hinted at minimalism a couple of times now. Minimalism goes hand in hand with decluttering. It is a great way to ensure you don’t waste money purchasing what you really don’t need. Minimalism will also make it easy for you to let go (by selling or donating) anything that you don’t use anymore.
15. Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables
Veggies and fruit can be expensive. If you have a backyard or a garden, growing your own could be an awesome way to cut costs. You will look classy and eat organic from your own production without looking cheap. It will take some time and learning but with time it can be a great way to supplement your budget.
If you have more land or space, you can expand to grow more crops and even rear some animals for your animal protein.
Bonus: Choose Your Close Circle Wisely
The biggest tool in your arsenal would be choosing the correct close friends. If your friends aren’t extravagant, your savings efforts won’t be so alien to them. If anything, they will offer to join and even help you achieve your goal.
With the correct friends, you can all go on holidays off-peak, attend select free but fun events, batter for produce or products you no longer need and even share your expertise by doing complex DIY projects without necessarily hiring an expert since one of your friends is already an expert.
It goes without saying that you too have to learn a skill and be an expert at it so that you will have something to give back in exchange.