In today’s tough economic times many people are looking for ways to cut back on their spending. It costs approximately $16,000 to raise a child to the age of 17 in a developing country, while it costs approximately $160,000 to raise a child in the US. This simple statistic helps track the cost of living from country to country.
If we ask ourselves what makes the difference, we’ll find that it comes from the cost of energy, food, clothing, health and education. These then are the areas we will look at to determine how we can cut back on our spending.
Now, living frugally is about setting priorities. The top priority has to be the health and well being of your family. This is why you always pay your rent or pay your mortgage first when you are looking at how to balance your finances. All other expenses can be juggled as long as you have a place to live.
Here are some more tips that you can apply to your life in order to reduce your spending. Remember that this is about making a lasting change, so there is no reason to implement these all at once. Implement the ones you are comfortable with and slowly add a few as you adjust.
1. Replace Your Light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs.
2. Turn off your devices.
3. Unplug your devices.
4. Invest in vampire power protectors.
5. Turn off your heat, wear a sweater or snuggle up in a blanket.
6. Turn off your AC. Open a window and turn on a fan.
7. Hand wash your laundry.
8. Set your washer settings to cold water.
9. Invest in a drying rack instead of your dryer.
10. Cut liquid soaps with water.
11. Buy natural foods.
12. Don’t eat out or order in.
13. Exercise at home (with the help of online tutorials).
14. Start hobbies with the help of online tutorials before investing in lessons or tutors.
15. Become familiar with Craig’s List and Freecycle to pick up free things you may need (such as furniture).
16. Buy a coffee maker if you’re a coffee drinker.
17. Buy food in bulk.
18. Invest in a bike or a skateboard for local travel.
19. Use ridesharing sites and communities to cut down on the cost of gas.
20. Take shorter showers.
21. Get regular check ups and keep abreast of your health. Preventative care is much less costly than restorative care.
22. Go to community college for two years, then transfer to another school. It doesn’t matter where you start, it only matters where you finish.
23. Cut your own hair (much more advisable if you are a man).
24. Women, learn to style and care for your hair in order to cut down on salon trips.
25. Learn how to fix things such as clothing or household appliances. Something should only be thrown out if it’s unusable, not if you just don’t feel like fixing it.
26. Go to sleep earlier. The less you are awake during the darker hours of the day, the less you have to spend to light your house.
27. Get an induction stove top. This can be a major renovation, but it will save you money over the years as it is a much more efficient way of cooking.
28. Eat less. Americans tend to over eat. Most people do not need three meals a day. Eat smaller meals, spread out through the day. Light breakfasts, followed by snacks and light lunches (unless involved in heavy labor during the morning hours) and a solid dinner at night. Deserts should be small. You’ll find you need a lot less food than you’re accustom to thinking you need. This change will make you healthier and also save on health bills over time.
Living frugally does not have to mean living in conditions that you don’t like. There are often many things in our lives that we pay for, but rarely use or wouldn’t need if they were gone. Cutting back on spending is about finding these things and eliminating their costs from your life.
Laundry is one of the most expensive luxuries most households maintain. A majority of our energy bill is generated by heating water. Cutting back on the amount of laundry you do will help conserve. But does that mean you have to live with dirty clothes? No. There are many simple hand devices that make hand washing much easier. Hand wash the clothes you wear on a regular basis so that piles of dirty laundry don’t accumulate in your hampers. This allows you access to your favorite clothes much faster than if you’d waited to throw them into a large load, and saves money. You also can cut costs by hanging the clothes on an inexpensive drying rack (which will also cut back on the need to iron them).
Even if you are an avid TV fan, the internet makes most TV’s obsolete. You can follow your favorite shows online without needing to pay a monthly cable bill. Select TV watching also cuts back on your energy bill as you are much less likely to drift from show to show while online. Most newer TV’s also come with an HDMI hookup that allows you to connect your computer to your TV and turn the TV into the monitor. This way you don’t have to miss out on the definition that you can get from your TV. TV’s also come with Netflix and Hulu services even if you don’t already have these services on your laptop. Between the internet and a connecting cable, there is really no reason to pay for a cable deal.
Cut off your landline
How often do you use it? Most telephone communications are done via cell now. There is really no need for a land line.
Cancel Private Mortgage Insurance
If you put less than 20% down on your mortgage when you bought your house then you may have been asked to pay .5% in mortgage insurance. However, once you have paid 20% of your equity, you are no longer obligated to pay the insurance. Remember to cancel it with your bank. It can save you a significant amount every month.
These simple ideas will help you cut back on some of your major expenses and save you money month to month. Money saved is money earned, and the savings will add up. If you are looking to live a bit more frugally, without feeling as if you are sacrificing your comfort and your standard of living, look into these sorts of changes. Try one change at a time, or try one out for a while to see what works for you. Remember, it’s about making a lasting change, not the short term benefit.
Track Your Expenses
If you would like to cut down on your living costs one of the best tools is a budget tracker. Many banks will offer you the option of tracking your spending and sending you a monthly spending report. You can also do this on your own by going through your account activity. There are also mobile and web apps that will help show you where you are spending a majority of your money.
Now, cutting down on your spending may not mean drastically changing your life style. If you track your expenses you may begin to notice how much little things add up. With this simple guide to frugal living you will save a lot and money saved is money earned.