By Dawna Matthews:
After the holiday season, so many people are talking about saving money for presents or vacations, or are just trying to cut back on spending habits. It’s easy to say you want to save money but oftentimes it’s more difficult to implement a plan initially. Like anything, it has to become a practice of using mindfulness with how you are spending and saving.
A myriad of tips exist about how to live just as happily on less money. Start with what you are comfortable with and celebrate life with family and friends in a simpler way. Here are some to help you start living frugally and fabulously:
Begin with Small Steps: Living on a budget is a lifestyle change, so start small and be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to become accustomed to lifestyle adjustments, such as turning off lights that aren’t being used or shutting off water when brushing your teeth. Tackle a few changes at a time and build on them monthly instead of making many changes all at once.
Use Less: We waste tons of product on everyday tasks. Instead, for example, try using one tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent or a pea-sized amount of toothpaste instead of what’s recommended by the manufacturer. Oftentimes we don’t need as much as we think, and it’s more cost effective, as well as better for the environment.
Grow Your Own Food: Fill a few containers or a garden box with the fruits, vegetables and herbs that you use most. It’s a great way to reduce your produce bill, and a great way gain control over the way your food is grown. Start simply, by growing herbs in a window or some lettuces in a pot.
Buy Real Food and Ingredients Instead of Prepared Foods: Boxed meals and frozen dinners may be convenient, but they also cost more. Get into the habit of
buying the ingredients you need in season to make the dishes you love. Invest a little time doing prep work in the kitchen and you will save money as well as feel empowered, knowing you made the meal.
Store and Use Leftovers: Food waste is bad and can be avoided easily. According to Mavis on her fabulous blog, onehundreddollarsamonth.com, “American families waste about 25% of the food and beverages they buy annually. In fact the estimated cost of food and beverages thrown out by the average American family each year is around $1,300 to $2,200.” Create a “to use” list of leftovers or food in your pantry that you need to use while planning your meals or before grocery shopping. This can significantly reduce the amount of food you have to toss out. Not only will it save money, but it will allow you to eat more home-cooked food and fewer prepackaged meals
Treat Yourself Occasionally: It might seem counterintuitive to buy yourself something; however, the occasional splurge will help you stick to your budget in the long run. Oftentimes, I make a list of things I may need or even something I simply want and plan to buy after a few weeks or months saving for it. Do some research and price comparison; then, if you still need it, go ahead and treat yourself.
This is not a complete list of how to become budget friendly and still be happy, but it’s a wonderful beginning. Whether you need to start this for a short time for a gift or you are saving up long term for a house, just start with whatever resonates with you.
What are some tips or suggestions you have for being happy on a budget and frugally fabulous?