How to Live a Frugal Life
As a young man in the early '80s, my dream was to become a successful professional artist. In reality, this meant finding work to support my dream. The struggle to support myself taught me that living frugally is a way of life. It's not easy. It takes commitment and a little faith, but it can be done if you are willing to work hard at it.
I never gave up on my dream. And now, at age 49, I have learned to live on annual salaries that are equal to or less than what most people in this day and age spend on rent alone. Don't give up on your dreams. Instead, learn to survive on less. Below, I outlines how to create a budget that works for you without giving up a healthy lifestyle.
Creating a Frugal Budget
Which brings me to my first step, a good budget.
In this day and age this maybe difficult for many to do, however spending the least amount of money on the house, apartment or condo that you live in is essential. When I was growing up the rule of thumb was to spend 25% or less of your monthly income on rent or mortgage.
This can still be done, however it may require that you live in a less than desirable neighborhood or live in the country. For instance I currently pay 300 dollars a month for a two bedroom apartment in the top floor of a house. For me Living Frugal has become a Way of Life that I embrace and so learning to live on less has become habit forming.
Another consideration is diet and this is where most people spend two to three times what they should. My best advice in this department is buy a Crock Pot and learn to use it. By using the crock pot method of cooking you always have something to eat and are not always going somewhere to get food. The cost of one fast food meal today can fill up a big crock pot and provide 3 or 4 meals. Not too mention if you ever visit a site on how they prepare fast food, such as Super Size Me or Food Inc., I doubt if you will ever eat fast food again.
Crock pots are great ways to prepare a meal, especially if you are a beginner and just learning how to cook and living frugal. Learn to buy your food in bulk, but remember to buy fresh produce and meat that is either going to be used within a week or frozen for later. Beginners often buy too much fresh produce and end up wasting it by forgetting that it's in the fridge.
Another consideration is transportation, now in a perfect world public transportation would be your best bet, however in this day an age a car is necessary. Find a Honda or Subaru from the early nineties that gets awesome gas mileage and put the excess money you save in buying a twenty year old car into getting everything fixed. I have a '91 Honda Civic 4-speed and I drive it all over the South umpiring softball games and I get 35 to 40 miles to the gallon. The car is bought and paid for and runs forever, put oil and gas in it and go.
Owning an older model car that gets good gas mileage saves in so many ways, no car payments, fill your car up twice a month, low maintenance costs and if you take care of it reliability. Living frugal a way of life is a way to conserve energy and reduce living expenses.
Awesome Gas Mileage... Low Maintenance
Garden Fresh Tomatoes
How Gardening Can Save You Money
For anyone with a yard, start a garden and you can do this in the off season also by beginning a compost heap. Of course finding a suitable spot for your compost is the key. I have a big yard and so I put mine right next to my garden for easy access. I have a very large wooden crate with a lid to keep the critters out and the smell in. Buy a couple large bags of topsoil to begin your compost heap and then add to it by saving all of the stuff you cut off vegetables before you put them in the crock pot. I usually use a coffee container with a lid and when I fill it up, I just empty it into my heap.
Remember never to put meat or its by products (grease, fat, etc.), into your compost clippings as it ruins the compost, plants aren't meat eaters so don't treat them as they are. By doing this and using the compost not only are you recycling and fertilizing at the same time, but you also cut down on garbage.
By learning to eat healthier you actually save money and feel better and have more energy to pull weeds in your garden. The benefits to having a garden are to numerous to name here and is really worthy of its own hub page, but suffice to say it can be a very spiritual experience and all it really takes is a little time, love and care, but these are not requirements. Plus you save money in groceries and get to eat very fresh vegetables. There is nothing quite like the fresh taste of snow peas right off the vine.
Learning to live a frugal lifestyle takes time and practice, but it can be a very rewarding experience and well worth the effort.
Frugal Living Is a Way of Life
So in conclusion if you can lower your monthly living expenses by finding a cheaper place to live, learning to eat healthier foods by cooking for yourself and starting a garden you can cut down on living expenses. By cutting down on transportation costs one can learn to save money and reduce life's big problems to smaller problems, you may soon find that you enjoy simple frugal living... of course, it is not for everyone!