The phrase “frugal habits” now makes one think of elderly misers. It should not, our grandparents knew the value of frugality; during the years of rationing during and after the Second World War, people knew how to stretch and make the best of everything. During the times of economic boom, we became used to a throw away lifestyle now as most countries struggle through recession and austerity, and many people are living on less money, we are rediscovering how to be frugal. Being frugal does not have to be miserable and it can be fun, especially when you realize how much money adopting a few frugal habits can save you.
Learning to switch things off can save you a great deal of money. Switch lights off in unoccupied rooms. Leaving electrical equipment such as televisions, computers, games consoles, dishwashers et cetera on stand by uses electricity, each one may not use very much but they all add up and you would be surprised how much they add to the electricity bill. Replace ordinary light bulbs with low energy light bulbs. Make sure that you always have a full load of laundry before you put the washing machine on and do without a tumble drier if you can.
Enjoy thrift and charity shops you do not always need to buy something new. Sell your unwanted items. Think before you throw something away, could you use it for another purpose, could someone else use it, could you sell it or donate it. Think before you buy anything, do you really need it or do you just want it?
Do not waste food, if you do not think you are going to use it, do not buy it. If you have leftovers after a meal, use them to add to or create another meal. If you have outdoor space, grow your own fruit and vegetables. Gardening is healthy exercise and a great hobby and you will know exactly what went into your produce.
When you go grocery shopping, consider buying own label goods rather than famous brands. Many supermarkets sell dried goods such as pasta, long grain rice, breakfast cereals, nuts, coffee and other items loose by weight much more cheaply than the packaged equivalent on the shelves.
You can save money when cooking food too. Buy a slow cooker, they allow you to buy the cheaper cuts of meat that require long slow cooking. You can make wonderful stews, casseroles, braises, soups and other dishes. Slow cookers use very little electricity and have the added advantage that, once you prepare the food and switch the slow cooker on, it requires no further attention until you want to serve the food.
You can adopt many frugal habits that will help you to save money. Frugality does not have to be miserable or onerous, for the most part, it is common sense, and necessary in these times of economic hardship. It is sensible, whatever your circumstances, to make your money stretch as far as it can and to stop wasting resources and money.