The New Year always gives the impression that it’s a fresh start. There’s something about it that brings out the best in people, though it doesn’t happen on its own. It takes a little will power, and a lot of self examination to make things like spending too much a thing of the past. To live a more frugal lifestyle in the New Year only takes a little bit of planning. You don’t have to be a miser. If you think about all the people in the world that have nothing, you may just get things into perspective and be able to see the waste within your own lifestyle. It’s funny how little things make the world of difference, but they really do make a difference.
Cutting down electrical consumption
Switching things off when you have finished with them doesn’t make you mean. It makes you very sensible. The carbon footprint that each person leaves because of thoughtlessness really does make a difference to the world, but that habit of leaving things on is draining your bank. Switch off the things that you can overnight. After all, no one watches the TV while they are sleeping. It’s a very simple measure that will cut down on your electrical consumption and help you save something.
Cutting down on water use
If you live in an area which has metered water, every drop of it counts. If you also have an old fashioned cistern in your toilet, add a brick. This little space that the brick takes cuts down water consumption and saves money, and what’s more, no one notices except you. Water can be very costly. If you fit a rain barrel this could take care of your gardening needs thus helping you to save even more.
Cut out the bad shopping habits
These are the worst thing of all. Supermarkets are getting very rich because their strategy is aimed at you, the consumer, and it is working. Placed at the cash desk, those tempting little extra items that slide into your shopping basket could actually add up to a lot of money. When you buy items from the supermarket, stick to your list. You don’t need all the added extras and it certainly doesn’t make you a miser that you didn’t buy them. The savings can be enormous, and mean that you actually get to live a healthier lifestyle because you were not tempted to eat things which you perhaps should not be eating in the first place.
When you buy food out, or you buy ready meals, you waste an enormous amount of money. Instead of buying packets of cookies, make them. Instead of buying cupcakes, try baking. If you keep the larder stocked with the items you need such as flour, butter, eggs, etc., you can actually achieve the same kind of diet, but a healthier one, because you cut out all the colorants and preservatives in shop bought items. Don’t be fooled into buying spaghetti dishes that are already made. They are so easy to make at home, and you really will waste money. Learn to make those dishes, and when you do, put a little aside for another day, in the freezer.
If you shop online what happens is that you buy less than you would in the supermarket. Without the temptation of aromas and displays of food beyond your wildest dreams, you simply tick off the items that you really want, and save a fortune. These are delivered to your door, so you also save because you won’t be paying for gas for the car. It’s a great way to save money on shopping.
Take up walking
People are generally lazy. If they take the car everywhere, the stop start driving that they do eats up fuel. It costs a lot of money to run a car. If you have two cars, you multiply the expense by two. If you can do without one of the cars, and cut down on its use, you achieve more savings. You may also be finding your way back to good health because walking to the local town center instead of driving is very healthy for you and keeps your heart pumping. In rural areas this may not be so possible, but what you can do is organize walks where you are accompanied by friends and family, thus making those weekends which would have cost you a lot of money much cheaper, but healthier.
If you can find someone else that travels in the same direction as you each day, you can be misers together, and find a much more frugal method of getting to work and back by sharing. Find out if they are prepared to share, and shared costs will be a lot cheaper than individual ones for both of you, as well as saving on expensive parking in town.
Frugality in general
Frugality doesn’t necessarily mean deprivation. You can spend less than you do without impacting your lifestyle in any other way than in a positive way. If you get your kids to join in as well, and pool ideas, there are so many ideas where money can be saved. Poor people have very rich lifestyles because necessity means that they have to make do with what they have, and do a very good job of it. They may not have the resources for luxury, but the luxury that they find in life is one that can’t be paid for and which is much more lasting. It’s a kind of unity, working together for a purpose and that purpose is simply to get through life on very little money. If you actually have to experience shortage of funds in your life, life goes on. It doesn’t stop just because the cash isn’t there. By finding entertainment that costs less, or by cutting down on wasted expenses, you can actually enrich your lifestyle to such an extent that you may even surprise yourself and your family.
Frugality means looking inside yourself for solutions, and once you find them, they really are not huge sacrifices. For example, one channel or two less on the cable may cost you less. Do you really need all those channels? Mobile phones are another expense. How many people in your household have them and how many need them? The contracts you take out are costing you money. Instead of contracts with a set amount a month, how about limiting everyone to a pay as you go system, giving them the top end that you can afford, and making them work within those restraints. It’s not that hard when you get used to it, and instead of texting each other, they may actually learn the benefits of talking in person.
The world has become very money orientated, but that’s not what the New Year wants, or what you decided as the old year turned to the new one. By examining your lifestyle and making small changes in it, you can live a frugal but exceptionally happy lifestyle. It just takes a little planning and perseverance, but once you achieve it, you can measure how much you saved, and think of it as money you would otherwise have wasted. For each hundred dollars saved, put one in a charity box and know that you weren’t the only one to have a changed lifestyle. That one dollar may just give people in another world the chances you have to live fulfilled lifestyles that offer them a glass of water you take for granted. It’s not about deprivation. It’s about sensible use of what you have, and you will feel all the better for having been able to survive on less.