Hands up if you’d like to have more disposable income at the end of the month. If you said that to a room full of people, it’s unlikely that you’d see anyone with both hands by their side. It’s not always possible to boost your earnings, especially if you already work full-time, but you can create more room for manoeuvre if you choose to live frugally. Being frugal doesn’t mean missing out on all the best things in life. It simply means getting more for your money and being savvy about spending. If you’re keen to embrace the concept of frugal living, here are some tips to get you in the groove.
Deal with debt
Before you start thinking about ways you could live more frugally, it’s a good idea to deal with debts. If you’ve got a mortgage or you’re paying back a loan, and you’re up to date with repayments, you don’t need to do anything. However, if you’ve got debts that are building up on a credit card, you have store cards, or you’re struggling to cover regular payments, and you’ve started receiving final demands, it’s time to tackle the problem. Try not to panic, and take advantage of expert advice and help. It may be possible to postpone payment dates or switch your card to reduce the interest, and in more extreme cases, solutions like government debt consolidation programs may be recommended. It’s best to discuss the situation with a financial adviser, go through your options, and then make a decision. Once you’ve taken that initial step, you can focus on moving in the right direction, and eventually becoming debt-free.
Create a list of priorities and saving goals
Being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to make sacrifices all the time. We all deserve a treat now and again. If you can’t afford to spoil yourselves, it’s beneficial to focus on saving for the things you want most. Are you desperate to get a deposit together for a house, do you want a new car, or do you long to jet off on a family holiday? Set out your priorities, and then establish a plan to hit savings targets. If you need £1,000 for a holiday you want to pay for within the next six months, for example, open a savings account and transfer £170 per month. While you’re concentrating on your holiday fund, tighten your belt in other areas, for example, expensive days out. There are loads of ways to have fun for free. Instead of going to aquariums or theme parks, opt for a day at the beach, games in the park or free museums that are geared towards kids.
Become a savvy shopper
How much do you spend every week at the supermarket or the shopping centre? How much do you pay out for car insurance or digital TV? If you’re spending too much, there is almost always a way of bringing costs down. Shop online so that you have a running total when you buy groceries and you don’t get lured in by special offers. Use vouchers and compare prices on items you buy in bulk, such as washing powder, nappies, and pet food. Use the Internet to look for the best deals on insurance and gas and electricity, and take advantage of discount codes when buying clothes, shoes, and items for the home. Think about whether you want everything you currently pay for. Do you need all your TV channels or are you paying for a gym membership you never use?
If you’re keen to save more and spend less, now is the time to be more frugal. Good luck!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.