Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Concepts of a Frugal Lifestyle

With the constant economic cyclicity that's going on these days, I thought it might be useful to share some of the benefits of a frugal lifestyle. It's all about the common sense we know about but don't often practice.

However, many people blow off the concept of frugality because it's "time-consuming." I argue that all it takes is 15 minutes a day to start seeing some serious benefits from frugality -- big enough benefits that they start making a real impact on your monthly budget.

What can I possibly do in 15 minutes that would save money? Here are 20 simple tasks anyone can
do in 15 minutes, and the savings really add up over time.

1. Clip coupons from the Sunday newspaper or troll the Internet for more.

2. Write a grocery list and stick to it when you shop.

3. Check the air pressure in your car tires, including the spare, and fill appropriately.

4. Hang clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer.

5. Go through the house and turn off all electrical devices you're not using.

6. Make your own meal instead of buying takeout or eating out.

7. Do routine maintenance tasks around your home (clean the air-conditioner's filter, portable or ceiling fan blades regularly, check for leaks in refrigerator's insulation etc.)

8. Make your own laundry detergent. (very interesting, my favorite pick)

9. Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, compact fluorescent lights. (energy savers)

10. Install a programmable thermostat or timer device for appliances.

11. Plant and maintain a small vegetable or hydroponic garden.

12. Sell off clutter that you don't need and don't use anymore.

13. Read through your community calendar for cheap or free activities.

14. Resist the urge to "put the pedal to the metal" when driving and keep to speed limits (there's more to it in cost savings than just not getting a ticket)

15. Basic hygiene and health: Wash your hands, drink lots of water, cut down on beverage indulgence, exercise often etc.

16. Prepare a meal or a few meals to stick in the freezer for easy cooking later.

17. Take care of small financial tasks that you've been putting off (protesting fees, requesting a lower rate on your credit card, switching checking accounts

18. Clean your car's air filter regularly, it helps maintain fuel efficiency.

19. Learn how to sew and mend things such as buttons, extending the life of clothing.

20. Attend a garage sale instead of flying off to the mall. Here's the challenge: For the next 30 days, spend 15 minutes each day doing the things on this list and see how your money is doing at the  end of the month.  If nothing else, you'll find yourself with more spending money. If you're really swift, though, you'll find better things to do with your new found cash.

For more articles on ideas we can really put to use, read on at The Simple Dollar
Also, a few hard but very practical truths about frugal lifestyles can be found in these articles below by Donna Freedman

Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year
2. Living 'poor' and loving it
3. Be a bargain-shopping champ

Happy Saving!