woman living frugally

The Secret To Living Frugally

There is one secret to living frugally: spend less than what you earn. We know that’s easier said than done, especially if you have a small or irregular paycheck, or have a family to support. However, small changes in your spending habits can make a big difference.

Living Frugally Made Simple

This article breaks down the secret to living frugally into 3 simple, concrete steps that you can start using today.

Stick to Your Budget by Using Cash

By now, you already know that the best way to live within your means is to make and keep a budget. You may have already tried to make one before: write your income, divide it into different expense categories like rent, utilities and food, and savings.

But those numbers on a piece of paper don’t really mean anything unless you can actually stick to it. And the best way to discipline yourself is to use cash for as many expenses as possible. You can’t spend what’s not in your wallet!

Withdraw your living expenses for the pay cycle and then put them into envelopes. Label each. Once you max out the money for a category, you can’t “borrow” from another.

For example, if you’ve got just $50 dollars for food, you have to figure out how to stretch that; you can’t get it from the money you allocated for utilities.

For large expenses like rent which are difficult or dangerous to carry around with you, transfer electronically as soon as you get your paycheck.

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Reduce Variable Expenses

Some expenses, like rent or subscriptions, have a fixed amount. You really can’t do much about that right now, so focus on the expenses where you can save, aka the variable expenses.

Variable expenses can go up and down depending on the need, demand, or even the season. For example, your electricity bill goes up during winter because of heating. Or, your grocery bills can go down because you switch to a cheaper brand or shop in a supermarket that has wholesale prices.

Here are three kinds of variable expenses where you can practice frugality right now:

  • Food. You can save thousands of dollars a year by cooking at home instead of eating out, or using fresh ingredients instead of convenience food. For example, even pre-chopped salads and bottled dressings cost more than cutting the vegetables yourself and making your own dressing from scratch.
  • Entertainment. Take advantage of free entertainment or recreational facilities in your area, such as the library, parks, or community center. Follow the social media pages of your city or nearby museums to know about free concerts, exhibits, film showings, and more.
  • Health. Walk 10,000 steps a day or do a YouTube fitness challenge. It’s cheaper than a gym membership and may prevent very expensive health problems.

Find Simple Pleasures and Rewards

Living a frugal life doesn’t mean that you can’t reward yourself. In fact, if you don’t have something to look forward to each day, you may become so miserable that you end up splurging on a large, unexpected expense.

The trick is to incorporate small, simple pleasures that don’t cost a lot. Make a “Happy List” of things that cheer you up: favorite music or movies, activities like crafts or gardening, relaxation techniques like walking or meditation, or little “luxuries” like scented bath soap.

You can also look for cheaper ways of doing things you enjoy. For example, look for a copycat recipe of the dish at your favorite restaurant, or do a DIY foot scrub instead of going to a spa.

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Plan For Financial Emergencies

Living frugally can help you live within your means and even save money. However, life can throw you a curveball, and despite all your efforts, you may suddenly face a financial emergency like a medical bill or a big car or house repair.

If your savings can’t cover the costs, one option is to take out a payday loan. You can borrow from $100 to $400, even if you have bad credit. Mississippi Title Loans, Inc. also has a very fast, easy application process that can help you raise the money as soon as possible.

  • Requirements. You just need to present a driver’s license or state-issued ID, your most recent pay stub, and a blank check from a checking account in your name. You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Process. Fill out the online form on our website. A loan representative will call you to tell you more about the loan and answer any questions you may have. After your call, bring the requirements to the nearest branch, where you will be assisted through the remaining steps.

Once your loan is approved, you get the money the same day or the next day.

Apply for a Payday Loan

It can be challenging to stretch a small paycheck, but living frugally can help you cover expenses, and enjoy a simple but happy life. And when an emergency strikes, you can either draw from your savings or take out a loan.

Note: The content provided in this article is only for informational purposes, and you should contact your financial advisor about your specific financial situation.

June Mckaig

June Mckaig writes articles on finance and budgeting, hoping to provide insight amidst the overwhelming crowds of information on the internet. She feels that with all this accessibility comes a lot of false data, and she would like to contribute astute, helpful input that she knows can help others. If you would like to learn more about June's research, read more here.