Living it up just got frugal, and that’s a good thing, because being frugal is not about sitting at home trying to avoid spending money. It’s about deciding what’s important to you in life and choosing to spend less on the things that don’t matter.
One of the lessons of lock-down that we may be learning is how to live a more aware life. It invites us to use our conscious minds to make wise choices — in pretty much everything that we do.
Here are a few ways which demonstrate that being more prudent in our choices:
Shopaholic no more
Most of us are obsessive and compulsive shoppers. Yes men too! But we don’t realise how unnecessary most of our purchases are.
When we shop out of need, not as a hobby, we are most likely to get the best deal, whether it’s on supermarket shelves or online.
There isn’t a long-term reward in spending money on shopping; however, there is a long-term reward when it comes to comparing prices and saving money.
A few tips:
– Keep alert for deals and snap sales
Most people think that being frugal requires giving up many of the things they love. Not so. You can learn how to spend less and do what you want—as long as you’re flexible. For the large part you do need to invest your intelligence in looking for the best deals.
– Use coupons and codes
To stock up your groceries and shopping, use coupons and codes, and you will certainly get a thrill when you find an amazing deal that’ll save you money now and in the future.
– A ‘good’ credit card
Choose a credit card that gives you great offers on food websites, travel sites, vacation stays, grocery shopping and the list goes on.
Eat more home cooked meals
Plan fun meals and eat at home. The truth is nowadays eating at home gives you control of the quality of ingredients that are used to cook and eat your food. You’re more likely to enjoy meals that are bursting with taste and nutrients than ordering from outside and feeling that your money has been spent on below average food.
A Swiggy or Zomato order tastes so much better when you only treat yourself once a month instead of indulging on a weekly basis.
Plan your vacations strategically
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all. But that doesn’t mean you have to book a dump to stay within your budget. You can live it up on your vacation and live frugally, too.
For example, use credit card rewards to go on trips. Do online research to find free local activities to do while there.
Book your stay on weekdays and avoid public holidays – this offers you better hotel rates. Booking well in advance also gives you the upper hand in more economical choices.
Driving to your destination if not so far away gives you the added advantage of having your own transport at your disposal.
Plan on using your car/ vehicle in the optimum way
Instead of several trips up and down needlessly, plan to use your vehicle so that maximum errands get done and dusted. You save fuel costs and cut down your carbon footprints.
Shop at the right time
As the saying goes, there is a season for everything. The same applies to shopping.
While buying fruits and vegetables when they’re in season will help rein in your spending, and boost your health, you could also consider buying other items when they’re more likely to be on sale.
Most online websites and shops have designated sale dates. You can get some items at a steal. Need a new fridge? TV? Appliances are generally on sale in India just before the festive season of Dussehra, so mark the dates on your calendar and get some good deals.
Buy gifts at this time too. You can stock up on non- expiry date things which make great gifts at festivals and birthdays.
Check your bank balance frequently
While some people are scared to peek at their bank balance, you love logging on to look at yours. It’s probably gone up since the last time you checked thanks to your savvy saving tactics.
And always check your receipts for errors. Because chances are you will save a few bucks!
Clear out the fridge
Be determined not to waste any food. Be creative in whipping up delicious dishes from leftovers.
Pack up extra food for your watchman or old lady down the road. Giving food to people is ingrained in us as a culture, so use it well.
Jiffy bags, ribbons, bows and only slightly creased wrapping paper that you’ve salvaged from deliveries and gifts, ready to be reused.
Trade services/ favours with friends
Maybe you swap pet sitting services with friends. Or you’re willing to drive neighbours to the airport if they return the favour when you’re off on your holiday.
Trading services are free and rewarding at the same time, you’re helping others while saving money.
Learn from your mistakes
You’ve likely splurged a little too much at some point but learned your lesson. If you find you’re consistently going over your budget, you either need to reevaluate the budget or examine your spending habits.
Live a good life
Don’t believe that being careful in your choices translates into denying yourself the good things in life. With saved up resources, you can make your bucket list a reality.
Make frugality a fun activity. It’s a nice habit to check in on our self- discipline and exercise tenacity for self- gratification.
Not so strangely, frugality and being environmentally friendly are aligned in their narrative, so you’re doing double- duty as far as your karma is concerned! As we get older we realise simplicity in life and our lifestyle offers us great rewards