Are you looking for ways that you can live frugally, save money, and live a great life? If so, this is the post for you! We are all about living a financially responsible life that we enjoy! We prioritize HAPPY in our budget!
For years Rob and I felt that our financial success was buying what we want when we want it. Reading those words, it makes it sounds like we were living a privileged life. The reality is, our financial decisions did not mean privilege; it meant debt.
Then in 2018, our baby moved out, and we found ourselves trapped in a town and in careers that did not fulfill us. Our financial decisions trapped us. The time had come that we were forced to change our ways.
Our biggest challenge was answering the simple question: how do you live frugally and have a great life? After months of practicing managing our money, the answer hit us.
Living a frugal and minimalistic lifestyle while maintaining a great life is doable when you prioritize!
Prioritize those things that make you the happiest, and that is where you invest your money. Sounds simple, but how do you do it?
To teach us how to live frugally, we scoured the internet to find the best ideas to live a full, yet frugal life. We identified our life must-haves: a healthy nest egg, money to travel to see family, money for dining and entertainment, and savings for any big purchases that may come up.
For us, our priorities are our experiences and not the things we own.
We work to balance the minimalist lifestyle and frugal living!
Great Frugal Living Tips with a Big Impact
Here are our favorite frugal living tips that are sure to have a big impact on your savings while improving your happiness. They are great tips that help you save money on the things that you must have in life so that you have the money available to spend money on the experiences or things that bring you the most joy.
Save money on your utilities by spending less on electricity and live frugal
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to spend less money on the necessities. We all know that food, water, and shelter are necessities, but what about electricity. For us, electricity is a must have.
If you were to take my light switch away from me, it just might do me in. I have no survival skills! 🙂
Start with the basics and save money on the must-haves. Here are some great tips for cutting your electric bill and not sacrifice your comfort!
Get paid to shop with credit card rewards
Credit card rewards sometimes get a bad rap. If abused, credit card use can be your worst financial mistake. If used correctly, your credit card can provide you with some excellent fun money. You know, the money that you are almost surprised to receive. Money that you do not include in your monthly budget and you can have fun!
Credit card rewards are a great way that you can get paid when you spend money.
Save money on travel, work, and daily necessities with online shopping apps
The world of online shopping has change commerce permanently. The amount of deals out there is amazing. One thing that you may not know is that there are sites out there that will pay you to shop. There are websites out there that are dedicated to providing you with the best promo codes and pay you to shop.
BeFrugal: BeFrugal is one of my favorite online shopping sites. I use BeFrugal for every online shopping trip to walmart.com or when I am booking a flight or a hotel through any of the travel websites.
eBates: eBates is another great online site that pays you to shop. Before I buy anything online, I always make sure that I am receiving the best cash back reward by checking out both eBates and BeFrugal.
Give meal prep a try and pack your own lunch
Our largest expenses are often the things we need the most. Food is a perfect example of this. When it comes to controlling costs, where we buy our lunches can really add up. Add up on our waist and on our pocketbook.
For a small investment of a few containers, you can start saving money and calories. Check out these great containers on Amazon!
Meal prep is a great way to cut cost and does not take that much time if done right. LivingLifeLovingUs is a great site that makes it easy!
Create a budget that includes fun
When trying to improve your finances and build financial freedom, setting up a sustainable budget is the only way to go. To make sure that your budget is sustainable, you must make sure that you include fun!
A budget that does not allow you to have the experiences or the things that make you happy is like dieting. It is temporary.
When you build your finances around your goals, your wants, success will be yours. You will heal your money mindset and start building wealth.
Use a bank that pays high interest
The world of online banking has opened the doors for banks to pay their customers an interest rate that exceeds local brick and mortar banks.
Just Google high yield savings accounts and I am sure your mind will be blown when you compare it to what your local bank or credit union is paying you. This is free money that you do not want to pass up.
I know the money that we are earning every month is really adding up and serving as a huge motivator for us.
Maximizing high yield savings accounts: Easiest Way to Budget Your Money | 8 Bank Accounts
Take control of your bad habit(s)
When it comes to bad habits, Rob and I have the habit that everyone can agree that it is bad for you: smoking.
Although we quit smoking in 2018, we have discovered that at the core, we will always be smokers. We have to decide every day that today will be another nonsmoking day.
Identify your bad habit(s) and commit to yourself that today is the day that you are going to take charge and change.
Bad habits tend to not only be financial strains but a strain on your finances and your health. When we finally said goodbye to smoking, we started taking that monthly expense of smoking and we transfer that money into a savings account all month.
Our “sacrifice” not only has a $400 monthly savings but cumulative savings that we keep track of in a separate bank account.
Pay off your nonmortgage debt
Debt payments are past financial decisions that impact your current finances. When you take charge and pay off your debt, you will never look at money the same. There is a switch that flips inside you that adds value to every dollar you earn and value to every dollar you spend.
In a society that borrows money for everything, it is easy to become desensitized. That is where we were for years. We were prisoners to our debt and did not realize it because we had no problem making payments.
Take control don’t even waste a dime on interest!
Here’s our story: Pay Off Debt Fast | 11 Things We Did to Pay Off $50,000 6 Months
Say no to retail therapy – it is only a temporary high
Retail therapy is a mindset that can take hold and skew the ability for you to make good decisions when it comes to spending your hard earned dollar. It is that rush that you get.
The immediate gratification of clicking the buy now button that results in you asking yourself “what did I order” when your Amazon package arrives.
When you prioritize your spending based on the happiness that it brings, the rush subsides. You have that inner voice that reminds you what your priorities are and where your true happiness comes from.
Pause before you purchase
Everyone has experienced buyer’s remorse a time or two in their lives. One of the best ways to make sure that you are not wasting your money is to pause before you purchase. It is the pause that makes you consciously decide if the purchase will provide you with the happiness you seek.
When making a large purchase, this is especially important. Take a time-out before you make your next large purchase. In order for this time-out-period to work, you need to define what you see as a large purchase.
Is it a purchase that exceeds your weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual income. You need to make that promise to yourself first. If you are in a relationship, this needs to be a team decision.
Some of the questions that you need to ask yourself are:
- What do I need to give up to make this purchase?
- How long does it take me to pay for this item?
- Does this purchase fit into my financial goals?
- Are there any negative outcomes that may happen if I make this purchase?
- Is there a return policy?
- How long will I need or want this item?
- Can I borrow this from someone else?
You get the idea. Ask questions and pause before you purchase!
Drive a car that you can afford
According to AAA, the average cost of car ownership in 2017 for vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year is $706 a month or $8,469 a year. This includes fuel, insurance, taxes and interest portion of a car loan payments.
When trying to live financially responsibility, do not overlook your transportation expenses. The true cost of operating your vehicle is money that you could be putting toward other, more fulfilling aspects of your life.
You do not want to miss out on a fun adventure so that you can drive a fast car to and from work. There are so many other adventures out there that you need to ask yourself what are my true priorities!
Save money on your monthly grocery bill
Average Food Budget of $6,602 for a 2.5 Person Household
According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans with an average income prior to taxes had a household food budget is roughly $7,729 in 2017. This study shows that we spend about 56% of our food budget on food that we eat at home and about 44% on dining.
|Total Food Budget for Average Household in the U.S.||$7,729|
|Food away from Home||4,363|
|Food at Home||3,365|
** For more information on American spending see the CONSUMER EXPENDITURES–2017 in the entirety
When reviewing your monthly grocery expenses, you can try a few of the following to save money:
- Plan your grocery trip – make a list!
- Earn cash back on your groceries with this app
- Check your sales flyers before you go shopping and plan your meals
- Avoid shopping when you are hungry
- Use the grocery store’s loyalty card if they have one
- Don’t buy more than you can eat – food waste is at 40% in the US
Save money on your healthcare
When you enroll in a qualifying high-deductible health insurance plan, you will be given the option of contributing to a Health Care Savings Account (HSA). If you have the opportunity to contribute to one of these accounts, do!
The HSA is a tax-free account that you can contribute money to and invest. This money and the profits from investing are tax-free as long as you spend the money on qualifying health expenses.
Just think of it this way…if you are are in a 25% income tax bracket, you will automatically save 25% on all healthcare that you pay for using this money.
Final thoughts for how you can live Frugally
In this post, we have provided you with many ideas that promote frugal living and allow you to have a great life. When it comes to spending money, it is easy to prioritize the things that you love the most, seek happiness, and enjoy life more by spending less.
Be sure to share your favorite money-saving hack in the comment section below! We are all about sharing knowledge while building wealth!