Frugal living shouldn’t really be hard, should it? We just need to write a budget, stick to it and pay off debt. It’s as simple as that isn’t it?
And there are loads of supposedly simple frugal living tips and budgeting tips out there, so it can’t be so difficult can it? We just need to follow them.
The problem is most of these frugal tips are either so simple, they’re blindingly obvious: write a budget, spend less than you earn etc etc. Or there are just too many of them.
Following lots of little frugal tips can save us big money but can also end up making our life so crazy complicated that we don’t stick to them and blow our budget anyway in a big rebellious splurge.
So what should we do?
Well in my experience the best simple frugal tips can actually be what look at first like seriously whacky, weird ones. It sounds crazy right?
But the thing is, these weird and whacky frugal tips turn our whole money mindset on its head and get us asking big questions about:
- Why on earth we buy stuff in the first place?
- What actually makes us happy in our lives?
- Whether we’re being conned out of our cash?
And these big questions can totally transform the whole way we shop rather than trapping us in an endlessly nitpicking battle to save a little bit here on coupons and a little bit there on sales.
And in the end it is our answers to these big questions that make the big difference in whether we stick to our budget.
So I’ve got for you here eight super simple frugal tips that look – at first – weird and whacky, but which really have helped me save big money.
Do check them out. They truly will get you thinking and help you craft out a frugal lifestyle that works for you and makes you happy.
And for more money saving ideas check out my other simple frugal living tips and follow me on Pinterest.
8 Simple Frugal Tips That Are Weird But Work
1. Give Stuff Away
OK. First things first.
Do you know why we all buy so much? It’s actually because we have neither space nor time to enjoy all the stuff we already own.
We have so much clutter, we cannot get joy from our belongings. So we go hunting new stuff that will spark joy. But the new stuff can’t make us happy either because we have no space nor time to appreciate them.
So we buy more … and more … and more!!!
Endlessly hunting a happiness, our cluttered homes will always deny us. The answer is simple. If we want to stop busting our budget with impulse shopping we need to let stuff go.
Lots and lots and lots of it.
I have decluttered two hundred bags of crazy, why-do-we-have-this, budget-busting clutter. I am so much happier without it and because I am happy in my own home, I don’t hunt happiness in the stores and am much less tempted to spend money.
OK so onto simple frugal tip two.
And that is: fork out for new stuff …
2. Fork Out For New Stuff
How, can we possibly stick to our budget by spending more money?
I thought these tips were meant to be frugal!!!
Well, it’s like this.
We’ve all been conned into buying huge piles of stuff to chuck away. Stuff we have to keep buying : cleaning stuff, razors, food wrap, freezer bags, kitchen roll, biros, tampons, diapers … the list goes on AND on.
And a big chunk of our budget ends up in the trash can every single month!!! You want weird? That’s just downright crazy.
But if doesn’t have to be so.
We can buy one pack of reusable cleaning cloths – that last for years – rather than 30 packs of chuck away cloths and 50 bottles of sprays.
We CAN buy one safety razor to last a life time rather than a new pack to chuck out weekly. We can buy reusable storage jars rather than packet after packet of cling film, freezer bags and foil.
Now onto frugal tip three.
AND another weird way we waste money. And that IS stockpiling.
3. Stop Stockpiling
I know, I know … loads of money saving gurus tell us to stockpile, don’t they? But stockpiling doesn’t help lots of us save money and may actually be busting your budget.
You see, most of us – see frugal tip one – have a clutter problem. A big clutter problem. And that makes inventory management super hard. So the honest truth is we do not do it.
We do not keep track of our tins and packages and toothpaste and toiletries and the lot. Our pantry is an unholy mess. We can’t see what we’ve got. We forget what we bought. And then we buy more.
We don’t need more. But it’s for the stockpile – don’t you know – so it’s OK. Isn’t it?
No it’s not OK, because constantly buying things we don’t need feeds our shopping addiction. And that is the other big budgeting problem most of us have: we are addicted to shopping.
Endlessly stockpiling “bargains” feeds our addiction. If we only buy what we need, we may pay more per item but we buy less overall and we chuck much less away which saves money and makes it easier to stick to a budget and to chip away at our shopping habit.
Although my next frugal tip is to get addicted!!
4. Get Addicted
Sounds weird right? And nothing to do with frugal living. Well that’s where you’re wrong.
You see the thing is most us are prone to addiction and online shopping is designed to be addictive. We get an endorphin rush as we click that sale and huge numbers of us are – in the privacy of our pyjamas – busting our budget over and over because of that addiction.
Obviously, it would be best if we stayed off our screens but successful budgeting depends on honesty and we’ll not all go screen free any time soon.
So the easiest way to fight our online shopping addiction is to find another healthy obsession. We need an online alternative to shopping that gives us that endorphin rush without us paying for the privilege.
My fave has been selling all my clutter online. Obsessed with keeping our clutter out of the landfill, I have sold hundreds of little things we as a family are happier without. That obsession protected me from shopping and paid for family treats, so they didn’t come out of our budget.
Right, so we talked about being honest here and frugal tip five is all about honesty: it is quit meal planning.
5. Quit Meal Planning
Or rather quit pretending to meal plan because if we’re honest, most of us so don’t do it most of the time. Do we?
We might be goody-two-shoes for a bit reading recipes and writing shopping lists. And then we fall off the wagon because it’s a faff and life – the good, the bad and the ugly – gets in the way.
And then we bust our budget on far-from-frugal takeaways and ready meals. So what’s the answer? It’s simple. It’s called meal looping.
It’s basically what our grannies did:
- Come up with 10 simple meals
- We know by heart
- Based on common ingredients
- And bits from the freezer (granny didn’t have that luxury did she?)
- And loop …
Because the meals use common staples, we’ve always got what we need in and we don’t waste money on use-once-fancy ingredients. And because we know them by heart we use a different bit of our brain than following recipes and that’s the calm, in-the-flow part of our brain.
So putting food on the table fast and frugally – without busting our budget – actually helps us relax, rather than stressing us out.
That’s what I call a frugal tip and a half!!
Now once you’ve ditched meal planning, the next weird frugal tip you need to follow to save money and stick to your budget is: splash out on expensive meat.
6. Splash Out On Expensive Meat
How on earth can splashing out on expensive meat be frugal?
Well the thing is, cheap meat is all a bit of a con. It’s cheap for a reason. It’s not packed with all the true energy giving benefits we hear about in the Paleo and the Keto and the Whatnoteo diets.
So we end up having to buy more meat, spending more to make good, what’s lacking in the cheap meat. If we want the real benefits of Keto style diets we’re better off seriously enjoying a few helpings of truly awesome meat rather than cheap cuts in every meal.
Those few awesome meat meals actually make it much easier to stick to super simple frugal meals the rest of the time. And if we get in the habit of using up all the leftovers from that great meat, we can save even more.
But you know what? It’s not just cheap meat that’s a con, it’s cheap bread as well. Which leads us onto my next money saving, frugal trip: always buy fancy bread.
7. Always Buy Fancy Bread
Now what I mean by fancy bread is real bread risen slowly with all the good stuff still in because very simply, cheap bread leaves us hungry.
We tested this out and the results were crazy. We needed 4 slices of cheap sliced bread to fill us up as much as one slice of baker’s wholemeal.
So yes, the cheap bread was a bit under half the price of the bakers, but it was a fake economy and the cheap bread didn’t keep us full.
So we snacked more. And spent more.
I have to be honest and say all the cheap is best cons we’re bombarded with get me madder and madder. So many of us are struggling with money. We need to save and we can’t splash cash around but buying more and more cheap stuff isn’t helping.
Buying more and more cheap stuff fills our homes with clutter that causes big mental health issues and is putting our family and friends and communities out of business.
Cheap clutter & cheap food equals cheap jobs. Jobs we can’t raise a family on. Jobs a long way from home.
So my final weird money saving, stick to your budget, frugal tip is: break the spell of cheap clutter and the most powerful way I’ve found to do that is plan a pilgrimage.
8. Plan A Pilgrimage
Don’t worry if you’re not religious because your pilgrimage may not be about God or a church. What it is about, is you and your life journey.
Planning your pilgrimage is about taking some time out to think where you want your life to take you …
- It could be somewhere you’ve dreamed of your whole life through.
- It could be your childhood home.
- It could be the mountains. It could be the sea.
- It could be a safe space with your family.
- It could be the freedom to work with passion and skill.
- And helping others do the same.
Hold that place in your mind’s eye. And keep it there.
Then, wherever it is, reflect on what you truly need to carry with you to get there. Most often it’s love, courage, imagination, support, forgiveness, determination, humour, patience.
And it’s almost never stuff we gorge on in the store.
So lighten your burden.
Own only what you need for your journey.
And let the clutter and the baggage go.
And that might seem a bit airy fairy.
And it might seem a bit weird.
But I promise you, it is the most powerful frugal tip of them all. Because it stops us from buying all the things that cannot make us happy.
I really hope these frugal tips help. They have been super powerful for me. If you’re looking for more money saving tips for clutter free living do check out these:
- 101 Things Frugal People Don’t Buy
- 30 Zero Waste Products That Save Money
- 250 Little Things You’ll Be Happier Without
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