I don't like the word "frugal" living as it doesn't sound like a lot of fun.
It sounds like drudgery to me.
It sounds like drudgery to me.
I much prefer to use "smart living" instead, now that sounds like much more fun.
Smart living isn't just about making your money stretch further, but:
- not wasting what you have
- using what you already have
- valuing what you have
- thinking careful before adding to what you have.
It doesn't mean you can't go out and spend (and have fun), it just means "think twice" and ask the question "do I really need it" (what is driving my decision - the heart or the head). In todays society were we replace items long before they need to be replaced, we don't repair or mend, we don't use what is in season, we don't make the best of what we already have, we spend out time lusting after what we don't have and we just go and buy more. And if we don't have the money, we rely on credit, bank loans or buying that lottery ticket in hope that we will get some money.
I am no expert at smart living, however I have a range of strategies that I use to help make the running of our house as efficient and as smart as possible. Here are a few of my tips and I would love to hear what you do. Mine are very common sense and are not rocket-science (and were common practices 50 years ago!). This list is not exhaustive and in no particular order.
- I avoid buying ready made food such as pasta sauces and stocks as these are expensive - these are all easy and quick to make at home and something that can be made in bulk and frozen.
- I often make a large one pot meal and freeze for when I don't have the time to cook in the evening (or don't feel like cooking), it is far more economical to cook in bulk even when there is only two of you at home.
- I have a well stocked pantry that contain all the basics - it means I don't need to dash to the shop every five minutes. I generally base my meals around what I have.
- When I do my grocery shopping I stock up on one or two extra items such as tinned tomatoes, frozen peas, pasta or rice, coconut cream to maintain the pantry stock.
- We eat fruit and vegetables that are in season - common sense really! If I are planning to make jam or chutney later in the year, I buy the fruit (e.g. apricots) when in season and freeze for later use.
|Grow vegetables from seeds rather than seedlings is far cheaper. When planning a vegetable garden think about the cost of the water in summer, it can add up.|
- I try hard to avoid throwing away food - use up what is in your fridge before buying the next lot. It may mean being creative with recipes but it does reduce the amount of waste which is the same as throwing away money.
- From my mother I learnt how to "stretch" a meal by adding rice, pasta, bread, burlgur, barley rather than extra meat - my mum was an expert with this one as she had very hungry boys to fed.
- I have a suit of cheap and cheery recipes that I make that really don't cost that much per serve. Choose recipes around the ingredients you have in the house.
- I don't buy my lunches, instead I take leftovers or make a salad. It is so much cheaper than buying a cup of coffee (or two or three) and lunch every day.
- We like to have take-aways but instead of buying it, I make it. It is often far cheaper and much nicer to home cook than purchasing from the local take-away store (which can be very expensive for a family). I have an excellent pizza base recipe that only takes 30 mins max to make and have in the oven (LINK). Not quite as fast as the shop, but 100% more tastier and healthy. I now also make my husbands favourite laksa rather than buying it and DH is impressed!
- You can make your own cleaning products or if this isn't your area of expertise (I don't have the time at present) buy in bulk.
- I buy almost everything on sale. I tend to buy clothes at the end of season when some items have dropped by 75%. You rarely need to buy any clothes at full price. Nothing is more annoying than buying a dress for $70 to only find it reduce to $35, six weeks later.
- I find buying online can be much cheaper but do your homework and check out postage.
|Making your own cakes, biscuits and muffins is the way to go. These are also great to share or give as gifts.|
- I often find second hand stores and eBay are get places to find bargains (but be careful as you can be ripped off).
- I borrow books, CDs and DVDs from my local library (usually via their online service and wait until I receive an email to come and collect). This creates a large saving if you are a big reader like me. I only buy if I think it is a book I will use over and over again, however most people only read a book once. It is also a great way to "try-before-you-buy" such as with cookbooks that aren't cheap. My library buys all the new releases so there is rarely a book I want that I can't find.
- Last year we reviewed phone plans, health, house and car insurances to make sure we were getting the best deals, worth doing each time they are up for renewal.
- Before going out and buying something new, look around the house to see what you all ready have as you might have something that will do the job.
- I learn to sew so I could make my own clothes - I buy fabric when on sale - it does make a big differences. Learning to knit is another handy skill.
- Share with others - I quite often share my DVDs with friends and vis vera. Works with books, cookbooks, patterns even an outfit for a special occasion. Great when it comes to baby clothes and equipment too.
- As I posted the other day, simple pleasures don't need to be expensive to be enjoyable.
- Make homemade gifts rather than buying them.
What are your tips for smart living?