If you’re just starting to take control of your finances and life a frugal lifestyle, there are a lot of low-hanging fruits that can make a big difference in the wallet arena. Some of those that come to mind that you can find in many places on the Internet are:
- Stop buying lattes at Starbucks and make coffee at home instead.
- Ditch the TV and cancel your cable.
- Stop going out for lunch and brown bag it instead.
- Reduce the number of nights you go out for dinner and drinks.
- Rent movies instead of going out to theaters.
- Go to the library instead of buying books.
- Ditch the gym membership.
- Stop buying convenience foods at the grocery store (e.g. pre-cut and washed veggies).
Maybe you’ve even taken on some of the more time intensive tips or those that require more committment:
- Sell your things on Craigslist.
- Set up a budget… and stick to it.
- Automatically transfer a portion of your paycheck to savings.
- Shop at the thrift shop like this guy.
- Sell your car and use public transportation, walk or bike to work or school.
- Eat less meat.
- Travel on a budget.
- Seek out free (yet fun) activities to do on the weekends.
- Lose the cell phone (or reduce your plan).
- Rethink your gift giving strategy (e.g. going DIY, giving your time or going sans gifting).
- Move in with a roommate… or back in with your parents.
- Coupon (in the extreme).
Let’s say that you’ve done all of these things (and more). Now what do you do? Here are three strategies for kicking your frugal living up a notch. There’s a lot more to be said about each of these three strategies, so in the coming months, I plan to cover each in more detail.
Do it yourself
There are so many things that you can do yourself that don’t require a lot of time, money or energy. You can make your own cleaning supplies, make your own decor, make your own clothes, make your own anything. The sky and your imagination are the limit. Not only can DIY save you money, it can be fun in and of itself.
Go on a spending freeze
I talked about the NO SPEND Challenge back in January. Sadly, I didn’t participate back then, but I’d love to institute my own spending freeze in the coming months. Even if it’s just for a week or attempting to maximize the number of NO SPEND days in a month, this practice can help cut down spending and help break the habit of mindless spending.
At the end of the day, there may be nowhere else to cut back. Or, you may have reached your frugal living limit. Don’t worry, frugal fatigue happens (although, there are ways to avoid it). So what does one do when they have hit their frugal threshold? When you can’t spend any less, it’s time to earn more. Obviously, that’s often easier said than done. If you want to earn more money, ideas to get you started include: take on a part-time job, freelance or moonlight on the side, or try to negotiate a raise.
What are you willing to do to get ahead? How far are you willing to take frugal living?