*This is a collaborative post.
Being frugal is a great way to reduce the amount of stress you feel when it comes to handling your money. Let’s face it, hefty bills and a less than perfect bank account balance can be enough to keep even the most laid-back families up at night. Not to mention, stress over money can lead to issues with your relationships too.
Unfortunately, changing your spending habits isn’t as simple as just deciding that you’re going to spend less and save more. While you might start with good intentions, you still need a plan of action in place to make sure you achieve your financial goals. Here are just a few of the ways you can be more frugal with your money, without exposing yourself to additional cash headaches.
Start with a Savings Plan
The first step in successful saving is automating the process as much as possible. For instance, look at your budget and figure out what you need to spend money on every month. That means separating the essential costs like utility bills, mortgage, and rent expenses, from other costs like the price of weekend entertainment. Once you know what your essential expenses, set up direct debits wherever you can so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay them.
While you’re setting your direct debits up, make sure that you set up a payment to send a small amount of your income into a savings account each month. Not only does this make saving automatic, but it also ensures that your extra cash is out of your current account, and less likely to tempt you.
One of the biggest reasons that we spend too much money each month is that we over-spend on things we don’t really want or need. For instance, how much food do you end up throwing away each month because you made too much for a family dinner, or you didn’t have chance to use up ingredients before they went out of date?
Get rid of waste by carefully planning your meals and the other things you’ll need for the week and buying only that amount. Not only will reducing waste help to protect your finances, but it will create a healthier planet too!
Buy Everything at a Discount
It’s easy to assume that you’re simply getting the best deal for everything you buy, but unless you search for better deals and discounts, you’ll never know. While the idea of searching through the web for free coupons and voucher codes might sound exhausting at first, you’d be surprised how quickly you can find a bargain. Using sites such as dealsplanet can be a brilliant place to start.
Although you might not have time to find a voucher for absolutely everything on your shopping list, it’s worth at least putting some extra time into your search when you’re buying a big-ticket item like a new TV or a pair of expensive shoes.
Grow your Own Food
A great way to reduce waste and minimise the amount you spend at the supermarket is to grow the food that you use the most often in your yard. There are plenty of great guides and articles out there that teach you how to nourish your own fruits and vegetables from scratch, and you don’t need a lot of space to grow most of the vegetables that you know and love. In fact, there are certain plants you can grow on your windowsill, or in a window box.
If you enjoy working in your garden, then you’ll also have a fantastic free way to entertain yourself, without spending any money on trips to the cinema or expensive restaurant meals too! You can even get the kids involved to make gardening a family event.
Keep on Top of your Spending
Finally, a great way to be more frugal with your money is to make sure that you keep on top of your spending whenever you can. This means not only tracking the amount you spend on everything from food to bills, but also making sure that you’re getting the best deals from your suppliers too. For instance, every few months, it’s worth going online and comparing your utility bills.
Check you’re getting the right deal for the amount of gas and electricity you’re using, and compare other things like broadband packages, television, and even interest rates on existing loans. The more you focus on finding new ways to reduce your spending, the better off you’ll be.