As a freelance writer on a full time basis my income is not the same every week so I came up with several ways to budget the income so that I can handle my finances properly and have less stress in my week. Here are 20 ways you can add frugality to your life.
1. Cook All Food At Home
My mother’s birthday was yesterday and I saved money on taking her out to the city’s fanciest restaurants. I cooked her entire meal and this included smothered center cut chops with gravy, leafy greens with ham and onions, and rice. My aunt bought her cake so I didn’t have to pay for dessert. The best meals are the ones that are homemade and my mother showered me with compliments after she ate.
2. Start Sewing
I’m guilty for not sewing enough and so this tip applies to me as it does others. Sewing saves you money on buying new outfits because you can repair buttons and zippers easily with some basic sewing skills. My great grandmother was a seamstress and I wish I took more interest in sewing while she was alive because she was excellent at it.
3. Exercise For Free
The Internet helps me exercise for free because I turn on the online aerobics videos on Youtube and I also exercise for free by walking everywhere since I don’t drive anyway. I sometimes go jogging in the local parks and I save money on gym memberships, which come with a host of fees.
4. Face To Face Interaction
I don’t understand how we got to the point where we waste money on our cell phone bills with the constant text messaging and emails we send each other even when we’re in the same room or neighborhood! You can save money on your cell phone bill just by getting back to old fashioned face to face interaction since it’s cheaper and far more interesting. Some of the advanced technology is hurting our social skills.
5. Volunteer At A Radio Station
You may not see this as frugal but for me, I cannot buy music every week and even if I wanted to host a podcast through the Internet, there are costs associated with it that I can’t afford right now. Currently I’m a volunteer DJ at my alma mater’s radio station and I can play my favorite jazz songs a few times each week for the community. I get positive calls from my listeners and this motivates me to seek out rare albums to purchase. And it’s all for free.
6. Get Natural Sunlight
During the day when I’m working on assignments for clients I open my blinds and the natural sunlight comes in. I save money on my utility bills this way and I don’t turn on my lights until it’s near dark. The natural sunlight adds a neat brightness to the room and my mood improves too.
7. Stock Up On Canned Goods
Sometimes there are days when I can’t buy fresh meats, fish or produce due to a very tight budget that week, and I purchase canned goods that are on sale in bulk so that I’ll always have some on hand. My neighbor also brings me extra canned goods that she receives at the food bank and I prepare entire meals from them that are nutritious and tasty.
8. No Smartphones For Me
I used to have a smartphone but when the costs per month were too much for me, I ditched the smartphone and I now have a regular flip phone, which is known as a “dumb phone” by some. I find the flip phone easier to handle and under the carrier I have, I pay less than $50. I don’t really need a smartphone since I use the computer for the same tasks that are done on a smartphone.
9. Date A Financially Mature Person
A financially mature person is not just someone who earns a certain salary but rather it is someone who has a healthy attitude about money and who wisely handles it. This is especially important if you and your partner are planning to marry one day. This will help the both of you in coming years as a married couple and it saves you a lot of debt and heartache.
10. Take Care of Your Health
If you want to avoid high healthcare costs then you need preventative measures in taking care of your body. Start by cutting back on unhealthy foods and incorporate water, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish into your diet on a regular basis. Take advantage of the free health clinics in your area and attend free health screenings at local health seminars. If you need to cut down on dental costs, get dental exams from a dental school since they’re more affordable than private dentists depending on where you go.
11. Let Relatives Babysit Your Children
If you’re able to, you should talk to relatives and see if they would be willing to babysit your children while you go to work to cut back on daycare costs if you cannot afford those services at this time. Offer to pay a fair fee to them for watching your children and always thank them for their service.
12. Use Leftovers To Create New Meals
This is a good way to get creative in the kitchen and save money. Sometimes I have plenty of cooked ground beef at home and I create dishes such as meatloaf, beef tacos, stuffed cabbage rolls, chili, and sloppy joes when my friends come to visit during the week.
13. Don’t Abuse The Gadgets
Two years ago I bought my $200 netbook computer and it still works well. When you take good care of the gadgets you have, you save money on having to buy new ones, particularly the more expensive gadgets on the market. This also applies to other items you may have at home.
14. Look for Scholarships
If you’re a college student and you don’t want to take out additional student loans since you took out some already, it’s a good idea to apply for scholarships that you qualify for based on your grade point average and other criteria. Meet with the financial aid counselor and also look through scholarship directories at the campus library.
15. Go To Free Events
The good thing about free events is that they often feature local artists and it’s a way to meet new friends and interact with the community. I attended a free Earth Day festival in April and I enjoyed the free entertainment although I paid for hot dogs and snowballs.
16. Send For Free Samples
I sometimes request free samples from different websites and it gives me the opportunity to try new products before I decide to buy them. I also use these samples during times when I run out of my regular toiletries and beauty products.
17. Indulge In The Public Library
The library has an amazing treasure chest of books and magazines that you can spend hours reading, and you can borrow the book for a few days or weeks. I loved going to the library as a child and my favorite books to get from there are nonfiction books and cookbooks.
18. Take Pictures Outside
This is an inexpensive way to have fun and once you take the pictures, create a portfolio out of them because you could turn this into a freelance photography career if you continue to get better at photography skills.
19. Write Stories
I wrote my first story at age 12 and when I showed it to my grandmother, she encouraged me in my writing career for years and she still does. When you write stories you create a fun imaginary world with words and it’s possible to earn a stable living from your writing if you apply yourself and network with others. Writing is an inexpensive way to relieve stress and have fun at home.
20. Swim At The Local Pools
During the summer many cities have recreational centers that let people use their pools for free and if you love swimming, this is an inexpensive way to beat the heat.