How many times have you clicked on an article purporting to ‘blow your mind’ with money-saving ideas, to only to be directed to such tired advice as ‘lose that latte habit’ or ‘ditch that cable!’ Yawn! No one subscribes to cable TV or drinks daily $4 lattes without being perfectly aware that they’re spending unnecessarily. This frugal advice has been news breaking to no one, ever! Want real and substantive frugal advice? Great, here you go:
Join a Buy Nothing group
Yup, you read that right, buy nothing. These groups are cropping up all over the world, and most likely in your area. Group members both give and receive and they’re amazing for redistributing the excess in our homes to people who can actually use your stuff. I recently went this route to score a MacBook computer charger after mine went kaput, which saved me a cool $79. Click HERE to find (or start) a Buy Nothing group in your area.
Read more: The #1 rule of cheap travel
Repair instead of replace
With the plethora of YouTube videos and online companies such as iFixit.com and Instructables.com, you no longer have an excuse to replace your stuff every time it’s slightly busted. Whether it’s a broken iPhone screen or a clothing dryer with a burnt-out fuse, it turns out that you can fix your own stuff, which both keeps you on budget and aids our lovely planet.
Wear your clothing more than once
Unless your entire wardrobe consists of workout gear, chances are it’s not getting soaked with sweat on a daily basis. Most clothing can be worn more than once before it needs to be laundered. The key is to air it out between uses, so if you can avoid the temptation to toss your clothes onto the floor, you can get multiple days of wear from your outfits. Heck, Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh even went so far as to suggest that people not wash their jeans at all! I’m not that extreme, but the man makes a point. And as a nice upside, clothing fibers last longer when they’re not laundered so frequently.
Rethink your social gathering patterns
Do your get togethers always involve a spending activity? Time to break that pattern! Yes, it’s nice to gather in a restaurant, bar or your favorite shop, but unless your name rhymes with Schmockafeller, it might be time to take it down a notch. Try meeting up for a walk, browsing in a library or hosting frugal meals in one another’s homes. The focus should be on the company you keep, not the bill on the table.
Ramp down your gift giving
December gets the bulk of attention when it comes to gift giving, but you and I both know that birthdays, weddings, baby showers and house warmings happen all year long. If you’ve fallen into the habit of shelling out big bucks for every holiday or life event, it’s time to start from scratch. Try gifting something you already own like a much loved book or a meaningful family item. You can even go the route of a home cooked treat or flowers from your yard. And if you’re feeling really brave, you might even start a dialog about whether gifts even need to be exchanged at all.
Tired of your decor? Declutter and rearrange
It seems like decor trends change faster than ever these days, and it would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your home needs to reflect the pages of your favorite decorating magazine. Guess what? You don’t live in a magazine! You live in a home and you likely even live on a budget. I’ve found that the perfect cure for the home blahs is a ruthless session of decluttering and rearranging. Clean and spare is all the rage right now, and switching things up can give a fresh look without a penny spent.
Borrow instead of buy
How often do you and your next-door-neighbor both have need of a wheelbarrow at the same time? When it comes to infrequently used items, it makes sense to borrow instead of buy. Our homes are likely filled with stuff that rarely sees the light of day, so let your trusted neighbors know that you’d like to set up a system to both lend and borrow. Just make sure that you return everything clean and in good condition.
Say no to yourself
It’s easy to slip into the habit of evening after evening of takeout meals or nights out with the guys, but if these activities don’t mesh with your budget, it’s time to act as your own naysayer. Giving into every whim gets expensive really quickly, and can become a big factor in living beyond your means. Sure, go ahead and indulge yourself now and then, just make it the exception instead of the rule. And it goes without saying, lose that latte habit!