Hello everyone! Today’s post is a guest post written by Brian who blogs over at Debt Therapy Scotland – please visit his site for some good tips on managing debt. Enjoy!
Learning to live frugally so that you get the most value out of your money is a great thing to do, whether you have debt to pay off or not. You don’t have to spend lots of money to enjoy a good quality of life.
In fact, by becoming more self-sufficient and choosing carefully what you spend your money on, you will benefit from these good financial habits now and in the future. Read on for 5 ways you can live for less money.
1. Commute for cheap or free
Cars are undoubtedly a money drain – financed or leased cars especially, because of loan repayments. But even old or second hand cars can still present big bills through repairs, MOTs, car tax, fuel and running costs.
An easy way to reduce the amount of money you spend on commuting is to car share or use public transport. If you’re a two car family, perhaps you could cut down to one car. The very best way however to commute around your local area for next to no cost is by cycling.
You might be surprised, but it is possible to do the grocery shop, school run and arrive at work without looking sweaty by using a bike to get there (maybe not all at the same time)! Check out these great tips on commuting without the stress factor by bike from the British Cycling website.
2. Get more use out of what you already have
Rather than buying something new when items become worn or end up breaking, try giving them a new lease of life before dipping into your pocket to purchase a replacement. For example, changing the buttons on your coat or re-heeling your shoes is a much cheaper option than having to buy new ones.
Electronic devices will break eventually. But rather than rushing out to the shops to replace them, try to fix them yourself first. There are lots of video tutorials on YouTube on how to mend all sorts of gadgets yourself, even items like your mobile phone, TV or laptop.
If you enjoy being creative, try upcycling some of your things to create something totally different. Empty wine bottles or jars make beautiful vases or lanterns once they’ve been spray painted and you can make great watering cans from empty milk containers with pierced lids!
3. Stockpile food and consumer goods
It makes sense in the long run to buy more of the same product if you can grab it whilst on special offer – and if it has a long shelf life. Stockpiling is a very good way to make sure you’ll always be able to manage with necessities even when times are hard financially.
Start by making note of food and toiletry items that you buy regularly along with the price you pay at each store. Doing so will help you identify where you can find and buy the same product on special offer at a later date.
Look out for coupons and use these when you go shopping so that you can buy as many items as possible at a discounted price. Stockpiling can’t be done overnight, but little by little you can build up a good supply that over time will save you a small fortune.
4. Cook in bulk and freeze
It’s generally cheaper to bulk buy food items. You can then cook food in bulk and freeze extra portions for later. Not only will this save you time in the future, as you can simply defrost and reheat meals, you’ll also be saving on a lot of money too.
5. Use traditional skills to help you save money
If you really want to live for less, you need to be thinking about self-sufficiency. Growing your own veggies, baking your own bread or cakes and cooking homemade meals will mean that you save money and eat well too. You don’t need a big garden to start growing your own produce. Many veggies can be grown in raised plant beds and containers or even indoors.
If you want to go one step further, you could try canning and preserving your food. Canned food generally has a shelf life of 1 to 5 years and you can preserve fruit, veggies, fish and meat. If you combine stockpiling with canning or freezing food, you’ll soon be able to sustain yourself and your family very well.
Once you can start living on less through getting the best value for money in everything you buy and becoming more self-sufficient generally, you’ll find yourself with more money to spare at the end of every month. You can then choose what to do with that money and maybe even make some life changing decisions!