A financial education is something that everyone could benefit from, but typically it is only sought after by economics students, entrepreneurs, and businessmen and women. Sooner or later, a lot more people realize that it is necessary and beneficial to understand the relationships between income, savings, expenses, taxes, insurance, and retirement savings. They learn from their financial mistakes and wish they could’ve avoided some common traps, if only they knew about it sooner. In the case of finance, it is never too late to improve and the sooner you learn more about your finances, the sooner you will be able to benefit from it. You will quickly see that it isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems. The management of personal finances relies mostly on logic and common sense. The details of interest rates and opportunity cost are easy to understand, once you do a bit of reading about them.
Save Money by Living on a Budget
We will start with the basics of how to live on a budget and it will mostly focus on frugal living in the USA and UK, with tips, tricks and strategies on how to start saving money. However, almost all of the strategies discussed here can be applied in other countries similar to the USA and UK as well. This article will cover the topics of budgeting, savings on food and housing, traveling on a tight budget, and some other tricks for happy frugal living.
When it comes to personal finances, learning how to start saving money is the most impactful thing you can do to change them in the short term. Our finances depend on three major categories – income, savings, and expenses. A monthly budget calculator is a free online tool you can use to track the change in each of these categories over time; hopefully the money management tools that we share will make a difference in your bottom line. Out of these three, savings get accumulated over time and if you don’t already have any, in the short term there is not much you can do about it. Income is a category that you can’t change in the short term either; you can change in the long term, and perhaps even in the medium term, if you look into ways to make some extra money on the side. Still, even finding temporary work is not easy. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that so many people are realizing the need to learn how to start saving money. The monthly budget calculator can really help you to plan future changes in these categories easily and for free, especially when it comes to expenses and savings.
Cutting down on expenses is the quickest way to change the state of your finances and also introduce a positive change in your life so we will be sharing some great tips on saving money.
Frugal Living Tips to Save Money
Learning how to live frugally is all about learning how to eliminate waste from your life and make the most of what you have. It is partly about getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to get more out of life, to utilize all your resources better and more efficiently. Like any good thing, it doesn’t come easy. You might find the process challenging, slow or frustrating at times. Just remember what you wanted to achieve when you started and try to have a positive attitude. You are already improving yourself every step of the way and that is what counts.
So let us get started with the specifics of how to live frugally. Food, housing, and clothing are the primary expenses of most households and therefore they are the centre of most ‘how to save money’ tips.
There is a good reason for this. These expenses collectively account for a large chunk of our budgets, and at the same time, they are easier to influence than some other expenses like insurance, health and similar. Food in particular is one area where it is relatively easy to introduce changes and save a considerable amount of money. The best way how to start saving money with food is to absolutely eliminate any and all waste of the food you buy. In addition, you can adopt certain habits to help you save even more, such as buying in bulk, buying online, buying certain cheap and healthy ingredients, doing a grocery price comparison to save money on groceries, growing some of your food and picking some of your food for free. That’s how to live cheap and still be able to create a health grocery shopping list! If you put all of these strategies at work at the same time then you could easily lower your food expenses by half and still enjoy healthy ingredients and diverse meals.
Regarding housing and housing expenses, there is no easy way how to start saving money. If you need to considerably lower you expenses, then changing your housing situation can definitely do the trick. However, it is not as easy as good planning or doing more of your shopping online, as in the case of food and clothing. No, lowering your housing expenses significantly can only be done in one of two ways (both of which are relatively inconvenient): either you get a roommate or you move to a cheaper place. It’s a good idea to look into both possibilities and see which one suits you more financially.
Grocery Savings and a Frugal Lifestyle
Either way, you should also look into getting rid of some of your things at the same time, whether to make space for a new roommate or to have fewer things to move to your new place. People have a habit of holding on to unnecessary things that they might need at some point in the future or that they feel some kind of attachment to. However, cleaning out your space can be a very rewarding experience both in terms of free space and in terms of letting go of unnecessary burdens. You can either sell or donate your things, or do both, and you will end up with some extra cash in your pocket and the knowledge that you did something beneficial on multiple levels.
When it comes to entertainment and culture, a lot of people think that they will definitely have to give up one aspect of it on their frugal lifestyle – traveling and exploring new places. However, this is not necessarily true. There are two basic ways to do traveling on the cheap – backpacking and cheap RV living. Out of these, RV traveling is probably cheaper, because you can cook and you don’t have to eat out all the time – even fast food prices add up over time. Traveling with an RV is also more comfortable – you always have a roof over your head and a comfortable bed. The monthly expense for cheap RV living can be from ₤400 to ₤460 (or about $650 to $700). This expense becomes really affordable if in the meantime you are renting out your house or apartment to tenants or if you share this fixed cost with a couple of traveling companions.
When you are transitioning into a new, more frugal lifestyle, it would probably help you a lot if you joined a community of people who are already doing it! There are a ton of online communities out there that talk about all the aspects of how to live on a budget. Whether you are interested in free cultural and entertainment events, or some easy and healthy recipes, or savings tips regarding banking and insurance, or even how to grow your own food, there are a lot of blogs and forums where people like you are discussing precisely these topics. So if you are looking to start your own garden, but you have no idea where to start, head online and get all the advice you need for free, along with some encouragement and support as well. You might be surprised to find out how many people are talking about ‘how to save money’ tips. Share with them what you’ve learned so far and gather some fresh ideas that would fit into your lifestyle.
Learning how to live frugally can be a very fun and rewarding process if that is your attitude going in. It can inspire you to simplify your life, eliminate waste, and get back in touch with nature. If or when you find yourself in a situation to have to significantly cut back on spending, don’t despair. Remember that you can still enjoy a great quality of life if you adjust your habits accordingly. Hopefully, your takeaway from all of this will be that financial difficulties are bound to occur to most people sooner or later, and certainly it’s not the end of the world. In fact, many people start living frugally not because of financial struggles but because they simply want to increase their efficiency for a more sustainable way of life. So look at this process a learning experience. While you are learning how to live on a budget, joining a community will help make your transition smoother and easier. It always helps to hear the advice of someone who has already gone through what you’re going through. And you will probably end up making new friends along the way.