By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches
I recently ran a series called 100 ways to save money on my blog, I did it because each day I receive emails asking where to start. The reality is there are so many ways to embrace a more simple, green & frugal life, but it can seem overwhelming, particularly if life is proving stressful. Part of what has helped me over the years, is learning from others about what works for them; while we all may be in different seasons in our lives, with different budgets, other's small tips have made the world of difference to me. So today, I thought we'd play a little game to encourage each other! The game is sharing what 1 tip you would recommend to be more frugal, what 1 tip you would recommend to be more green and what 1 tip you would recommend to live a more simple life! Here are my three....
To live a more frugal life my one recommendation to start would be....commit to no-spending days! Nominate two days each week where you don't spend anything, that means you don't buy newspapers, gum, groceries, lunch, buy your bus pass, pay to go to the gym etc. Obviously if you have memberships that's different as it isn't costing you anything on those days, but commit to two days a week where no money leaves your wallet, purse etc. This will really help you see how little purchases which are usually unplanned, effect your budget and will help you live a more frugal life by taming the temptation to spend!
To live a greener lifestyle my one recommendation to start would be...always try to buy everything (or as much as you can) second hand, that includes clothing, kitchenware, books, gifts, toys, garden ware etc. The reason this works for me, is it really stops me making as many unplanned purchases as it takes time to find what is needed and it is greener as you are reusing what has already been made/used and not adding to the "chain" of more things needing to be produced. I keep a small list on my refrigerator door with things it would be handy to find, that might be a book I love which I'd like to own or new canning jars. I allow myself time to find them and trust that I will. I have been waiting for a particular recipe book for over a year, and two weeks ago I found it for about $2 (instead of $20!).
To live a simpler lifestyle my one recommendation to start would be...commit to set evenings at home and one day (or most of one day) each weekend. I began doing this five years ago, committing to Monday evenings, Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings (after our "let's celebrate the weekend swim") as well as from about 1pm Sundays at home. Caring for four children, with busy school and extra-curricular activities was impacting on simplicity, a few small changes and prioritization helped. Knowing we had Sunday afternoons & evenings to draw, read, craft, go for a walk, listen to music and not go anywhere (I also limited errands in the home) was so restful, add to that three evenings a week where after the busyness of school & homework we could walk to the park, play board games, read stories etc well it just made life more simple and easier. I think we often feel that going to the movies, meeting up with friends, going out for dinner and the like, will make us feel better, and I think in the moment it does, but long term, coming up with a more restful and relaxed home life really does help you life a simpler life, where you have time to establish a good routine, keep up with the household and just rest.
So those are my three recommendations? I'd love if you added what your three tips would be! I'm sure you'll teach me something I can implement to take another step on this journey!