Recently Dane was reading a blog post shared on facebook for 20 tips for frugal living. He pointed out that we did all those things and more and I should write my own blog post on it. Well it’s pooring with rain outside so I thought now was a good a time as any.
We weren’t always frugal. I grew up with my mum being very frugal so i was exposed to frugality growing up but it was lost in my late teens and early 20s. As soon as I had money I blew it on things. I wouldn’t say It was entirely wasted as I traveled a lot and gained lots of life experience but I do sometimes wish I had invested some of it while I was earning a lot.
Our frugal living lessons are a strong part of our current simple living journey but they started more out of necessity and we have come to embrace the lifestyle. When we returned from Europe with a bun in the oven we brought home with us a lot of debt.
Being young we just assumed we would come home and go back to working hard and it would be paid off quick smart but life had other ideas.
We will be debt free soon and it’s a wonderful feeling. Here’s our tips for Frugal living it’s not for everyone and some may seem extreme but they’ve helped us immensely!
Frugal living tips and tricks
- Grocery Shopping – We do a big bulk shop once a month and stick to the list we get all our main ingredients and load up on fruit and vegetables we pay $250 AU per month on shopping for a family of 4, 2 cats and a growing dog
- Cook from scratch – The more you cook from scratch the more you save you can make a lot from very basic ingredients and the more you cook the more you learn
- Grow your own food – I used to be a hopeless gardener everything I planted died. I started with seedlings but these don’t really save you money. Start with seeds and a mini greenhouse
- Reuse and recycle! Plastic strawberry and tomato punnets make great mini green houses for starting seeds and yogurt containers are good for storing dried fruit or flours in.
- Preserve the harvest – sometimes at the fruit barn there will be a great special on a trolley load of fruit or vegetables I always grab them and preserve them.
- Buy what you need not what you want- I used to want what I wanted right away. Now I think about it do I really need it or can I use something else in the meantime. If it is something I really need I start a coin jar and save for it. We bought our deep freezer with coins we had saved and managed a holiday!
- Darn your socks! Mend your clothes! – seriously
8. Simplify your life and sell what you don’t need – look at what you have around you. Do you really need all of it? Could you take a photo of it for a memento and sell the object?
8.When clothes stop being wearable make rags! Rag bags always come in handy and your helping the earth and your wallet!
9. Make your own cleaning products! I recently read a article by a Dr about the amount of allergies and diseases around today that are likely caused by chemical cleaning products. It’s easy and cheap to make your own. Bicarbonate soda and vinegar are amazing, cheap and gentle.
You can find our washing liquid recipe here https://huntergathererforager.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/homemade-washing-liquid-borax-free/
10. Save mandarin peels and dry to use in tea, as fire lighters in pot pourri.
11.Save Orange skins and cover in vinegar and sit for two weeks to make your own Orange vinegar
12.Use what you have. When thinking of a project or even a recipe look at what you have around you and think or how it could be used to make it work.
13.Watch at the check out and check your receipts. I’m one of those people that hate making a fuss but you’d be surprised how often mistakes are made. At the end of the day it’s your money and it all adds up.
14. Check specials of things you always purchase and stock up while they are cheap.
15.Insulate your home and dress warmly. Being in a rental makes this challenging but there’s still things you can do to save on heating. We dress warmly use hot water bottles, cover drafts and have rugs. The only heating we have is a small wood fire which brings me to number 16.
16. Collect your own fuel. For those of you with a woodstove collecting your own fuel can save so much money. Invest in a good chainsaw it will pay itself off in no time
17.Stop drinking as much and brew your own alcohol. We rarely buy alcohol and for a long time we didn’t drink much at all anymore until we started brewing our own. This year we’ve made loads of country wine and cider which are simple to make and delicious. We are now saving for a still so we can make spirits to use as a base for liqueurs, tinctures and essences.
18.use the library not only are there great books to borrow but you can also get DVDs, Cds and magazines. I love when the new grass roots magazine comes out and I can borrow it!
19. Get a hold on your finances and pay off debt. Rhonda from down to earth blog and books has a great method of paying off debts. In short start with the lowest a put extra amounts on. Once this is paid off move on to the next smallest.
20.Restore furniture, buy second hand. I love old furniture it a often made better than the new modern stuff and when you find a good quality item going cheap it’s like finding a treasure chest
21.Check garage sales and thrift stores regularly you never know what you’ll find
22. Keep your baby gear until your finished having kids. All our baby things were packed away after our first. Our second went into them two years later and they are now packed away for our third. We’ve hardly bought anything for our second child which has saved us loads.
23. Use cloth nappies not only are they much better for the environment a full time set of pocket nappies is around $200 and will last through all your children. Most families spend around $5000 on disposable nappies per child from birth to toilet training and they take over 100 yrs to break down!
24.Walk everywhere you can! Before moving to the country I would walk everywhere or ride my bike to work. Even now I still walk 40minutes into town sometimes. Walking is free , gets you places and is great exercise
25.Use the power of the Sun to dry clothes. Not only do you save money on electricity but your getting vitamin D and exercise
26.Make small changes before diving in to a whole frugal lifestyle you’ll be more likely to follow through with things and it won’t be such a shock but keep motivated and don’t stress if you slip once in a while
27.Buy generic not brand items. Brand names are often the same as the generic one but 4 times the price. Dane used to work in a cereal factory and both the brand name and no name cereal were made in the same place!
28.Stop eating take away so much. We eat take away maybe once every 3-4 months and we save it for somewhere we KNOW is great. Take away food is expensive and unhealthy we now prefer to spend that money on good ingredients.
28. Brew your own coffee. We have a little Italian coffee esspresso maker that goes on the stove it makes wonderful cafe quality coffee and was a great investment.
29. Pack a picnic. We love to explore new places and we learnt from backpacking that having a picnic is just as enjoyable and satisfying as a cafe lunch. It’s easier with kids too!
30.Stop buying junk food! We decided a while ago to not buy ‘snacks’ and make them ourselves. This led to a lot of fun creative nights where we made our own crisps and Tim tams. We make popcorn on the stovetop and get creative. I’m still totally addicted to sugar and chocolate but I have to make a effort if I want some.
31. Do your own hair. I’m the hairdresser in this family and cut everyone’s hair. There’s so many tutorials on YouTube that it’s easy to learn now.
32. Drink water, make your own cordial, add lemon or start fermenting your own delicious drinks and stop buying sugary drinks.
That’s it from me for now I’m going to read through and update if I think of more but I fear of I keep going I’ll repeat myself!