Frugal Living Hacks that will Keep You Debt-Free for the Rest of Your Life
Taking out a loan to keep up with appearances has become an all-too-common norm, and it sees people falling into debt that puts a chokehold on their lives for years to come. This makes living a debt-free life in a world obsessed and run by consumerism seem like an impossible task.
Living debt-free doesn’t mean that you must sacrifice all your enjoyment in life. Rather, living frugally simply means that you prioritize your spending on the things that matter to you.
Here are some frugal living hacks that can keep you debt-free and happy for the rest of your life.
Budgets are fundamental to any financial success. They can help you to keep tabs on your income and expenses as well as let you allocate spending money to the things that you want to prioritize.
When it comes to drawing up your budget, make sure that you include all of your monthly expenses like groceries, entertainment, transport, utilities, and your rent or mortgage. This will keep you living within your means by restricting your expenses.
Sticking to your budget can ensure that you don’t spend too much money on unnecessary expenses. It’s also a great tool to help you to save a little every month so that you can splurge later.
Cook At Home
Going to restaurants should be a luxury, not an everyday occurrence. Cooking your meals at home will not only end up being cheaper, but it’s also much healthier. That’s because meals at restaurants tend to contain higher amounts of saturated fat, sodium, total fat, and overall calories than a good home-cooked meal. They’re also double the price!
If you’re cooking at home, you may as well cook in bulk. Doing this will stop you from caving into a takeout when you’re too tired to cook after a long day. You can plan your meals based on what’s on special in your supermarket and freeze around seven portions for the week.
Avoid Credit Cards
Interest on credit cards tends to be really steep, and the ease with which they can be used to purchase things that you can’t actually afford means that racking up unnecessary credit card debt can happen pretty quickly.
If you do use a credit card, make sure that you pay your balances at the end of every month to avoid unnecessary interest. But because credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control, it’s best that you avoid using them in the first place.
Do It Yourself
Learning how to DIY a bunch of things around your house can end up saving you a lot of money. For instance, you could learn some simple plumbing and electrical tricks. You could also paint things yourself and even make your own cleaning supplies and beauty products.
Shopping for birthdays and the festive season can become expensive quickly. If the thought is really what counts behind gifts, then why not put a little extra thought and effort in by making DIY gifts for your friends and family?
You can check out apps like Pinterest and YouTube for some DIY gift inspiration. Consider making gifts like a DIY birthstone bracelet, homemade candles, or a handmade dreamcatcher.
Decrease Your Electric Bill
You can find so many simple ways to decrease your electric bill.
For example, to cut back on the electricity needed to run your air conditioner, you could use fans. If it’s a hot summer evening, then make a dinner that doesn’t require your oven or wash your dishes in cold water. There are also energy-efficient light bulbs and remembering to turn off appliances and lights when you are not using them can help you to save on electricity.
Buying second-hand items like used clothing, electronics, and furniture can save you tons of money. It’s also more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Look for your nearest charity and thrift stores. You could also look at online marketplaces and keep your eyes and ears out for garage sales.
Avoid Impulsive Shopping
It’s so easy to impulsively buy something online these days. Very little thought tends to go behind clicking down on the purchase button—with disastrous consequences for your budget. Tackling your impulse buying habits is a must if you are to live frugally and debt-free. It is the biggest culprit of debt since impulsive buying doesn’t involve the consideration of long-term consequences.
You can avoid impulse buying by creating a strict shopping list and by waiting for 24 hours before buying something that wasn’t on your list. During this time frame, you may find that you no longer have a desire for the item or that you found it for a cheaper price somewhere else.
Save, Save, Save!
A big bonus of living frugally is that you’re able to save for the future. Make sure that you start saving for emergency expenses like unexpected car repairs and medical bills. You could also start saving for retirement.
Having enough cash in the piggy bank will mean that you don’t have to take out a loan and get into debt for paying for things you didn’t plan for.
The earlier you start, the longer time your money has to gain interest and grow.
Sell Old Things
Most of us have unnecessary clutter lying around. So why not sell some of the items that you have outgrown and no longer find yourself using?
You could turn your clutter into cash by having a garage sale or selling on sites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
Start Paying Off Your Debt
If you’re turning to frugal life because you’ve already racked up some debt, then you should start as soon as possible to take steps to reduce it.
You can do this by paying off your high-interest debts first, like credit card debt. You can then work towards paying off your lower interest-rate debts, like student loans and car loans. If possible, you could consolidate your debt into one loan which has a lower interest rate, which makes it much easier to pay off.
It’s also a good idea to become a bit more financially savvy and work out how to calculate profit margin based on your earnings and expenses and a few other useful accounting hacks. This will help you to manage your debt and avoid it in the future.
A Frugal Future Starts Now
Living frugally in the age of consumerism is possible, and it will keep you from having to live your life indebted to loans. It may mean cutting down on some cushy benefits, but it also means prioritizing what you care about and want to spend your money on, which can be more rewarding than simplistic impulse buying.