9 Creative Frugal Living Tips With a Big Impact
Over the last three years, we've done many different things to cut our expenses to live a more frugal life. Today, I want to share with you some frugal living tips with a big impact.
We have been on our journey to financial independence for a few years, and these are the strategies we used to reach our goals.
1. Decreased our housing payment
The first frugal living tip that had the biggest impact on our debt-free journey was to decrease our housing payments. We were paying $2500 a month to rent a beautiful house.
Since it was a rental house, we were throwing away a lot of money every month that wasn't going toward any asset that was ours. We concluded that if we downsized to a smaller house, we could save at least $1,000 a month.
We found a smaller house that was $1,300 a month for rent. We also find savings in our heating, air conditioning, and water bill.
2. Getting rid of car payments
Getting rid of car payments has been a significant saving. At the time, we had a lease, and that lease payment was about $500 a month.
My husband's car had gotten paid off about a year before we started our debt-free plan. We were able to sell it for about $13,000. We were able to find two cars for the price of one and have no car payments. That immediately eliminated $500 from our monthly expenses.
3. Meal planning
The next thing that has dramatically impacted our budget and the debt-free journey is meal planning. Meal planning has saved us at least $500 a month, probably much more, because it eliminates the need for restaurants because we eat at home every night.
We have gone to restaurants for special occasions. I only have to cook three times a week and eat leftovers on other nights. Meal planning has been one of the biggest money savers each month for us.
4. Analyze childcare
Another frugal living tip that made a big impact on our debt-free journey is doing a break-even analysis on childcare. Many people assume that they can't afford to be stay-at-home parents, but sometimes you can't afford not to be a stay-at-home parent.
When we started the journey, all three kids were still in daycare, and we were paying $3,000 a month. I realized we could save $3,000 if I stayed home, worked on my blog, and saved money on childcare. We did a few different creative things when I still had to work a little.
I worked part-time, and we put our kids in Mother's Day out programs. We also tried changing off days; he worked one day, I worked the next day, and the other parent stayed home with the kids.
Don't assume that putting your kids in daycare so that you can work is the only way to make money.
5. Evaluate your health care costs
We were spending about $500 per person monthly for our Blue Cross Blue Shield plan and switched to a health-sharing plan. This is mainly for those that are self-employed or don't get health insurance as a benefit at their job.
This means we pay cash for the majority of our doctor visits. However, if something catastrophic were to happen, they would cover anything over $5,000 per occurrence.
We have the most minimal plan, the Bronze plan. We only pay $275 a month for all five of us, so we're saving over $1,000 a month using the health-sharing plan.
6. Track your debt
Writing down your debt and keeping track of it is a frugal living tip you should always do, whether you're in debt or feel like you're super comfortable and have tons of money. Keeping track of your spending and debt can help you stay motivated and aware of things getting out of hand.
We keep a debt pay-off tracker on our refrigerator and track how much we're paying off every month.
7. Have a budget
On that note, make a budget every month. You need to be on a budget because if you don't have your spending categorized, you will spend it wherever, whenever.
A budget is not meant to be restrictive. It's meant to be a plan for your spending. Creating a plan for every dollar you make each month is the best way to decide how much you can put toward your goals each month.
8. Use cash envelopes
What we do is we have money allocated in the cash envelopes every month.
If we make an online purchase or somewhere that doesn't take cash and use our debit card, then we take the cash out of the envelope and put it in a little bucket where we keep our change. Then at the end of the month, we put it back in the bank.
That's how we keep track of online spending. Having those envelopes is awesome for accountability. Things like expenses come out as auto drafts every month from the account.
9. Stop caring what other people think
This is probably the most challenging thing overall when you're on a debt-free journey. We've done a lot of weird things. A lot of people have opinions about what we're doing.
Many people have opinions about Dave Ramsey and his plan to live debt free, but it feels right. Whenever we're doing the plan, it feels right.
Frugal living tips with a big impact
I hope these frugal living tips give you ideas of how to jump-start your debt-free journey, get more room in your budget, or just how to live more frugally. If you don't have any debt but feel like you've been spending more than you want and want some ideas for living frugally,
I hope this helps you. Do you have any frugal tips that have had a big impact on your life? Please share them in the comments!