Families, communities, and nations are stronger when they practice frugal living. The current inflation rate in the United States is 8.26 percent. This is down from 8.54 percent last month, but it is still at a 40-year high. Inflation is leading to lots of problems, such as people dipping into their savings to purchase day-to-day needs.
I filled the gas tank in my car this week and paid $5.35 a gallon at Costco. So far, I can afford to pay for fuel, but I may not always be able to afford the increasing price. However, many people are already at the point where they cannot afford to buy food and/or fuel. This post will give some suggestions on how to live frugally, and much of the information will come from a textbook titled Fundamentals of Family Finance – Living Joyfully within Your Means written by E. Jeffrey Hill and Bryan L. Sudweeks.
The authors taught that there are two options for living within your means. The first option is to increase your income, and the second option is to decrease your expenses. Since we have more control over what we spend, it is easier to decrease expenses than to increase income. Here are some of the authors’ suggestions for decreasing expenses.
Saving Money on Food
Remember H.A.L.T. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired….
Make a menu and write out a shopping list.
Buy store brands.
Reduce the number of trips to the supermarket.
Pay cash. [Studies show that people pay more when they pay with a credit card than if they use cash.]
Buy in bulk and prepare meals from raw ingredients.
Saving Money When You Go Out to Eat
Share a meal with your date.
Order ice water, not soda.
Go out for a late lunch instead of dinner.
Use coupons/savings cards and books.
Saving Money on Transportation
Buy a low-mileage, late-model used car instead of a new car.
Pay cash for your vehicle.
Look at the total cost of ownership. [Sticker price plus cost of gasoline, repairs, insurance, and service.]
Get an inexpensive car for male teenage drivers.
Service your car on time.
Shop around for auto insurance.
Walk and bike places.
Save Money on Household Expenses
Get rid of cable.
Get rid of your landline.
Cut your family’s hair.
Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer.
Choose cell phone plans wisely.
Turn off electronic devices … [when] not using [them].
Shop at garage sales in nice neighborhoods early in the day.
Shop at … thrift stores.
Set a waiting period before making major household purchases.
Save Money on Recreation
Use reward miles from your credit card to pay for air travel.
Be flexible to go at the last minute.
Stay with family members.
Vacation at home. [staycation]
Go to the dollar theater.
Make good use of the library.
There are many ways to spend less money, but some are more applicable than others. Each individual and family should look at the list and choose one or two ways to decrease spending in each category. My husband and I have been practicing some of the suggestions for most of our married life. However, there are some ways that I could add – such as adding a waiting period before I purchase something. Often when I decide to wait, I choose to not purchase the item. However, we practice frugality, we can strengthen our family, community, and nation by living within our means.