So many things can prevent us from living a frugal life. Everyone faces their own challenges, whether or not we know a big expense is coming or if it’s an unpleasant surprise. Unexpected bills can happen at any time. When life causes us to get into a financial mess, we need frugal living hacks to get back on track.
When we were younger, we often let our credit card debt get out of control. We sometimes had more than one card that was almost reaching the maximum allowance. Instead of knocking out the debt immediately, life circumstances (like car repairs or medical bills) would bring us into serious credit card debt. When that happened we had a little budget meeting. To get out of debt we would go on a caveman budget and pay down the card quickly.
We called it a caveman budget (similar to a caveman diet). Sometimes we would discontinue unnecessary services, such as cable, newspaper delivery, or magazines. We made the choice to avoid all dining out and events that were unnecessary. There were no clothing purchases or movie nights out. We cut spending to the bone. There were months that we even took a No-Spend month. And, we usually paid off the credit cards in a few short months.
We were a family that have moved numerous times. The first few moves were when we were younger and had stronger backs. We had all of our accumulated possessions plus my husband’s parent’s possessions. The belongings had not been gone through and we ended up having to move ourselves with two huge truckloads. This was very expensive and exhausting work.
By the time we reached middle age, my husband decided that he wasn’t moving all that stuff again. We weren’t using most of it and had to store it in our attic or a paid storage unit. This was a lot of extra work and expensive. We decided to de-clutter our belongings.
We started with the house and made four piles: things to keep, things to donate, things to recycle, and things to trash. As we found things to keep, we immediately boxed them up and labeled them. The things to be donated were placed in one pile. The trashed stuff went immediately into trash bags. Each week the trash was dragged out to the road, where it was picked up by the waste management.
Our donation pile grew and grew. We had so much that we called our local thrift store to come and pick up everything at one time. We had them sign our itemized list, which made the donation tax deductible. Our recycle pile was also quite large. As we sorted our belongings, we already had boxes set up to divide the recycling into: cardboard, glass, plastic, and metal. My husband took all the stuff to a local recycling center.
Getting rid of many of our unneeded belongings made our next move so much lighter. We only moved with one truck, instead of two. We saved tons of money and knew that we had done our best with everything that we got rid of.
Make Do With Less
After getting rid of things that we didn’t need, our entire lives felt lighter. We had less junk, but also had less clothes, shoes, books, and knick-knacks. We didn’t miss all those other things, and made a choice to not buy lots of things we didn’t really need. It was much better to feel content with less. As we adapted to living with less stuff, we looked at new purchases differently.
We started trying to see how we could prevent future unnecessary purchases, by changing our thinking. Did we really need a new shiny object? Couldn’t we just use something we already had? As we looked around, we usually found that the new purchase wasn’t necessary. This really saved our budget!
Put A 24 Hour Hold On New Purchases
Many times when we browsed beautiful things on the internet, we’re tempted to just click and put that item into the cart. It’s also so tempting to just keep our credit card number in our favorite store’s online site. Before we knew it, we made too many purchases. Instead of making quick and unnecessary purchases, we decided to stop and think about it for 24 hours. If we talked it over and decided that we really needed it (and it was the best price available), then we would click purchase.
These 4 Frugal-Living Hacks have helped me over the years to live a more frugal life. Making poor buying decisions is something that everyone can do. When that happens to you, don’t be so hard on yourself. Life happens! But, after that, remember these hacks and get back on track. What is your favorite Frugal Living Hack?
@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman