As the recession deepens, frugal living has become respected once again – if only because it is a necessity now for so many Americans.
What is Frugal Living?
Living a frugal lifestyle is new for many facing job loss, reduced income, or the task of getting out of debt. Others want to embrace a more simple existence and live frugally by choice instead of necessity. and live better on less.
Frugal doesn’t always mean cheap, although it may translate into this at times. Living in a frugal way for my family means that we don’t go on shopping sprees at big box stores — but we might save for months to buy an expensive, American-made wool blanket. We’re often frugal by saving for something made of quality materials that will last and hold up over years of use, instead of spending money on cheaper items that wear out easily and have to be replaced frequently.
Look for your highest household expenses and find ways to trim these – it’s easier to find big savings where there is big spending.
These frugal tips are from my own experience:
- Instead of using oil to heat our home, we burn anthracite coal. The savings is thousands of dollars per year.
- We rented out our home with an expensive mortgage and now pay less than $500 a month on our owner-held note for a smaller house with more land.
- Opt for a high-deductible health insurance plan with lower monthly premiums and a tax-deductible Health Savings Account option. If your typical medical expenses are low, this can be an excellent way to save hundreds of dollars a month.
- Save money gardening by growing vegetables and fruit at home as inexpensively as possible. Use free manure, saved seeds and recycled water to cut costs to the bone.
Making frugal recipes can help you save money and even feed your family more nutritiously. When you’re cooking from scratch and making use of local, in-season produce, your food costs go down while nutrition improves.
While we don’t have an orchard on our own property, we take advantage of local pick-your-own cherries, strawberries, peaches and apples, in the spring, summer and fall. I home can and preserve plenty for the winter months, meaning that I pay local, in-season prices on our year’s supply of fruit. It sure beats buying peaches by the pound in November … and wondering where on earth they were grown.
We buy grass-fed beef by the side or whole steer and not only is it healthier for my famiy, it is less expensive than buying most natural, organic or even regular beef in the grocery store.Having this on hand means I can whip up frugal recipes quickly any night of the week.
As you transition to frugal cooking, start and maintain a frugal recipes collection that incorporates your family’s preferences with locally available items and budget ingredients.