Unless you’ve been living in a time capsule and have just now been unfrozen and brought back to the present time, you know we’re living during a pandemic and life as we know it has changed, almost in an instant. The entire world is being affected economically in ways we couldn’t have imagined would be possible, especially not on such a global scale. Because of this, medical costs are skyrocketing, many businesses that are not considered essential are closed down, which means millions of American citizens are out of work and as of now, we really don’t have any specific date as to when things are going to return to business as usual. Which brings me to my next point: because of the global impact of this pandemic, the normal we once knew may be a new normal when things do get up and running again. Since this is something we’ve never experienced before, we don’t really know what to expect.
But there is good news in this! Even in times of uncertainty and lean finances, even if it’s pennies at a time, you can still budget your money in a way that, no matter how things pan out when this is over, you can still work toward maintaining a lifestyle you have now or at least some semblance of it going forward. How can you do that, you ask? By adopting a frugal living lifestyle.
What is frugal living? Frugal living is defined as the quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulness.” Ever since I’ve become a health coach, I’ve become way more aware of how wasteful we can be, even myself! The advantages of living in a 1st world country is that we have the luxury to do things like, buy extra items, or discard leftovers. So in talking about frugality, that’s what we’re going to focus on today, a lack of wastefulness.
Frugal living means being a great steward over what you’ve been given. It’s not hoarding or being stingy. It just simply means being responsible with what you have. Here are four frugal tips for you to incorporate into your lifestyle:
1. Cut your grocery bill in half. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the cost to feed a family of four in January 2020 ranged from $857.70 to $1300.00/month! Finding a way to cut this in half could make a world of difference. How?
-Stop paying for convenience: pre-washed, pre-chopped, pre-cooked foods. You can take a little extra time at home and do these things on your own. Many of these foods are lacking their essential nutrients anyhow.
-Look for whole foods: Preparing whole foods at home is cheaper and gives you greater control over the ingredients like sugar, salt, and even the flavor of your food! If you don’t have recipes or don’t have an idea of where to begin prepping foods, you should search online for instructions or, you should consider joining my CGE Brunch Membership!
-Plan your menu around sale items: Many grocers offer specials on items in their meat and produce departments once or twice a month. Shopping early and often can help you identify those sales before everyone else can get to them.
-Don’t confine yourself to one store: Pay attention to the sale papers.
-Join grocery reward programs: Even helps out with gas!
-Couponing: Many sites will allow you to download coupons right to your phone but be careful, it’s very addictive.
-Ethnic supermarkets offer incredible savings: They charge less because they have the advantage of being able to use a variety of sources. This also allows them to offer more of a variety of food.
2. Save big on OTC medications. Simple changes can have a significant impact on you this month and for months to come. How?
-Seek reliable stores that have guarantees and verified sources for their medicines.
-Switch to generic versions. They tend to be of similar quality and cost less money.
-Try homeopathic treatments. You can make DIY versions of things like Pedialyte, headache ointments, cough suppressants, and so much more. These are also discussions that we have in my CGE Brunch Membership group!
3. Save money eating out by using restaurant coupons. You can save about $15 each time you eat out. The average American eats out at least once 3-5 times per week, so that’s a savings of $45-$75 a week! Restaurants offer some great dining discounts that often come with free food in the form of entrees, appetizers or desserts! You can locate restaurant coupons online by doing a general search. Just type in the restaurant’s name, followed by “coupon.” com, and foodcoupons.net are great sites. For more exclusive restaurants try Groupon or Living Social. Also the old-fashion way still works too: local newspapers and flyers!
4. Create a monthly plan to chart your budget. Use online worksheets and forms instead of traditional paper ones. They’re convenient, effective and they don’t require filing and storage space. I have an online course on frugal living in which I also include a budget worksheet and give you 25 frugal living tips to help stretch your budget. Click here for more information!
I have this saying around the Bunch household: We put the “budge” in budget! I say this because adopting frugal living techniques and implementing a budget gives you room to wiggle and to breathe in a situation that might be tight at the moment!