The idea of living a frugal lifestyle is not an appealing one for many people, implying a worsening of their lifestyle and living standards often due to economic necessity such as that being unfortunately experienced by many during the current recession. However frugality need not be an unpleasant experience to be endured while facing hard times, only to be ditched once work, income and/or wealth improve. Instead of thinking of living frugally just being about reducing spending due to hardship, consider frugality as a lifestyle change moving away from thoughtless, unnecessary and wasteful consumption. For many many people in the world the average westerner’s idea of living frugally would still be an unimaginably lavish lifestyle!
Some easy changes in lifestyle can get you and your family on the road to spending less and saving more. Shifting towards a more frugal lifestyle can, I would argue, also be a multi win situation; many of the changes you can make to be more frugal will not only help you save money but also help you reduce your carbon footprint, making you more green, and also help your personnel wellbeing. Being more frugal can therefore not only help your personal finances but also help the environment and your physical and mental health!
Lets look at few examples that are hopefully generic enough to be applicable to most people’s lives. For sure some of these ideas may not apply to your situation, or be too impractical to consider, but hopefully will stimulate you to see opportunities in your lifestyle where you can make changes, sometimes very easily, that can build up to make big differences!
In the Home. Is your hot water scalding you? How hot does it need to be? How much of it do you really need? For many homes the cost of heating water is a major component of the household fuel bills. Try turning the thermostat down a little on your hot water supply. Only fill your kettle with the water you need each time instead of wastefully boiling a full jug each time. Next time you do the laundry consider if you could wash some loads on a colder temperature. You’ll find your electricity bills drop as you use less energy, which is good for you and the planet, without much frugal effort at all!
Out and about. Sure, most of us need to use private transport a lot of the time and ditching the car just isn’t realistic at the moment. However, what is very achievable is reducing the use of you car. Walking or cycling when possible will not only save you money but also improve your physical health and quite possibly mental health and of course add a little less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Work too far away from home not to drive? Could you park a walk away from work and get some exercise while save on parking charges? Maybe car share with a co-worker? Oh, and get around to trading in for a smaller more efficient vehicle if possible?
At work. Hey! I don’t know you, I don’t know anything about your workplace! What I do know though is that with a bit of creative thinking you can probably figure some ways to make little changes that will save you money, and quite possibly bring other benefits to you and your community. The switch to a more frugal way of life needn’t be drastic and is arguably something we all need to embrace sooner rather than later. It’ll be a lot easier once you can see how it can be a positive change for you, your family and your environs.