An article we read about a woman who embraced an extremely frugal lifestyle and was then able to retire at the age of 32 has got us thinking about how frugal one could be if it meant being able to retire at an early age?
Elizabeth Willard Thames is now living in the rural Vermont woods with her husband and young daughter. She says this was her goal for a long time but at one point she believed it would be an impossible dream. In March 2014 she embarked on a journey that would eventually give her financial freedom. Is this something just anyone could do though?
How to be Frugal
If you are trying to save money, for whatever reason, learning how to live frugally is a great idea. Spending less than you earn will allow you to save, invest, or pay off debt, all of which sound great to us. However, what exactly does being frugal mean? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Take lunch to work with you instead of buying. This is a biggie as many people just cannot be bothered making their own lunch and taking it to work. If this is you and you have been telling yourself you just don’t have time in the morning, stop right now and be honest with yourself. Think about how much you actually spend on lunches and coffees compared with how much it would cost you to bring a lunch. And let’s be honest, all it means is getting up 10-15 minutes earlier each day to prepare.
- Eat out less often. Another food related way to be frugal, but one that could save you quite a bit of money – especially if you have a big family. No one is saying that you should never eat out, but you could reduce your spend in this way. But when you do eat out, look for vouchers or coupons for nearby restaurants that offer discounts.
- Sticking with the food theme, investing in a chest freezer is a good idea. If you have large freezer capacity, you can buy things like meat in bulk, which will be cheaper. This can help you save quite a bit on your grocery shopping. For example, you could buy a whole ham and slice it up. Then you could freeze portions in freezer bags and take it out as and when you need it.
- Use cashback websites to earn money when you buy. If you regularly buy online, you could be missing out on the chance to earn hundreds of dollars every year. Websites such as RebatesMe offer members the chance to earn Macy’s cashback as well as offers from various other retailers.
- Look for free entertainment. There are many ways to enjoy yourself without spending a small fortune. If you have children, you don’t have to spend money on days out when there are many free activities you can all enjoy. For example, go to the local park and take a picnic with you. At home, you could get to read and write stories together, or bake some cookies.
- Get a smaller car. Do you really need a big car? Because you could save big by purchasing a smaller car. Think about how much cheaper your gas bill and insurance would be with a smaller engine.
There are so many ways to save money and live a more frugal life. While some people take frugal living to the extreme, you can make small changes that will mean more money in your pocket at the end of each month.