I know I am preaching to the choir here, but it never hurts to spend time reflecting on habits that help make a frugal life. There may be one or two you haven't thought of, or alternately you might add a few thoughts of your own. I'd love to hear them. I don't claim to have it down pat and am always on the hunt for other frugal ways to do things. We are an Australian couple so sometimes some of the excellent ideas on other blogs don't always work...but as our readership is spread to every area of the globe so far...it doesn't hurt to share everyone's ideas and add a few of our own.
In no particular order
a) Be a one car family- sometimes it takes a little bit of organising, but it certainly keeps costs lower.
b) Cut your own (and your family's hair). Simple haircuts, nothing fancy and a homestyle-do works!
c) Cook in army portions (and freeze the leftovers).
d) Use the library and Overdrive ebook app. No need to purchase anything in the book line.
e) Never buy coffees out (if you can help it). Do the maths. For $5.50 you can buy 20 cups worth and make it at home. Plus you don't waste a disposable cup. I can't stand one-use only items.
f) Drink tap water. Want something with a bit of flavour, make iced-tea, bob in a jug and cool.
g) Walk. Who needs the gym?
h) Take your lunch to work. This alone saves me hundreds each year.
I) Have the same thing each morning for breakfast. Danny likes eggs and I like porridge. There's no breakfast law that says you have to have six boxes of different types on cereal on the table. As Danny pointed out to me, when you keep the rhythm of your food the same, you can also keep the rhythm of your bowel movements the same. When you work in a job where you can't go to the toilet as and when you want- this is very handy.
j) Look for fruit trees along the roadside. Pick your fruit, wash it, gobble it.
k) Cook using lentils and cheap in-season veg to pad out your food. As little meat as possible, keeps costs down. One chicken breast is quite enough for a chicken stew that can feed up to eight people easily. You only need to have a hint of meat if you're a meat eater.
l) Give a lot of things away. I know this sounds nuts. BUT the more you get rid of, the more you realise you have more than enough, the more you become grateful for what you have and the less you need and therefore the less you shop and buy. Seriously, it works.
m) You find that the more you give away, the more that seems to come back to you AND ODDLY ENOUGH, it's mostly things that you can utilise.
n) Follow recipes, but only loosely. It's ok to leave certain ingredients out or substitute items for alternatives. Food will still taste brilliant.
o) Have a food budget. Have an amount you can spend each week and don't go over it. Just don't. Have the money in your wallet and don't use a card. It's easy to let a couple of extra dollars be spent if you use a card and thus skupper your fantastic money-saving ideas.
p) Forget fashion. Oh.My.God! I have wasted so much money in my 20s/30s on clothes, and all for naught. I have so little these days, though there's still room to get rid of more. If you're not happy with yourself in your pyjamas, clothing isn't going to make it better (for any longer than five minutes anyway, when the remorse sets in). Don't buy into the BS! Clothing does not make the man/woman.
q) Forget fancy cosmetics and smelly crap. Seriously, can shoving a ton of highly scented chemicals onto your beautiful skin and body each day be doing it any favours? I think not. And then there's the packaging....
Ok, now I will get off my soapbox!