Friggin' Frugal: A Beginner's Guide

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So, anyone who’s been near the Internet lately knows what a tough time we’re having a hard time with the Great!  Big!  Scary!  Economy!  And that’s pretty intimidating.  A lot of people are bummed out about it, including me, your savvy and wonderful writer.  The important thing  is to not get bummed. 

What’s this, you say?  Why bring up a giant problem and then tell me to be cheerful?  Ah, but listen to me, I have a pearl of wisdom.

Large problems are always –- always -– made of many smaller ones.  Nothing is insurmountable.  So what does that have to do with our economy?  How can we bring this on home and feel more hopeful?

Little things, my friend.  Life is made of small things, tips, and tricks.  What I’m going to tell you now are a few things I’ve learned about saving money, which makes life a little easier in tough times.

1.) Make It!

Money stays in your pocket when you look with new eyes at your daily routine.  Do you like coffee, tea, sun-brewed mulberry yak juice?  Whatever!  It doesn’t matter!  What matters is learning to make it at home!

You don’t need a fancy brewer, maker, or other gizmo.  Coffee can taste just as nice from a normal coffee maker, and tea is perfectly fine with water from a kettle.  Pro tip:  If you remember to not put in coffee, your coffee maker can be used to boil plain old water for tea, cup-o-noodles, whatever. 

This is just one little example –- think of what you rely on daily.  Can you make any of that yourself?  This goes from food (learning to cook/bake) to beauty products (there are plenty of easy recipes online). 

2.) Re-use It!

One of my downfalls is paper.  I normally have way too much, and believe me the stuff *multiplies!*  One day, I looked around at the piles of paper and decided I’m going to get my money’s worth!  So I started taking notes or writing drafts on the back of old copies.  I started folding duplicate prints or drafts of old papers into little notepads.  This saved me a bundle on notebooks.  I love them, and I love buying new and shiny ones, but you don’t always need the new and shiny!  Think about what you have around –- what can you reuse to meet some small daily need?

spools of thread

Credit Image: chrisbulle on Flickr

3.) Learn to Fix It!

This has got to be my favorite tip.  Learn to sew, fix a book spine, re-string a necklace, replace a screw –- whatever!  You have the entire inter-tubes at your fingertips.  Many cool people have made videos and tutorials on repairing stuff, so you may as well learn to DIY.  It’s not just a money-saver, it’s a whole new cool thing you know how to do.

4.) Sleep on It!

Ah, the pleasures of adulthood -– I have an amazing job that pays me zillions of dollars, and I can just buy whatever I want.  New clothes?  Done!  New computer gizmo?  Got it!  Yep, life sure gets more gratifying once you’re an adult!  HA!  Ah, my sides are splitting.  It’s really not anything like that. The fact is that one of the realities of life -– and best pieces of advice -– is delaying gratification.  Yeah, yeah, sounds boring, like what your parents would say.  But the fact is that you will save loads of money just by giving yourself time to think if you really need the New Thing.  And it’s a good habit to get into.

5.) Save It!

Yep, another boring old idea.  But it works.  One of the best ways to hang onto your green is by not spending it in the first place.  If you have a savings account, other account, piggy bank, whatever, put a few bucks in there on a regular basis. 

 

What now?  What should I do with all this, you ask?  Just be aware of what you do with your money, and you can start some good habits that will up your confidence and make stressful times less stressful. 

 

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