In the current financial climate it will come as little surprise to discover that more and more of us are looking at ways in which we can cut our spending, and live a more frugal life. The very word ‘frugal’ may seem associated with a penny pinching, joyless existence, but that is not the case at all. Just a few adjustments to your current spending habits can result in significant savings, with only a marginal impact upon your quality of life.
- Purchase a property that you can comfortably afford
If you are lucky enough to be able to afford to buy a home of your own, stay realistic. Taking out an excessively large mortgage will tie you down for years. Instead, invest your hard earned cash in a property that is genuinely affordable based upon your current and projected income. This will free up money to redirect into your pension, savings or into other investment vehicles recommended by experts such as Fisher Investments in the UK.
A balanced approach to your position on the property ladder will almost certainly reap rewards in the long run. This is particularly true if, by doing so, you manage to avoid crippling mortgage repayments that could so easily escalate into debt. Should unforeseeable future events such as illness or unemployment occur, they may otherwise impact on your ability to keep on top of your outgoings.
- Invest wisely
As far as investing your money is concerned, while it may sound boring, the best way to protect your cash is to invest a significant percentage of it in low risk products that will hopefully grow slowly but surely over time. Unless you are absolutely convinced that you will make a sizeable profit (and let’s face it, it’s impossible to know that for sure) you should avoid getting into debt in order to invest. Investing in yourself – your skills, your experience and your unique talents – will help to maximise your position, both in the workplace and in life generally.
- Steer clear of unnecessary luxuries
Obvious though it sounds, if you have a certain level of disposable income, you may be tempted to treat yourself to a big ticket luxury item such as a new car or a foreign holiday. However, take a hard look at these beyond the initial excitement of the purchase. Cars depreciate in value – rapidly. And that holiday, while relaxing, will leave you with nothing more than memories and a tan. Instead, channel your extra money into a savings account with a decent interest rate and watch it grow.
- Enjoy your job
Although by no means always within our control, if at all possible, having a job in a field about which you are passionate means that you will feel more fulfilled and less likely to fritter cash on treats to try and cheer yourself up. Even if your career is not going in the direction you may have planned, you can still engender this feeling of satisfaction by pursuing a hobby or pastime that you love. And this is a great way to wind down and relieve the stress of the day job. As a bonus, you might even be able to make some money from your hobby, which you can spend as you wish without impacting on your primary income stream.
- Hunt for bargains
There is a great deal to be said for shopping around for the best deal on anything from a set of saucepans to a new carpet. In the internet age there are countless ways in which to compare prices, and the old fashioned approach of cutting out coupons still has a lot to recommend it. The old adage ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ really does have a ring of truth about it. Time spent looking for the best deals is time spent wisely, and there’s nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you got an absolute bargain.
- Be philanthropic
You may be wondering how philanthropy fits in with the concept of frugality, but in fact the two go hand in hand. Selflessness certainly improves our sense of self-worth (which, as mentioned above can be key to controlling discretionary spending) and there’s a practical side too. Clearing out some good quality used clothes for the local charity shop or donating decent canned goods to your local food bank can help to de-clutter your home which can lead to increased productivity.
- Weigh up your options carefully
Making decisions on the hoof and being impulsive are natural human tendencies and can sometimes pay off. However, it’s all too easy to make a decision in haste, and then live to regret it, particularly in regard to financial matters. All life decisions, whether large or small, require a certain degree of reflection, and time to weigh up the potential pros and cons of any action you are considering taking. If you can’t think of a good reason for buying something, then it’s almost certainly best not to buy it. Whether it’s big decisions about whether to pour your savings into a risky venture or deciding to ditch disposable products for permanent solutions to save a tiny bit each time in the long run – every decision contributes to your overall financial happiness. See what the guys at Get Shave Advice have to say about one way you can change a little habit like buying razors and switch it for a positive, permanent solution to save cash in the long game.