I’ve been living frugally for almost 4 years now and figured it’s time to share with you my favorite frugal habits! Frugal living for me means enhancing my experience of life while saving money on things that don’t really matter in my life. It’s about focusing on what’s important and knowing what isn’t and for me that means living according to my values and being kind to the planet.
1. Exercising at home
I am a lover of ashtanga yoga and have been doing it ever since I was 18 or so. In May 2016 I started my home yoga practice and I am absolutely loving it! Ashtanga yoga studios can be hard to find and doing it at home allows me to do it every day, whenever I feel like it. Whatever exercise it is that you are doing, I would suggest to find a way to do it at home, at least some of the time. That way, chances are, you will end up doing it more often.
2. Eating healthy and cheap breakfast
I’ve been eating oats, with a banana, berries, cocoa powder, cinnamon and peanut butter for years now and greatly enjoyed it. I eat it every day and have yet to grow tired of it. Granted, that’s me, if I really like something, I could it eat 24/7 and never grow tired of it. If you have never tried this particular combination, I highly recommend it. Oh, and just so you know, I eat my oats cold. I know, weird. I really enjoy knowing what it is that I am going to eat for breakfast and do realize that not everyone may be fond of eating the same foods every morning. I would simply have a set of foods that you enjoy eating in the morning. Those foods can then be eaten on rotation or you can eat the same breakfast every day.
3. Meal prepping!
I really enjoy planning my meals and cooking it all ahead of time. Whenever I am working I cook every Sunday and make all my meals for the and depending on what I cook it will usually take me between 1 and 2 hours. Whenever I am traveling I tend to be more spontaneous and whenever I do cook I only cook enough food for a day or two. Regardless, knowing what you’ll be eating and planning your meals ahead of time can give you an incredible sense of peace, at least that’s how I feel about it. I feel good knowing that this aspect of my life is taken care of and that I don’t need to decide what I’ll be eating every single day. If you are interested in meal prepping I highly recommend checking out a couple videos on YouTube. Cheap Lazy Vegan has lots of easy meal videos and also has meal prepping videos, which are fabulous!
4. Carrying snacks around
Here’s the thing, I am vegan and I love snacking. Whether it’s snacking on a nut bar, an apple or a banana and sometimes snacks can be a bit tricky to hunt down when you are on the go. I’ve found that especially when traveling I am not always sure where to go and carrying around a snack has been a life saver. I’ve made it a habit to always carry an apply or nuts with me wherever I go. Should I not be able to eat, should I be in a rush or should I simply get hungry between meals my snacks are there to keep me fed and sane!
5. Taking public transportation and ride shares
Whenever I move to a location that’s far away from my current one I take the plane and whenever I move within a city or a shorter distance I rely on uber or local public transportation. Whenever I travel I love taking buses, trains and of course, ride shares! If you are not familiar with ride shares, here’s a quick run-down about how it works: There are various websites, blablacar being one of them on which people post their rides and routes they take. All you need to do to tag along is sign up and request a seat in the rideshare of your choice. You’ll then be notified about whether your request has been accepted or not and should you get accepted you can then discuss any details with the driver in question.
6. Shopping for used items over buying new
Over the years I’ve made it a habit to look for used items first and should I be unable to find what I am looking for I would buy it new. However, most of the time buying used is my default and buying new comes second. Most recently I purchased a laptop, camera, drying rack and blender used, all of which have been wonderful purchases! I purchased a whole bunch of things used and I also purchased quite a few things new because I wasn’t able to find them used. That being said, if you are patient and have an open mind you’ll find what you are looking for used most of the time. It’s a great way to save money, it’s a lovely way to get in touch with you community and it’s kind to the planet.
7. Think long term when it comes to money
When I was younger there were times when I did blew a whole bunch of money on clothing. However, that being said, at the same time I was also saving a lot of money because I knew that I wanted to move abroad and I wanted to have enough money that would allow me to do just that. I think when it comes to money it’s important to have a long term view. I am big on emergency funds and have had one ever since I started my first job. Having 6+ months of expenses just for emergencies gives me piece of mind, makes me worry way less and allows me to live with ease. Plus, thinking long term when it comes to money can also save you a lot of money because changes are it will prevent you from spending money on items that you really don’t need and that are better of left where they are and not in your home.
8. Using community resources
I am huge on using the library, I greatly enjoy hiking in parks and highly recommend websites such as Meetup or Couchsurfing to connect with like minded people. While Couchsurfing is mainly used by travelers it’s also neat because it allows you to connect with locals that are living in your city or community.
9. Keeping track of your expenses
I hear you, this sounds like a lot of effort and you can trust me when I say that it really isn’t that hard. I’ve been tracking my expenses ever since I moved to New York City in 2014 and it’s become a passion of mine (If one could call it that …) I’ve been tracking my expenses ever since and I am absolutely loving it. I highly recommend using Google sheets because it allows you to access it wherever you are. Of course there are also a whole bunch of apps and then there’s always excel, which is great! Tracking your expenses will simply give you a munch better understanding of where your money is going and how much happiness all those $$ spent are giving you. It can be truly eye-opening and I highly recommend it.
10. Using a hanky
If you have a cold or just happen to have a runny nose you can go through a whole lot of paper tissues which means a whole lot of waste that really isn’t necessary. I also find it a pain to carry paper tissues around and then there’s buying them which I am not fond of either. So a couple years ago I got into the habit of using a reusable cloth hanky and I’ve been using one ever since. Whenever it needs washing I wash it in the sink, it’s usually dry within a couple of hours and hardly takes up any space in my backpack.
These are all things that I’ve been doing for years now and that I take great pleasure and pride in doing. I’d love to hear your favorite frugal habits, there’s so much we can learn from each other 🙂