Frugal Living Mini Series Part 4
If you want your home to be a fabulously frugal home what key things do you need in order to make the frugal magic happen?
I’m a frugal girl and have been for a very long time although I didn’t start out that way. I try to stretch my money as far as possible and have worked out what items I absolutely need in my frugal home to help me do so.
My frugal life is very much about saving money, spending less and enjoying a life living on, and with, less. I think we all want to employ frugal living tips to save money where we can.
When you are getting started it can be helpful to know some of the basics items that experienced frugal folk might take for granted as things they already have.
It just makes sense to do so doesn’t it?
I know I could have saved money if I had this list when I was beginning my thrifty journey. Sometimes you might have to spend money in order to save money in the longer term.
But what is in my frugal home that I would encourage you to spend your precious money on?
Other frugal living blog posts in this series:
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Tips For a Frugal Kitchen
Let’s start with the heart of my frugal home – the kitchen. Your kitchen is where you can make some great savings and stretch your hard earned money.
The following items are my must have items that are stalwarts in my frugal home. They often serve multiple purposes and save you money in the long run.
You may also like: 55 Easy Ways To Save Money In The Kitchen
These are a late addition to my need to have list but one of my favorite as they combine being a frugal girl with being eco friendly.
These have replaced both cling film and foil and are very versatile. Made from organic cotton and covered in beeswax they come in various sizes. I have both multi packs and the bread wrap sizes.
They last for ages as long as you don’t wash them in hot water, or put the in the microwave. Hint: heat melts wax – ask me how I know! Wash in cool soapy water.
The heat from your hands helps to mould the wrap around your bread or bowl and as it cools it tightens and forms a good seal.
Every home needs a crock pot (slow cooker in the UK) whether it’s a frugal home or not. Crock pots are perfect for busy people. You can throw in your ingredients before you leave home and come back to a meal ready to be served.
Batch cooking allows you to cook multiple meals in one go, freezing the extra for another day.
I have a large crock pot like this 6.5l one and I even cook whole chickens in it – great for making home made stock with the bones afterwards.
You can bulk buy glass jars and reuse them over and over again. They are incredibly environmentally friendly and because you can reuse them so often they are indispensable in my frugal home.
Traditionally used for home made preserves, jams and chutneys, nowadays you can use them for so much:
- Cut flowers
- Hair bands
- Wooden spoons
- Washing up brushes
I try to reuse the plastic containers that some products come in, like ice cream but they eventually wear out and I don’t buy ice cream that often.
These days I am trying to ensure my frugal home is as eco friendly as possible so I have invested in these BPA free, reusable food bags.
They are freezer, microwave and steamer safe so perfect for everything you would use them for. Being reusable you don’t need loads of them, just enough so you have a few spare.
I’ve not bought paper towels or kitchen wet wipes for years in an effort to save money. I made do with old clothes rags for some time but upgraded a few years ago to microfiber cloths.
They rarely leave smears and dry as they wipe so much more effective than cotton cloths. I also love the bright colors of these ones which allows you to color code their use e.g. bathroom, floor, work surfaces, if you prefer.
Being British I am a tea drinker through and through but I accept most people enjoy many a cup of coffee. Buying real coffee when out and about quickly mounts up to a sizable chunk of money.
Treat yourself to decent coffee for a fraction of the price with a coffee maker like this one. Make you own and take it with you in a hot drink flask like the one below. Mr2p does this all the time.
Did you know tea bags have tiny particles of plastic in them which is why you cannot compost whole tea bags but must split them and shake out the leaves?
Switching to real tea leaves is on my to do list but am anticipating a hike in my tea drinking cost as a result.
Although I haven’t yet switched exclusively to tea leaves I do now take the time to make a pot of tea as I think it makes for an extra special cuppa.
8. Baking Soda And Vinegar
Both vinegar and baking soda are the bedrock of the frugal homemaker. Both help you achieve a clean frugal home for very little cost.
And vinegar is a staple for fabulously frugal people who preserve the food they grow.
The Practical Must Haves In My Frugal Home
I know in winter it can be impossible to fully dry your clothes outdoors, but you can still get a head start outside and finish off inside.
I have been known to hang washing outside when there is a hard frost – it makes for very cold hands!
Better that than spending out on a dryer that not only costs a lot of money to buy, it eats electricity and your money when drying your clothes. Whereas a rotary clothes line is a one off (much cheaper) cost and lasts for years.
There are plenty of times when drying your clothes outdoors isn’t possible or feasible, bad weather being one of them. But you don’t need to resort to a dryer, you can dry clothes inside very easily with an indoor airer.
Make sure you create an airflow to allow moisture to escape by opening a window. I hang shirts and trousers on hangers in the doorway and they dry within 24 hours even in a cold house.
Just mind your back when you bend low to get through the doorway!
Having a large freezer provides you with many money saving opportunities. If you are trying to stockpile food on a budget then a large freezer is your friend.
Likewise if you batch cook many meals, freezing the extra portions is where you win with your grocery budget.
I went a bit over the top on freezer space for a long time as I inherited a chest freezer, having already got one. Just so you know, having too much freezer space can be a problem, you can lose food in them!
True story – I lost a large turkey in mine which I totally knew I had, just couldn’t find it! I unearthed it 6 months later when I reduced my food levels down so I could get to the freezer bottom.
We all have a multitude of electronic equipment with the result that many are left on permanent standby.
All very convenient but standby still means you are paying for some electricity and risk a power surge which could destroy your appliances.
An energy efficient power strip does it exactly what it says. It saves energy so it saves you money and saves you from the risk of an outage.
Plug all your games, TV and entertainment equipment into one of these and you can switch them off in one fell swoop.
Most modern power showers shoot out the water at such a fast speed that you are literally washing money down the drain.
Water is a scarce commodity even if you do live somewhere it rains too often for your liking. (Hello UK!)
An energy efficient shower head reduces the rate at which water is dispensed thereby being more eco friendly and saving your money too.
A tap aerator will reduce your taps water flow by up to 50%.
With water being in scarce supply at times it makes sense to to be frugal with water and reduce your spend on it.
Related post: 10 Ways To Save Money On Your Water Bill
Capturing rain water is another way to be thrifty with your money and be eco friendly at the same time.
A water butt can be as little as £25 new and can provide you with a regular supply of free water throughout the year. Now that’s what I call fabulously frugal!
In the UK, you can often get reasonably priced water butts from your water company. These can work out cheaper than water butts from a garden center so make sure you check there first.
Essentials For Outside My Frugal Home
My longest lasting indispensable item is my hot drink flask which I have had for nearly 7 years. It’s dark pink color is a little faded but I cannot tell you how much money I have saved using this one item.
It goes everywhere with me – work, walking, the allotment and even shopping. I refuse to pay £2 for one teabag so I always take my own.
Investing in a flask like this one will save you hundreds of pounds over just one year if you use it as much as I do!
Healthy frugal people drink lots of water using a reusable water bottle. Drink water is not only good money saving but also great for the environment.
Tap water in the UK and most other 1st world countries is completely safe to drink. Bottled water may taste different to tap water but is it actually better? And is it worth the money and the environmental impact?
We use these bottles for cold drinks when out walking, on a super hot day your water stays beautifully cold – amazing!
Related post: 50 Frugal Habits That Are Also Eco Friendly
These days plastic shopping bags cost money and of course are bad for the environment.
Reuse the bags you have until they fall apart and then invest in something like these cloth shopping bags which can be washed and reused many times.
Brownie points if you make your own cloth shopping bags!
3 Essential Thrifty Tips From My Frugal Life
Absolute No.1 – Buy Used
Lets just talk frugal shopping tactics.
Straight up let’s talk used versus new.
When you buy something new and use it a couple of times it becomes used. It still works fine and likely last you a long time but it is no longer new.
So if you identify something you want to buy why not consider buying used first? So many people buy new items with the best of intentions and then hardly use them.
They decide to sell these lightly used items to make a little money rather than having it clutter up their house. Why not take advantage and grab yourself a bargain?
If it’s something you have already identified as an item you intend to buy and it’s a model you know is right for you. Then if you are being frugal with money it makes sense to consider buying used.
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No.2 Must Have Is a Budget – No Cost Involved!
Living on a budget that you can and do stick to is your 2nd frugal living tip to live by. Especially when you are on a low income.
Being frugal with money allows you to spread it much further, to embrace thrifty living and spend wisely.
For your budget you need knowledge of what you earn and what you spend. Your budget gives you this information especially when coupled with tracking your spending.
Obviously as we are talking about being fabulously frugal you don’t need to buy any software to create your budget, you could do it on paper or use a basic spreadsheet you devise.
Related post: How To Budget And Save Money Like A Frugal Ninja
No.3 A Strategy To Successfully Live Within Budget
It’s all very well my saying you should be living on a budget but without a strategy to turn that budget into a reality, it isn’t going to work for you.
A strategy that helps you successful live within your means is what you need.
If you fail to plan then you plan to fail – (possibly Benjamin Franklin?)
If you are just starting out, perhaps with debt to pay off, then I wholeheartedly recommend the cash envelope system.
There’s something about handing over your cash that makes it that much harder to do and helps you be more frugal with your money.
Contactless debt/credit cards are not your friend when you have a new budget to work to.
You may also like: The Easy Way To Save Money – 15 Tips To Save £10,000 a Year!
So there you have it, the fundamental items in my frugal home I really think you need.
Ideally buy as many second hand as you feel comfortable with. My frugal life and home is littered with used items that I bought for a fraction of the cost brand new.
If this frugal girl can save money with these items then so can you!
Further frugal living blog posts you might enjoy: