Living frugally is a mindset, more to do with how you approaching life on a daily basis and the discipline you build into your daily life that saves you money. It is about picking your battles, choosing carefully where to spend your hard earned dollar and more importantly, where not to spend it. A typical weekend day in my frugal life includes frugal moments where:
I start my day with cold brewed coffee I make myself. Coffee, as discussed in previous blog can be incredibly expensive as it adds up over time. And there is no magic to preparing cold brewed coffee. Simply take a large, clean glass jar, add coffee grounds to your preferred strength and cover with cold water and let it sit for at least 24 hours. I think 48 to 72 is better but then again, I like my coffee strong. I warm my coffee like most Americans, shamelessly and without a shred of guilt, in the microwave. I have faults, what can I say.
I side hustle. I teach yoga on Saturday mornings (a side hustle is a great frugal strategy by the way and nearly all the frugal types I know have a side gig). Find yours. My mantra is you should never be too busy to make a little extra money. I know a delightful woman who started to dog sitting as a side hustle and turned it into a thriving full time business.
I frugal grocery shop. I hit the discount grocery store working from a list I had compiled throughout the week. I try and stick to my list but I also try to take advantage of any real deals that I happen upon. Deals can help set the strategy for what I am going to make for the coming week.
I prepare frugal meals for the coming week. When I come home from grocery shopping, I do not put anything away, at least not immediately. Instead, I lay everything out on the countertops. I then empty the fridge of anything that needs to be used up. Seeing everything I just bought and everything that needs using up is key to my frugal kitchen and drives what meals I will prepare for the coming week. I usually prepare three meals in advance which works for our lifestyle.
I make meals that the Instapot, slow cooker or air fryer in some manner or another. This speeds up or at least eases meal prep. There is nothing like dumping a prepared meal into the slow cooker, setting it and forgetting it for the next six to eight hours. I try to relegate proteins like steak and roasts, which my partner buys on sale and keeps stocked in the freezer, to weekend prep and serve because I always marinate them for 24 hours (marinade recipe blog coming next week). Marinade means we can buy much cheaper cuts of meat and still get melt in your mouth roasts and steaks. I don’t eat red meat myself but I have gotten pretty adept at preparing it.
I do a weekly finance reality check. I spend about 20 minutes every weekend checking in on my finances, making sure I am staying on track. This takes a grand total of 20 minutes a week when I review my spending, bills and financial goals. Twenty minutes to make sure I am on track and my financial goals are firmly on point. Not a bad trade off for staying on track and continuing my frugal strategy.
I pick one frugal task per weekend. Could be a weeding and working in the yards, refurnishing a piece of furniture or even just some light mending and sewing but every weekend, I pick one task that I know I can do myself that I do not have to pay anyone else to do.
I frugally clean. My partner is fanatically tidy and does most of the cleaning but I also will step in for an hour or two and scrub a bathtub, sanitize kitchen counters, sponge down the shelves in my fridge, just a chore here and there, it all adds up to yet another task that I do not have to pay for.
I treat myself. Being frugal does not have to mean you are forever denying yourself. Quite the contrary, it means you get to reward yourself. For me that’s getting my nails done (something I am woefully inept at doing myself), going for a swim, hitting the gym for an extra long workout, an occasional movie, just something to reward myself for a frugal job well done.
So, go ahead, be frugal and get good at it.
Then treat yourself. You deserve it.