Prepper or not, learning about frugality is crucial. Preppers are mainly gearing up for the apocalypse, and the current COVID-19 pandemic a vindication of their years of preparation. Stockpiling weeks or months’ worth of supplies, investing in survivalist skills or bunkers, packing a get-home bag, and prepping to survive doomsday involve money one way or another.
How do you prudently and economically spend your money and be on top of your finances? Accordingly, this article tries to awaken the frugal in you through tips that are practical and pretty useful for day-to-day life and eventualities.
Frugal Tip No. 1: Amass Real-Life Skills
The do-it-yourself movement teaches you to be more hands-on in everyday matters. It also helps you to be careful about your funds; instead of buying a replacement or hiring services outright, examine if you can do the task yourself first.
Here are some practical skills to help you save your dollars and your life if it comes to that:
- Home cooking: you can save on delivery fees and choose the ingredients and quantity for allergy-free and healthy meals. During crucial times, being able to make something out of scraps and leftovers in the fridge is quintessential.
- Planting or growing food: harvest vegetables and herbs fresh from your backyard to your table and spend less on groceries.
- Sewing: buy fewer clothes, and make repairs or alterations to old ones.
- Grooming: learning to cut your hair or that of your children and partner saves money and waiting times at the salon.
- Doing household repairs: the basics of plumbing, carpentry, and home maintenance can go a long way to keep your house safe and in good shape. You’ll need these skills, even more, when you live off the grid and have only yourself to rely on.
- Hunting and foraging/gathering: if you are out in the wild or when the food situation goes awry, you can turn to these skills to survive, just like the old times.
Frugal Tip No. 2: Track Your Expenses
Budgeting, saving, and spending are all connected. If you keep wondering where your wages ago, it’s time to keep track of them:
- Pen and paper: with your planner, journal, or dedicated notebook, itemize every single thing you spent on for the day, and tally them at the end of the month. The challenge is to keep going at it and not miss a single day.
- Spreadsheets: for on-the-go editing and access online, keep tabs of your daily expenses through Google Sheets and Office 365 Excel.
- Apps: they are convenient and free (there may be in-app purchases). You can categorize expenses that make it easier to spot trends and purchases you can minimize or drop.
Frugal Tip No. 3: Get Out of Debt
It’s hard to set an emergency fund or double the money in your bank when you have debts to pay. One tip is to focus on the loan balance and pay it off as fast as what this couple did. If you can choose which to pay off first, prioritize the ones that have higher interest rates. Also, reach out to your banks/lenders for a realistic debt repayment plan.
Getting out of debts and staying free of them involve mindful decisions about purchases, the classic needs versus wants, and living within one’s means.
Frugal Tip No. 4: Start with Value
Dictionary definition aside, frugality has taken on different meanings to different people. One thing’s for sure, you can be frugal and pay more to get better value. Instead of going for the lowest-priced product, consider the quality and other attributes that make it a worthwhile purchase for you in the long run.
Going for value is somehow related to Robert Burton’s famous proverb, “penny wise, pound foolish.” Per the idiom, one is bent on making the most out of their pennies but is wasteful with large sums of money that whatever savings are offset.
Frugal Tip No. 5: Raise Money for “Fun”
Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean depriving yourself of nice things, especially if they are the buy-them-for-life kind. It’s also important to treat yourself every once in a while to avoid frugality fatigue, which happens when you are too caught up saving and feeling miserable about it.
Why not create a fund exclusively for those impulse or emotion-driven purchases? This “fun money” can come from your side gigs. One lucrative source of extra income is selling things online, from handcrafted items, old clothes, thrift finds, to travel photos.
Selling items you no longer need declutter your house and leads them to frugal customers who, like you, want bang for their buck. Even with little to no capital for inventory, you can start a business using a trusted platform.
Save and Prepare
It’s true: you can only do so much to prepare for what’s to come. But you have an advantage if you have resources at your disposal and know how to manage them wisely.
What’s your go-to frugal tip?