Living frugally is a great way to make it through hard economic times; however it does not need to stop there. Living frugal is a way of thinking that represents a certain attitude and respect towards money. Frugal does not mean you are poor, it means you are smart and conscientious in your day to day living so that you can generate a nice cushion of cash so when your car breaks down or you want to go on a nice vacation; you have the resources to do what you want.
Create a budget and stick to it. Even if this hasn’t been something you have done in the past, start saving receipts and track where your money goes for the next few months. Organize the receipts into categories such as groceries, clothing, gas, bills, eating out, entertainment, etc. Evaluate where you can cut costs. Write out you monthly spending allowances on paper so you can hold yourself to your budget. You can have an envelope of cash for different things like groceries, gifts, entertainment, etc. When the cash from the envelope is gone, then you cannot spend any more money that month on that unless you take money from another envelope. It might take a couple of months to find a comfortable but somewhat strict budget and get used to it.
You can become more frugal with the use of coupons. Always use coupons when you can with sale items. It can be frustrating trying to deal with all your coupons, cutting them out, having them when you need them only to find out they have expired. You can join WeUseCoupons, aFullCup, Coupons.com, and Redplum free printable coupons sites that also keep tracks the deals in the stores and tells you when and where to use your coupons for the most savings.
Be energy efficient. Not only does being energy efficient assist you in being frugal and save money, but it helps the environment as well! Turn off the lights when you leave a room, turn the heater down at night and sleep with an extra blanket and warm pajamas. Do all your laundry in one day so the dryer stays warm and takes less energy to heat up for each separate load, and do full loads of laundry only.
Learn to cook from scratch, eat in more than out. Being able to bake and cook from scratch can save you a ton of money in the kitchen and is actually healthier for your family anyways. Not only will you see savings but shed pounds. Food made from scratch at home has less fat and calories, and you can take the plan over’s for your lunches.