Chapter 2 - Home

A frugal lifestyle shines through in the simple tasks performed in the home. Whether it's cooking supper or checking email - virtually every household activity can be enhanced by thriftiness.

Budgeting is only the beginning: It's time to start LIVING out this frugal life!

If you've spent the last month tracking your spending and budgeting out each expense, hopefully you've spotted a few of your biggest money blunders and are taking the steps to fix them. But on the other hand, with some budgets it's hard to tell exactly where you've gone wrong. Everything looks like a necessity, and yet it's all too expensive!

We all need a place to live, food to eat and clothes to wear. We don't, however, need mansions, gourmet food and the latest fashions. Just because something is a necessity doesn't mean it's impossible to cut back on the expense. In the next section, we'll discuss specific ways to save on necessities around the house.

Luxuries, however, can be more difficult to recognise. Many things that are typically considered necessities today did not even exist 100 years ago: the telly, mobiles, the Internet, etc. These and similar items may be fun to have, but they aren't necessarily requirements for living.

Now, we aren't suggesting you go home and toss everything out except the wardrobe and the fridge! That simply isn't realistic. But if you're struggling financially and you're having trouble discerning between needs and wants, skip ahead to this month's Frugal Year Challenge for help.

Back in January, the Challenge was to think twice before spending impulsively. Challenge yourself this month to go without.

Now that you know where your money is going, it should be much easier to figure out where to cut back your expenses. But if you're having trouble distinguishing between needs and wants, you can take this challenge even further: Go without something you aren't sure you can live without. Obviously, this needs to be done within reason. For starters, you can't stop eating and you can't stop paying rent. But maybe you can eliminate your Friday takeaway habit, or ditch the car and take public transport.

Look at last month's budget and choose one item to eliminate from this month's spending.

1. Don't just buy whatever's cheapest - The cheapskate mentality can cost you more in the long run if you're constantly purchasing shoddy materials that break down and wear out.

2. Pass up the sales - We all know the age-old advice to buy what's on sale. But if you buy what you don't need, what good is it? Learn to say no to pointless sales.

3. Throw things away - Putting the time and money into cleaning and refurbishing something may not make as much sense as simply replacing it. Weigh the costs beforehand and figure out what's best.

So, what does frugal living look like in the home? Here's the basic idea:

  • If it's cheaper, make it yourself (e.g. meals, cleaners, cosmetics)
  • If you're able, do it yourself (e.g. home improvement)
  • When it's served its purpose, give it a new one (e.g. old bottles can be new vases)
  • When a purchase is necessary, buy what lasts (e.g. quality shoes)

These days, you can easily find recipes to "make your own" anything. But DIY projects don't always save you money. Some of them take so much time to create, they aren't really worth the effort. The best projects save you time and money. So make sure it's a fair exchange. Here are some examples:

Homemade Exfoliating Scrub

  • 3-½ oz. sugar
  • 2-½ tsp. olive oil
  • 2-½ tsp. lemon juice

Mix in a small bowl. Apply mixture to face, hands or feet and scrub thoroughly. Rinse.

Homemade Soap Scum Cleaner

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup dish soap

Heat vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Add dish soap and gently shake the bottle to mix ingredients. Spray mixture onto dirty bathroom tile and wipe clean. For tough stains, spray and let sit overnight.

Homemade Shaving Cream

  • 1 cup shampoo
  • 1 cup conditioner>
  • 5 tbsp. lotion
  • 5 tbsp. coconut oil, warmed

Pour ingredients into a jar. Close jar and shake to mix. Pour mixture into a pump bottle and use.