It is apparent that frugal people enjoy life because they are not burdened by debt; they pay their bills and have some money left over for savings. Living frugally does not mean doing without; it’s about not accumulating unnecessary material possessions. It’s about deciding what you want in life, and making the most of what you have, instead of complaining about what you don’t have. Frugal living is a very rewarding way to live. An effective way to start saving is to deposit at least 10% of your income in an interest-bearing savings account. Get rid of debt and trim your expenses. Can you save on petrol? Can you restrict eating out? Can you live without DSTV? The basis of Frugal Practicality lies in re-thinking life choices up to this moment to embrace a lifestyle that is more financially responsible and organized. This does not mean adopting a “poverty” mindset but rather maximizing what you have got. Create a budget plan and stick to it; don’t waste money on things you don’t need or buy things on credit, but don’t skimp on things you do need. Be alert when grocery shopping; opt for the generic equivalent of brands you normally choose or store specials. The same applies to clothing; avoid expensive brands when you can buy similar items of equal quality for less.
Adopt a habit of recycling and reusing. We all know that we should become debt-free but many of us don’t know where to cut corners. Initiate a frugal lifestyle one step at a time; prepare a healthy lunch box at home to take to work; organize a lift club to commute to and from work; plan shopping outings to avoid random trips. De-clutter your home; sell or donate items you don’t use. Hold a yard sale; auction items online; sell to second hand shops. Small lifestyle adjustments can make a big difference in your bank account. Cutting expenses allows you to save money for an emergency, pay off credit cards faster, or grow your retirement fund. Run your washing machine on cold. Avoid using the tumble dryer. Turn down the thermostat on your geyser.
Make inexpensive healthy meals; according to the “food pyramid” many of the things we should be eating the most of — grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables – are affordable; it’s often the stuff that’s bad for us (at least in large quantities) like red meat, dairy products and processed foods that are expensive. Grow your own fruit, herbs and veggies; a personal favorite of mine is upside down tomato planters. You’re probably thinking why anyone would want to grow tomatoes (or anything else) upside down. Well, there’s no need to stake the vines, no weeding, fewer soil diseases, overall healthier plants, and you can grow year-round. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, a plant, and a bag of potting soil. Drill a big enough hole in the bottom of the bucket to fit the stalk of a full-grown tomato plant. Cover inside of bucket with a layer of shredded newspaper. Insert the plant in the hole (from the outside); wrap paper around the base of the plant and hold in place while filling bucket with soil. Hang bucket in sunny spot, water well. Peppers, chilies, cucumbers and eggplants also grow well upside down. Spray plant with a solution of 1 teaspoon Epsom salts dissolved in 4 cups warm water (mixed in a spray bottle); repeat 10 days later – it produces more fruit due to the boost of magnesium, especially for tomatoes, peppers and roses.
Words by Theresa Lutge-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)