Last month was an expensive one for me. I bought all of the Christmas and birthday presents I need for this month, got a few things for myself on Black Friday – such as protein powder and CBD oil – spent money on public transport tickets, and ate quite a few donuts at Brammibals. None of these things sound dramatic, but believe me, this shit adds up quicker than you realize.
I recently watched Kelly Stamps’ new YouTube video about her frugal lifestyle and at one point she said “who you are with 10$ is who you are with 10,000,000$” and this hit me hard because I know that it’s true. If you have bad spending habits at a low income, you will also have bad spending habits if you multiply your income. Unless, of course, you consciously make an effort to become financially smarter.
Who you are with 10$ is who you are with 10,000,000$Kelly Stamps
I already wrote a blog post about saving money a bit more than a year ago, where I covered all the budgeting basics, so if you haven’t read it yet, you can click here. Overall, I’ve been doing a decent job on following my own advice since then, but of course, there’s still room for improvement. So this month, I’m planning on living more frugally and being more intentional about what I spend my money on.
So here are some extra tips for a more frugal lifestyle
Cut back your subscription services & other recurring expenses
Do you really need more than 1GB of mobile high-speed data if you’re currently in home office? Is it really necessary to get a fresh haircut every 4 weeks if only your flatmates and your cat get to see you? I don’t want to suggest living like cavemen just because of the lockdown, but I still think it’s an appropriate time to reconsider which services you still benefit from and which ones are more or less unnecessary at the moment. I already talked about this point in my first budgeting blog post, but I want to repeat it here because I think it is among the most crucial ones when it comes to living more frugally.
My gym membership contract, for example, ended this October and I didn’t extend it. Not because I don’t like working out anymore, but because I decided that I will only start a new contract when the covid situation has calmed down for good. Until then, I work out at home – something I thought I’d never enjoy before the first lockdown.
Set yourself concrete rules & keep to them
Just saying to yourself that you’ll spend less and save more probably won’t work in your favor. If you want to be able to afford what REALLY matters to you, you need to reduce unnecessary impulse purchases by setting concrete rules for yourself.
So these are my spending & saving rules for December:
I’ll spend no money in December except for basic groceries, my existing monthly abonnements, train tickets, up to 4 donuts, and up to 4 bars of my favorite chocolate. The last two points may sound ironic, but believe me, I usually eat more of them. Last but not least, my grandma usually gives me cash for Christmas, and this year, I will directly transfer that money to my investment account.
I guess following these rules for one month will be good for resetting my spending habits and becoming more aware of what triggers me to overspend. By the end of December, I will take some time to sit down and reflect on the past month and set some new realistic spending and saving rules that I want to keep up with in 2021. Of course, these times are messy and I might need to alter the rules if my life situation changes unexpectedly, but having a framework to start with is still beneficial in my opinion.
Use the jar-method
I sadly don’t remember from which book or YouTube video I’ve got to know this method, but I think it’s brilliant. The concept behind it is, that every time you resist impulse shopping, you write down the price of the item you resisted buying on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. By the end of the month, you empty the jar and add together the sum that you saved.
I used this method once before, and I not only saved more than 200€ but also didn’t recognize some of the item’s prices that I wrote down. This showed me again that the desire to buy certain products often fades away within just a few days – sometimes even to the point that you forget about them completely.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Have a beautiful Sunday!