Learning to live a more frugal life can seem completely overwhelming. Here are seven easy baby steps you can take over the course of a week that shouldn’t take you more than an hour each.
Make lunch for the next week. Meal prepping can save you a lot of money, not only by helping you not eat out during the week, but also when you’re grocery shopping. When you have a plan, it’s easier to avoid buying extra food that goes to waste and it’s easier to do a quick coupon search online before heading out too.
Some simple and delicious lunch options that don’t cost a ton include:
- The Frugal Girls Recipes
- 15 Frugal Meals for a Small Grocery Budget
- 30 Frugal Meal Ideas
- 10 Frugal Cooking Blogs That Will Keep Your Grocery Bills Under Control
Then toss a copy of your monthly bills into your purse or briefcase.
Dedicate your lunch hour to getting your monthly bills lowered. Since you have all this extra time now that you’re not running to pickup lunch, call your internet provider, cell phone provider, cable provider, even the electric and other utilities and see if there’s any way to get your premium lowered. Point out you’ve been a customer in good standing for however long – that you always pay on time.
If there’s still some time left in the hour, call your insurance company and ask about a discount. If they can’t provide one, ask what you could do to lower your rate. A driving class that has discounts for a few years could be worth the small investment of money and time.
If you want to even cheat on this a little, spend your lunch hour looking into BillSnip – it’s pretty amazing. The DIY version will save you even more, but if you’re overwhelmed this can still be pretty awesome.
If you don’t often clean out your home, spend an hour listing items on eBay. Set them up for 3 day sales. You can list just about anything on eBay but old video games and DVD sets usually do pretty well. Additionally, jewelry is pretty easy to ship.
Books can also be a good choice if you’ve got full sets. I’ve also made surprising amounts of money out of collections of old hobby gear. I’ve listed lots of craft supplies, music books, etc.
For a more in depth how to, check out my post on how I sell things on eBay.
Read a few frugal hints blogs for an hour. You’d be surprised at how many tips there are to help you save a few dollars. 90% of the battle is just knowing them. You may find a lot of hints you’d never feel comfortable using, but one or two ideas that you could live with. The payoff may not be huge, but a lot of adopting a frugal lifestyle is changing your mindset, and that’s often done in baby steps.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
If you have absolutely no leftovers, eat whatever’s in your pantry.
I’ve done a few no-spend weeks and been pretty astonished at how much food was just sitting in my pantry. None of it was clearly my favorite, but all of it kept me alive for the week, even if some of the meals got a little weird sometimes.
Check out a thrift store you usually wouldn’t go into in your town. It could be something as simple as the Goodwill. Maybe you’ve always avoided Aldi because the idea of discount groceries freaks you out. Maybe you have a little hole in the wall discount store that looks like a dank and dingy mystery from the outside.
To be honest, it may be dank and dingy and you probably shouldn’t buy most of the things in there. But in many cases, you may find a great new place to shop that can help lower your bottom line.
Spend an hour packaging up your eBay sells and shipping them out. Try to use second hand packaging whenever possible – old envelopes and boxes, etc. Don’t forget that if you’ve sold any books, they can ship as media mail, netting you an even larger profit.