Tag Archives: Frugal Living
Starting off in a new home isn’t cheap. Apart from the initial cost of deposits and agency or mortgage fees, you’ll have to stump up the funds to kit out your pad. The good news is, there are lots of money-saving tactics that you can employ in order to keep your spending down.
When you’re on the hunt for kitchen appliances and other items, make sure you shop around for both larger white goods and smaller appliances like toasters, kettles and grills. There are lots of deals available online, and by taking a little time and using price comparison sites to review a number of options, you stand a better chance of bagging a bargain.
Also, it can pay off to opt for second-hand products. These can also be found online auction and ad sites, as well as in charity shops and car boot sales. OK, so these items may not last as long or look as pretty as brand new versions, but they can save you a tidy sum. Of course, before you hand over any money for these items, you’ll need to make sure they work properly.
You might even be able to get some items for free. There are a growing number of reuse websites in cyberspace where people advertise products ranging from white goods to sofas that they no longer want. As long as you can pick the objects up, they could be yours for nothing.
Comb the sales
Timing is also key. If you stock up on products for your property during sale seasons, you can benefit from impressive value for money. This may mean being patient for a little while, but if big savings are on offer, it could be worth your while.
Kitting your new house or flat out on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise when it comes to style. Often, it is the inexpensive little extras that help to make living spaces look and feel warm and attractive. Something as simple – and cheap – as adding some new cushions to sofas or placing a fresh bunch of flowers in a vase can bring rooms to life and suddenly make it feel like home.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/4929685747/
Moving can be a costly endeavor, even if you try to do most of the moving yourself. After all, there are so many details to be tended to, many of which cost something. For instance, the process of turning off utilities at the old place usually incurs a fee, as does turning on utilities at the new one. With this in mind, it helps to know what while there are some financial aspects of moving that just can’t be helped (you need lights, right?!), there are some other ways you can mitigate the cost of moving so that it doesn’t break the bank (not even your personal piggy bank). Consider some tips to take you in the right direction:
Yes, it would save a ton of time to have a moving company come and pack for you, but they often add on this service for an arm and a leg. Avoid this by having over a few close family members and friends for a packing party. For the prices of a few pizzas and a bottle or two of wine, you can solicit some help to get your stuff into boxes without paying the high cost for a moving company to do it. However, if you are going to use one longdistancemovingcompanies.co is a cheap mover.
Move at an off-peak time of year
Peak moving season is during the summer, when many people try to relocate without the hassle of school and during work vacations. Avoid this by moving in the middle of the year. Rates to move may be much lower at this point of the year.
Transport your vehicle
This applies for those who own cars or any types of vehicles. This may seem like an unnecessary cost, but sometimes, time is money and there are many other things that you can do to get your move running more efficiency than driving your vehicle to the new destination. Instead, this is one area where you can get a great deal and take this off of your to-do list. Ask about a first-time transport discount if this is your first time transporting a vehicle; many companies will give you a break, even if they don’t have an existing program. Moreover, you can often get a great deal on packaging auto transport with other moving services to avoid paying too much more out of pocket for your vehicle to be moved. Contact a1autotransport.com for all your car shipping needs.
Do the house prep yourself
Oftentimes, when moving into a new place, the landlord or former owners will go to great lengths to have it cleaned for you. However, this often comes at a cost. Instead, opt to do a lot of the work yourself. Forgo the added charge to cut the lawn, clean the cupboards and replace the floor-mats and take the do-it-yourself approach. Have the local neighbor’s kid clean the front-yard and backyard for a fraction of the cost and clean the house from top to bottom, room by room when you move in. You may be surprised by how these small cuts to your moving budget can save you money significantly when you move into a new home.
The list of expenses that demand us to hand out more and more of our hard earned cash seems to grow longer by the day. As if not inconvenient enough, times remain tough for many of us when it comes to finance. Couple that with the recent research suggesting that the key to happiness is saving a little money each month and this means we really could all benefit from being able to cut back when we hit the stores.
- Have a list: Whether you are intending to buy one item or a week’s worth of groceries, writing down exactly what you need and sticking stoically to this list will save you from parting with extra money.
- Have a budget: When the time comes to buy an expensive item, such as a car or electrical appliance, work out your maximum budget and only shop within that range.
- Ignore unnecessary offers: Sure, something may be on sale at 20% off but does that mean you need it? It may be cheaper than before but you would still be paying out money that you could have otherwise saved.
- Avoid bulk buying: Buying items in bulk and storing them is often recommended to save money. While it works for some items, for others they will simply deteriorate in quality or expire, rendering them useless and wasting your money.
- Make friends: Being friendly with the locals really can save you some cash when it comes to getting services. Be it plumbers, decorators, builders or hairdressers; mates rates can come in very handy in times of need.
- Shop at night: If you head to the supermarket or grocery store at night you can uncover some great bargains. Items that are sold fresh, such as bread, milk and eggs will often be reduced in price.
- Book in advance: Paying for travel is never cheap but the earlier you book plane or train tickets, the cheaper you will get them.
- Be wary of finance deals: Opting for a finance agreement (read more here), where you pay for an item in installments, may seem like a good way of avoiding a hefty lump sum but you will be committed to a lengthy contract and are required to pay interest, meaning you pay more overall.
- Compare prices: Whether online or by visiting a number of different stores, looking around and comparing rival prices is often the most reliable way to find the best deal.
- Shop alone: Having others around you when you shop can be distracting. Often they will talk you into buying extra items you did not need and so going alone and sticking to your list is often your best bet.
- Haggle: You will never know if a seller might reduce the price unless you ask. Even with existing contracts such as phone or internet providers, you can contact them and threaten to take your custom elsewhere unless the price is reduced; ultimately they would rather get some money from you than nothing.
- Cheaper isn’t always better: Opting for the cheapest option might save you the most money initially but poor quality goods will not last, meaning they will regularly need replaced. Avoid designer brands but maintain decent quality.
Each of the above measures may not seem enough to make a big difference to your finances by itself but combined together; these simple, easily implemented tasks can be a powerful combination, becoming a habit and saving you money before you even know it. In this day and age, a frugal life is often the best life.
In these tough economic times, many people are starting to feel the pinch. Getting out and seeing friends is an important part of your social life though, and it can be difficult to think of exciting things to do when you’re on a budget.
Here, we take a look at five ways to enjoy time with friends without breaking the bank.
Host a dinner party
Going out for dinner can be expensive, though it’s something that so many people enjoy. After all, what could be better than sharing good food with good friends? While restaurant bills can add up to hundreds if you aren’t careful, hosting your own dinner party can be remarkably cheap. Buy your ingredients from the local market, and consider asking friends to bring along dessert and drinks. You might want to invest in a few pieces to make the occasion special, such as high quality champagne flutes, which you’ll be able to use again and again.
Look out for discounts and coupons for events
The internet is a great resource when it comes to finding discounts. Sign up to daily offer sites, or just keep checking back with your favourite businesses. With lots of competition out there, they want to keep your interest and get you through the doors! You can also get money off vouchers when you’re signed up to certain mobile phone networks. From restaurants to bowling, there’s something out there for everyone.
Make use of happy hour
Sometimes, saving money is all about picking the best times! A few rounds of drinks in your favourite bar could cost less than half of the usual price if you go during happy hour. This isn’t just the case for pubs, either. Many restaurants and cinemas offer special deals for those who visit outside of peak times. Find out what’s available at your usual haunts. Why pay more for exactly the same?
Try new things
Most people fall into the habit of doing the same old things weekend after weekend. But if you’re willing to try something new, you could be amazed at how much cash you’ll save while having a great time. Activities such as walking, for example, offer a fun way to get fit without spending a penny. When you get your friends involved, it could be an interesting day out. Pack a picnic and take along a map, just in case! Similarly, many councils offer free taster activities, covering everything from exercise to pottery.
If you’re struggling for ideas for your next social gathering, why not give one of these a go? You have nothing to lose, and you could discover an exciting new hobby or interest.
This article was brought to you by Ruth Jones on behalf of Gurasu. Gurasu specialises in fine crystal products for the more discerning customer, with ranges that include crystal vases, glass tumblers and much more.
Anyone who wants to lose weight or lose the belly fat must perfectly understand that to achieve that goal, diet and exercise should go together. Not just one, but both. But given our modern trying times, another key factor comes into the picture: budget. And honestly, it plays a very big role in your goal plan, especially if one adopts frugal living as a lifestyle.
While researching diet plans and weight loss techniques over the internet, I have found numerous articles that encourage dieters to eat high-protein meat like turkey, red meat, or salmon. Consume healthy unsaturated or monosaturated fat that can be found in avocado, olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, and the list goes on. Eat green vegetables like lettuce, celery, cauliflower and the list goes on. And every time I go to the supermarket, the prices for these diet foods are very expensive. Yikes!
As for the exercises, the famous action plan for dieters is to hit the gym. Most gyms require membership fees that do hurt the budget too.
So what do frugal livers do?
Start with the Right Mind
I think it starts with the mind. Why do you want to lose weight or your belly fat? Determine what motivates you, and create a mantra for it. Say it to yourself over and over again. While trying not to eat your favorite unhealthy food, say that mantra. When you get tired and your knees already hurt from too much exercise, say that mantra. If your motivation is weak, chances are you’ll be ditching your goals sooner than later.
Every body is Unique, Your Body is Unique
Listen to your body. Which time of the day do you feel most hungry? In spite of all the diet and exercise, why am I not losing pounds? How do I stop myself from grabbing another cup of rice, or ordering another round of drinks? And why do I eat less but gain weight and fat so fast? When you determine the answers to the questions above, then likely you’ll adjust your eating habits, self-control, and again, motivation.
Eating the Right Food
Now here comes the food part. Yummy, but in dieting, the word is sacrifice. Though it requires a lot of sacrifice, it does not have to be sad or deprived. Studies show that skinny people enjoy their food and do not gain weight easily because they savor it and chew it properly, before grabbing another. So try to enjoy your food on the table, and not devour it. And make sure to eat the right food. Right. Food. Set out a diet plan that is budget-friendly.
Eat oatmeal or whole wheat bread for snacks.
Eat less rice, hence you can save money.
Drink lots of water, it is cheap.
Eat a lot, and I mean a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eating a lot of it does not harm the weighing scale, even so, is more healthy and beneficial for your weigh loss goal. Fruits can be expensive, so try buying them in the market where the price is still within supplier price. Apples, mangoes, banana, are good options for breakfast or dinner. Then you can eat rice on your lunch. Or whatever makes you comfortable. I can not stress enough the importance of fruits in a diet plan, because it is highly recommended. I think it is one of diet techniques that is mostly ignored or overlooked. Fruits help flush the fat from your body, make you less hungry often, and do not make you feel bloated.
Avoid oily food, you don’t want to add more fat in your body.
Ditch the soda and other high sugar-content juices. Drink green tea, or hot water with lemon.
Here comes the hard part. Ditch the junk food and fast food. They contain a lot of salt, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate. When salt content enters the body, it retains water in the body which in effect, can make body look bulgy. They contain a lot of carbs too.
Exercise: Move a Lot
After knowing your diet plan, choose where you can exercise. You can jog in parks that do not collect entrance fees. You can do yoga in your home. You can lift weights using improvised tools such as a water bottle that contains sand, it becomes heavy. Other improvised workout routines can be the following:
At your home, try to do planking, push-up, and sit-up for 30 minutes everyday.
If you have stairs at your home, use it as a workout source. Climb first stairstep with left foot, then right foot. Step down using left foot, then right foot. Repeat for 5 times.
This is yet the best cardio exercise for me: jumprope. I swear I lost few pounds pounds after jumping ropes for 30 minutes everyday for 2 weeks. It is not just cardio, but also an overall workout routine that enhances muscle flexibility and mind-arm coordination. It works a lot of part of your body: arms, legs, knees, stomach, and thigh.
But if you have no time for exercise, go aggressively with your diet plan and try to move a lot. If your work involves sitting whole day, try to stand and have a short walk every 20 minutes. You can maybe go to the restroom, the kitchen, or talk to your friends. After work, if you live nearby, you can just walk the distance. Or if you commute, try to walk to the farthest jeepney or bus stop. At home, you can wash laundry standing up. Cook food. Watch the TV while doing something productive like cleaning. The key thing is try to move a lot.
Take it One Day at a Time
There are no shortcuts. And it takes a significant amount of work. Nothing that is worth having comes easy. Just like any goals in life, shedding a few pounds and fat in the body needs discipline, work, and honestly some sacrifices. But enjoy your journey and don’t be too hard to yourself. Make it a lifestyle and not just a one-time or weeklong phase. Just like in the practice of frugal living, spend wisely. So choose your food wisely. Choose your motivations wisely. And you’ll just wake up one day and realize you have conquered yourself, and the reward is you lose some pounds and fat. Success!
About the Guest Author
This guest post is written by Cathy Tejano, a technical writer, blogger and a vegetarian-wannabe. She blogs at Lens and Pens.
We are living in difficult financial times, so one of the most important lessons for your children to learn is how to put money aside for a rainy day or for unexpected situations that may be around the corner. It can be tough to get children motivated by saving money, so we’ve come up with some great ways to get them involved:
1. Start them young
Children live in the moment and find it really hard to hold onto their money once they’ve got it, so start them young! Teach them to drop coins into their piggy bank from when they are a toddler, and help them understand why it’s important to let those coins build up before spending.
2. Open a savings account
Take your child to the bank and open an account in their name – this will help them feel part of the process and understand the importance of saving for the future.
3. Reward their efforts
Let’s face it, saving is pretty boring when you’re 10 years old and would rather rush out and spend, spend, spend! Make sure you praise their efforts to save whenever you can, and encourage them to treat themselves sometimes too.
4. Goals and dreams
As your child gets older, talk to them about their dreams – do they want to travel the world, buy a house or train to be a doctor or a vet? What does that mean for their savings? Help them to see how much they will need to achieve their goals.
5. Talk about money matters
Children need to understand about money and realise that they can’t have everything they want or everything they see on TV. By talking about how much things cost and the true value involved in saving up for something special, you will help your child understand how finances work.
6. Set a good example
Remember that your child will learn by example, so create your own piggy bank and make it clear that you are saving up for a trip out, a new sofa or a better car. This will help show your child that saving is a part of normal daily life.
7. Match their savings
Of course in these tough financial times this won’t always be possible, but if you can, offer to match whatever your child manages to save and help them achieve their goals even faster. Or if you’re not in a position to put in money, why not ask friends and family to let your child do odd jobs to raise more cash?
8. Save as a family
In difficult times, families stick together. Help encourage your child to understand the value of saving money by doing it as a family. Whether you’re saving for a holiday, a trip to the cinema or a new pet, make sure you all talk about how close you are to your goal and celebrate when you get there. Your child will love being part of your world, and it will teach them valuable lessons about the importance of saving and being patient.
Encouraging your child to save money will teach them vital life skills such as patience and determination. Saving money will also increase their confidence and help them to stay focused on their goals. By teaching your child these skills you really will give them a fantastic start in life.
About the Guest Author
This post is written by Ealing Trading, who provide cash loans when you need them most.
It’s remarkable to see that mainstream entrepreneurs have emerged at a time when the economy is going through financial crisis. This proves the notion that there is opportunity in adversity. This post examines how creating your business is one of the main ways of ensuring your financial security.
The buzz of micro-ecosystem
There has been a lot of innovation when it comes to minimizing the size of devices and expanding their capacity. Take smartphones for that matter or nanotechnology which is harboring a lot of potential ranging from healthcare treatments to use in the textile industry. This diversity shows the value created by making the access of technology easier.
You don’t need to come up with big ideas or massive inventions. Now, it’s the era of the micro-innovations or modification of existing technology to make it better. Smartphones or similar technologies have spawned off profit incentives. For example, app development is a massive business. Similarly, healthcare is now being defined by having better and bigger databases for treatment. All these factors indicate that there’s a looming opportunity in the micro-ecosystem.
Self-employment and being frugal-the connection
The philosophy is pretty simple. If you can control your cash, winning in business is a possibility. Since you are frugal, you won’t have the urge to spend unnecessarily. The element of research becomes important here. You have to identify a niche or an area which has not been maximized or used by existing entrepreneurs. This will allow you more room for growth. It was generally thought that entrepreneurs spend big to win big. However, safe play has churned out the best results for many.
Understanding consumer behavior
The advent of social networking as well as free access of data on the internet has allowed entrepreneurs to analyze the target market in a refined manner. These channels have created businesses, for which, the target market is entirely virtual. This means that the opportunity is always there for you to grab. A frugal entrepreneur has a potent mixture of caution and motivation to succeed.
He would opt for term life insurance for ensuring some financial security while he could possibly use his retirement saving to invest in a business. With the consumer behavior is changing over a period of time; it is quite possible to examine it closely. After doing so, prediction can be made as to which side the market would turn.
Previously, such statistics were decided or predicted by a team of analysts trained in consumer psychology, but now, if you engage on social media, you can know the interests of people in your interaction zone, and this is where you can go for the kill. This is how consumer tips for various products/services are made.
The Paradigm Shift
The global economics has shifted from huge corporates to a multitude of profit earning micro set ups. The works in microfinance landed a Noble Prize in economics a few years back. The way down the road is still clear for people who want to do their business.
The competition is there, but the cost of living is also on the rise day by day. The ideal alternate exists in the form of having your own business. The idea is that in order to save money, you need to earn money.
Before I will rant about the advantages and disadvantages of my newly bought pocket wifi unit, I will list first my expectations and well-thought reasons why I choose to subscribe to an internet service that would bleed me out Php999 every month (with no option to unsubscribe for 2 years).
For someone like me who tried to live frugally (though I often fail), buying another internet gadget and subscribing to another internet service is definitely a big decision to make. Between the lifestyle that I badly want to maintain and my work, I tried hard to create my own reasons why I need an internet connection all the time.
1. There’s no stable internet connection and signal in the places where I frequently visit outside Cebu.
During holidays and my partner’s work vacations, we often go to his hometown, a small island that’s detached from the main island of Bohol. My USB broadband stick doesn’t work there and I’ve been scouring for ways to solve my internet connectivity problem. The thought of getting a pocket wifi has been playing in my mind with the hope that the signal should improve and would allow me to work even if we’ll stay there for a long period of time.
2. I need a back-up internet connection if my broadband connection at home will break down.
Since I’m a self-proclaimed prepping advocate, the thought of having no internet connection back-up worries me a lot especially in times of calamities and in instances that disruptions of my broadband connection will occur. As my work requires me to be online all the time, internet connectivity is always in the priority of my list. The tediousness of going to internet cafes is something that I don’t want to experience again.
3. I plan to increase my frequency in traveling, thus I need an internet connection all the time to stay connected with my work and clients.
Who doesn’t want to travel? Everyone loves to go to their dream destinations without sacrificing their work. This is one of the biggest reasons why I get a pocket wifi. Though most hotels and coffee shops nowadays have wifi connections, the thought of not worrying if I can have a connection every time I entered a pub or check in into a hotel is quite liberating. The days of asking passwords and become frustrated when the wifi connection doesn’t work is gone. Working anytime and anywhere is very exciting.
4. If my pocket wifi will have good connection and signal at home, I plan to discontinue my broadband subscription on October to minimize expenses for my monthly internet connection bills.
This is something that I’ve been thinking for a while now. I still have second thoughts in discontinuing my broadband connection because so far it is quite fast and reliable. We plan on moving again at the end of the year, thus the possibility of disconnection is always high. But, the thought of only having a wifi connection is something that I can’t see myself doing. In my line of work, a back-up connection is a must. Therefore, this reason is just a mere alibi. LOL!
5. To minimize my coffee shop expenses and avoid hanging out in expensive coffee shops just for the sake of getting a faster internet connection.
Obviously, this is my 2nd biggest reason. Hanging out in coffee shops to get a faster connection for work is really expensive. Also, I don’t plan to keep on avoiding places which I really like just because they have no wifi.
Lastly, though this is a bit silly and lame, I bought a pocket wifi because I want to check-in (in Foursquare) in all the places that I go to. Very, very lame but this is something that I personally crave. Why? Just because. Haha!
Do you own a pocket wifi? What are your main reasons why you bought and subscribe to it? I hope you also have some valid reasons like mine (except the last one). (:
Wow! Is it 2013 already? I’ve been hiding in my bunker and just managed to get out now. LOL!
Seriously, I’m so happy that I have now a bit of time to blog that I can’t stop myself not to joke. The stress of overworking and settling personal matters is beyond me now. Whew! What a relief! I feel so free I can pack my bags now and travel the whole wide world (I wish, but I’m preparing for this in the very near future). LOL!
Anyway, what am I doing here writing about resolutions when the first quarter of the year is ending? Resolutions are often written in New Year’s month, right? Well, I don’t need to follow the norm and do that. Resolutions should be made every time you fail. The only thing we can do when we fail is to get back on our feet and plan again on how to succeed. At least, that’s the way I think.
Honestly, I’m a bit ashamed every time I look at the title of this blog – A Frugal Cebuana Blogger. Frugal my ASS! There’s no frugality on how I live the past few months – none and nothing at all! So what am I doing here blogging about frugality and stuff? Well, this blog is my anchor that pulls me back every time I got swayed into a different bloody direction. As overspending is a bad habit of mine, this blog would somehow remind me that I should get back to my original resolution and slowly get away from my old lifestyle.
A frugal lifestyle is not easy. It would take complete self-restrain and discipline. So here are my top 7 frugal resolutions that I should keep in my bloody head starting NOW!
1. Stop being gallant and let others pay for me. Yes, yes, yes! I have this “pride” thing in me that I often have the urge that I don’t need any one to pay for me. It’s actually a habit, and oddly I always feel satisfied every time I’m the one who pays the bill. Stupidity or generosity, this is something that I need to minimize to control my expenses.
2. STOP eating out. For God’s sake!! This habit is sooo horrendous! My partner and I often eat out and we often spend over a thousand pesos, and that’s just for the two of us – a friggin’ waste of money as we can always eat a meal worth Php200 (or lower than that) at home. Jeezzz!
3. Turn off the PC and its electric fan before dozing off. This is actually a product of my laziness. Our monthly electric bill always shocks me. Every time I went to bed, I often think that I’ll only sleep for around 3 hours and get back to work. But, that never happened. I often wake up 8 hours after that and when I checked my PC; it’s still running as well as the electric fan that I use to keep it from overheating. Aside from wasting money, I’m also endangering our lives by keeping these appliances on when we are asleep. I need to stop this right now or else…. Regret always comes at the end.
4. Learn to say NO, NO, NO! For those who know me personally, especially my family and close friends, they would definitely say that I’m the generous type. I seldom decline when a friend or a family member would ask me to give or lend them some money. Once they approached me, I often feel obliged to help them as I always think that it’s better that I’m the one who give than I’m the one who beg. Stupid or compassionate, my habit to always say yes is not helping me financially. Why? Because not all those who borrowed me some money pay me on time and a few haven’t paid their dues at all. ):
5. Start meal planning to cut back expenses in food. I often read about meal planning on some frugal blogs that I often visit. But, I never really attempted to try it. NOW is the time to start planning for our meals.
6. Create a daily expenses tracker. I’m done creating this and I just started recording our daily expenses. This will help us in minimizing our day to day expenses by giving us some clear factors which of the stuff we buy are not that important and which are the ones that are causing us to spend a lot.
7. Create a monthly savings tracker. This one is of utmost important. I really need this to track my achievement and to measure if I have maintained my resolve. For those who are like me, still struggling to get away from their overspending habit, then I strongly recommend that you create this tracker first.
So, what else? I really want to add an 8th resolution but I can’t do it right now. My 8th resolution would be to stop hanging out in coffee shops. But, at the moment, I really need to go to one every time I’m not at home as my work requires me to have a stable internet connection. F*ck SmartBro! Its connectivity and speed can’t be trusted. Yes, I have a SmartBro USB Broadband stick but it’s a big failure. (I really want to elaborate this but it would take me another blog post to share my experience.)
Let’s get back to my pending 8th resolution. I really, really want to avoid coffee shops but going to my fave shops is now one of my pastimes. Also, I’m sooo addicted to anything coffee. If a doctor would examine my intestines, he will surely find remnants of coffee in there. I consume coffee daily and I can’t work without it in my system. Tsk.
N.B.: If you are reading this post up to this line, then I’m sure, just like me you’re also struggling to live frugally or you’re also planning to live as one. For sure, you have your reasons why you decided to adapt a frugal lifestyle. Share them by commenting below.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.
N.B.: This guest post is brought to you by Roy Duffield, a fellow blogger from the UK. Hope you will learn something from his tips. – EOD
As kids we tend to think that life is free, and it’s hard to imagine that we’ll have to get jobs one day. We picture our dream lives, doing what we want, going where we want, when we want. All the while “Grown-ups” are telling us we are wrong, that one day we’ll become grown-ups ourselves, realise our mistake and have to settle down, get a job, get a mortgage, pay the mortgage, etc, etc…
For a while I feared this may be true…and then I discovered travel, and I became a kid at heart again.
The truth is, travel is a lot cheaper than you think, and whether you are tramping or travelling in luxury, there are always ways to save money, which in turn means that dream trip can last as long as possible.
Here are my 5 top tips to travelling cheap:
A major reason why a lot of people don’t travel is the cost. They say they can’t afford hotels. Well, I’m here to prove those people wrong. The cost of anything is relative to the GDP of the country you’re going to. Therefore, what we might class as a fancy hotel, can cost almost nothing in the cheaper countries in the world. Furthermore, when you think about it, you pay rent back home don’t you? Now say your rent is around £300 a month. That’s £10 a night, and trust me, there are a lot of nice places (nicer than a £300/month flat) out there for less than £10 a night…
Go long haul!
…which brings me to my next point. The other reason people often think travel is expensive and thus can’t understand how others do it, is because they’re thinking too short-term. One of the biggest expenses when going on holiday is the flight. Since most people only get a couple of weeks off work at a time, they are used to short holidays of a week or two. Now think about this: if a flight to Florida costs £450 and you go for 2 weeks, that’s £225 a week on the flight. However, if you go away for 3 months, backpacking the States, you’re only looking at around £35 a week. Much more affordable. Go away for a year, and the flight, spread out, barely costs a thing. Some great ways to extend your trip include learning a language as you travel, teaching one, or any other kind of work abroad (see below).
And there ways to cut down the cost of travel even further! Couchsurfing.org is a great example of how, if you are prepared to think outside the box a little, you can travel for practically nothing…and you also get a much richer travel experience, meet more locals, and so on. As long as you’re prepared to give as well as get – so, for example, offering to cook a meal for your hosts, teach them a skill, or about your own culture or traditions – this is the option for you! And don’t forget to ask the people you meet about their own money saving tips! Locals always know the cheapest places to eat, drink and shop.
And while we’re on the subject of travelling for free, hitchhiking is another great way to meet people, get deeper into the culture of the place you’re travelling, and save so cash that would’ve gone on buses, trains or even flights. You’ll also get more freedom than with public transport and you can choose which roads to travel, where you get on and off, etc. Just exercise some caution. There are plenty of great sites with tips for safe hitchhiking.
Work while you travel!
Finally, all of the above focus on how to cut your spending, but what about using travel as a way to make money? Whether you want to WWOOF (work on an organic farm), in a call centre, as an au pair, in a bar, or as an English teacher (TEFL), there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you all over the world, from Sydney to Cusco, Varna to Kamloops. If you’re a keen writer you can even make money from your blog, or also as a freelancer. There are plenty of organisations and websites offering various travel benefits in exchange for online content, whether it be a free room at a hostel, or a more long-term set up.
I hope you found this inspiring. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be on the move, livin’ the dream. But until then, happy travels! Don’t forget to let me know what you think or ask any questions in the comments.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.
About the Guest Author
This has been a guest post by Roy Duffield. Why not check out his travel stories and notes from the road.
N.B.:(At the moment I’m still publishing guest posts on this site as I’m still very busy with work and settling some personal matters. I’m not sure yet when I can fully blog.)
The essence of frugal living is to live within your means and to make use of the things that are considered useless by many. The core value of frugality doesn’t mainly depict saving money but to create and recreate things so that nothing will be wasted.
On the other hand, this quote by Samuel Pepys is for you. “He that will not stoop for a pin will never be worth a pound.” Hope you will learn something from this guest post from my fellow blogger, Laura Brently. - EOD
If you are one of those who are in the business of making beautiful things with your hands, from souvenir gift items to handicrafts, chances are you’re wondering how to cover the cost of packaging considering you already spent a lot on the materials to make the products you are about to sell. No need to fret, because a lot of potential packaging materials are available right in your house and in your favourite school and office supplies store. You’ll be surprised that you already have some of these materials in your house. You’re only limited by your creativity.
1. Paper Lunch Bags - You can buy these cheap by bulk, and the classic brown ones have a very down-home, comfortable look that makes it flexible for designers and artists to come up with various designs. These can be used to package anything from figurines, plush toys, to CDs and paperback books. In this easy-to-follow instruction from DIY craft blogger and musician David Curry, you can learn how to use paper lunch bags as a nice case for your CDs.
2. Paper clips - You can use coloured paper clips to seal bags or wrappers, and you can even bend them into attractive shapes, as demonstrated in this project by designer Jessica Jones. You can even go crazy with the design by using rainbow-colored or striped paper clips!
3. Zip lock bags - These nifty items can be used to store and pack anything from food to spare parts to medicine. Expert handcrafter and stay-at-home mom blogger Deanna provides an awesome-looking step-by-step instruction on how to make a reusable ziplock bag (with a zipper!) that is both beautiful and useful.
4. Duct Tape - These items are probably left around in your garage or tool shed and forgotten, despite the vast potential you can have with them. These left-over duct tape rolls have been used to make everything from bags to flipflops. In this wikiHow tutorial, is a step-by-step guide on how to make a duct tape wallet. You can use this design as an attractive packaging option for small flat items such as laminated cards and specialized photo prints, and even include it as an add-on to make your handcrafted product stand out.
5. Sticker paper - With a basic desktop printer and a lot of sticker paper, you can design your own labels for bottles, containers and boxes. You can even laminate them to prevent smudging by using transparent packing tape, as demonstrated by CrazySexyFrugal blogger Joi in this blog post on DIY labeling for homemade cosmetics.
6. Old newspapers - Instead of sending them out for the garbage truck, why not re-use these and save a lot of trees in the process? In another tutorial, Jessica Jones shows us once more that with a bit of imagination and creativity, even mundane-looking old newspapers, doomed to be thrown out, can be used to make eye-pleasing packaging, in this case, gift bags made from newspapers.
7. Plastic drinking straws – Leftover unused straws from your last house party can be used as bag clips for sealing bags in a colorful and decorative way. This illustrated wikiHow instruction shows how it can be easily done with just a scissor as your tool.
About the Guest Author
Laura Brentley is the marketing manager at Card Printing US, a plastic card and gift card specialist company . She’s also a craft enthusiast whose “go-to” tools are her triangle rule, a french curve and an x-acto knife.
N.B.: When I was a student, I scrubbed floors and cleaned office furniture to free my parents from the burden of college tuition. Though I worked as an assistant to our College Guidance Psychometrician, my daily tasks (aside from conducting exams and checking test papers) involve taking on menial jobs and running errands. Looking back, I am quite proud of myself as I managed to graduate from college without debts and even helped my parents to minimize our expenses.
The daily allowance my parents gave me was only Php50 ($1.23). It was quite small for a full-time working student with a big appetite. But, I managed to squeeze it with the help of the little allowance I received as a working scholar. I still can’t forget that I often brought rice from home to school to listen my lunch expenses. And I only eat Chinese Ngohiong with it so that I would only spend around Php10 for my meal.
When I was a student, I can’t remember that I entered and ate in any fast food chains. This is the very reason why I’m quite amazed these days watching students going in and out of fast food restaurants and other expensive diners. Either they are really well off, or they just don’t give a damn about money.
Below is a guest post by my fellow blogger, Linda Forshaw, that teaches students these days on how to minimize their expenses and be more responsible in handling their parents’ money. - EOD
Living a frugal life is not about going without the things that you need; rather it is about living a life that avoids waste, extravagance, and unnecessary expenditure. As a student, money is likely to be tight, so there is never a better case for living a frugal life than while you are at college. Here are some top tips to help you do exactly that.
A budget is always the first place to start
When attempting to live a frugal life as a student (or in any other capacity for that matter), creating a budget should always be the very first thing you do. Include all income (from scholarships, student loans, part time work, and parental contributions) and all anticipated expenditure. Understanding how much you have to “play with,” is paramount to keeping on the financial straight and narrow.
Free is good but affordability is better
It goes without saying that free is always a good option. Whether it’s hooking up to free wifi to avoid data charges or joining your local freecycle group, you never know what you can pick up for free (and would otherwise have paid for). Cheaper (although not quite as attractive as completely free) is a close runner up. Adopting the mantra that every time you need something you will try and find it cheaper is a good plan. A good place to start is making full use of grocery coupons and visiting the store toward closing time to pick up any discounted food stuffs.
Sharing is sensible
There’s a lot of truth in the saying that “two can live as cheaply as one,” so imagine the savings that can be made from teaming up with more than one other person. As a student, most of your peers will be in the same boat financially speaking, so team up to help each other out. This could involve any number of things. You could each buy a textbook from a required reading list, start a supper club (whereby one of you cooks each night), or team up to benefit from bulk buy discounts, The possibilities to make savings are fairly endless.
Alternatives can be attractive
Always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. It can be as simple as when you fancy watching a movie, renting a DVD instead of forking out for an extravagant trip to the cinema. It could be that you really need a haircut. Could you wait until next week and bag yourself a cheaper appointment with a trainee hairdresser? This is all about seeking viable alternatives to the things you want or need. If you can’t wait for a better deal, remember to always ask for a student discount. Such discounts might not be widely advertised by a company, but they are often available.
Living frugally as a student doesn’t mean you won’t have any fun. You’ll probably have just as much fun as the other students in your class. The only real difference is that you’ll be getting a better deal.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.
About the Guest Author
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay
N.B.: Have you been thinking how to save electricity and lessen the frequency of buying new bulbs every time they got damaged? Or, perhaps are you planning to cut off on energy cost by buying solar-powered appliances? If you have these thoughts then you may continue reading below. The following guest post is from my fellow writer, Sam Peters. – EOD
Elektrostandard LED light bulb
You may be cutting down on the weekend meals or trying to shop smarter, but you may be unaware of huge savings that can be made through green installations at your home. Apart from the potential savings offered by these installations, they’ll also make your home self-reliant. Here are some of the options you can go for.
1. LED light bulbs
These are low-energy consuming lights that can last for up to 20 years. For brightness, they use 90 percent low watts per hour compared to incandescent lights. They lead to savings in light and bulb purchases as well as in energy. They’re an investment worth looking into, and the cost only averages around $20 per unit. They’re a top choice when it comes to green home installations. Custom LED lightning installations also available to consumers.
2. Energy-saving adapters
Many of you would be fond of using consumer electronics at your home; laptops, smartphones, tablets, video games etc. Did you know they account for a total of 13 percent energy consumed at homes? This was reported by CEA, and the cost of charging and running these devices goes up to $191 per year.
Energy saving adapters (AC/DC) are now being manufactured by companies such as Green Plug. They’re made to give the devices the exact amount of charge they require, and shut themselves down automatically once the required amount of power has been given to the specified device. They’ll lead to money savings if you regularly charge devices and other electronic items.
3. Outdoor Solar motion sensor light
Apart from green installations inside the house, you could save some bucks by tweaking your home from the outside. The outdoor solar motion sensor lights provide you ‘free energy’ to use, They use the sun to charge themselves, and the charge goes on for up to 2 weeks.
They’re also brighter, and stay on during power outages as there’s no electricity involved. Therefore, you save in terms of electricity as well as home security.
4. Programmable thermostats
Thermostats have been around for a while, but advances have been made to make them more energy efficient, leading to savings. The thermostats are now being equipped with advanced sensors and algorithms, and they even allow for cloud computing.
These high tech thermostats can lead to a 30 percent decrease in average annual energy bill. An example of such as thermostat is Nest Learning Thermostat by Nest Labs.
A separate account can be maintained for spending on the listed and other green additions. Researching banks that offers the best interest rate on savings accounts would result in some options.
Apart from savings accounts, there’s also an option to go for current deposit account by comparing cd rates of different banks.
Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.
N.B: You don’t need to spend thousands of money to look fabulous and in-sync with fashion. Being frugal doesn’t mean you keep on wearing the same boring stuff over and over again. It’s on how you make use of the things around you to avoid spending your hard-earned money over unnecessary jewelries. Looking for creative ways to make cool accessories from used materials is not only good for mother earth, it is also good for your pockets. Below is a guest post on how you can make your very own fashionable beaded necklace from recycled magazines. – EOD
Great beaded jewelry offers a plethora of colors and textures. You can create your own stylish jewelry with magazine pages and a few other household items. Gather a few high quality and glossy magazines and a bottle of Mod Podge or Diamond glue. You will also need a small paintbrush, scissors, elastic jewelry string, a needle, and a thin dowel or wood skewer. Once you collect these items, follow the steps below to create a fun necklace.
1. Pick out a few colorful magazine pages. Try to find pages with color on both sides.
2. Cut thin strips from the page. Cut strips in different widths and shapes. For example, a pointed strip will result in a rounded bead while a straight strip will deliver a cylinder.
3. Start with the wider end of your strip. Use your paintbrush to apply a thin layer of glue to a few inches of the paper, leaving about half an inch on the very edge free.
4. Begin wrapping the paper tightly around the dowel or skewer.
5. Apply glue to the paper as you roll it so that it sticks firmly together.
6. Once you reach the end of the strip, hold the roll tightly for a few seconds to allow glue to set.
7. Remove the bead from the dowel and coat the outside with Mod Podge or Diamond glue. Diamond glue will give the bead a shiny, hard coat.
8. Repeat steps 3 through 7 in order to create additional beads.
9. Allow beads to dry overnight or for at least 8 hours.
10. Cut a length of string long enough for the necklace.
11. Using a needle, string beads onto the strand.
12. Once the string is full of beads, tie a secure knot to close the necklace and you are ready to go!
If you do not have time to create your own colorful accessories, click here to find great deals on necklaces and other jewelry.
Photo Credit: foeshop.co.uk – Used under Creative Common License
N.B: Another way to save money if you are celebrating your birthday (that is not mentioned in the guest contribution below) is by celebrating it with someone who has the same birth date as you. (In my case I will be celebrating my birthday with “soulmate” later this month.) You can save money if you do it this way because you can split the expenses between the two celebrants. The celebration will also become more meaningful and more memorable because you are celebrating it with someone who was also born on the date that you were born. Double celebration! (Advance Happy Birthday, Soulmate!) – EOD
Birthdays are often associated with a sense of having to spend money. There is birthday party planning that takes place, cakes and sweets and then the costly tradition of presents for the person celebrating their birthday.
What are some of the ways that you can cut down the expenses of birthdays and create a frugal celebration?
Use what you have on hand to create a birthday meal. If you follow proper food storage ideas, you can celebrate with a birthday dinner featuring your favorite dishes without having to make a trip to the supermarket. Keeping things on hand like sugar and sweets can help to make the special occasion just a bit sweeter.
In addition to making the dinner with food that is already on hand, you can choose to host a pot luck dinner. Inviting friends and family members to join in the celebration and bringing something that they also made at-home can be a great way to make the special occasion even more special without causing people to spend money on the presents.
Skip the store-bought presents. Skipping the store bought presents can help you to celebrate the birthday without breaking the bank. Rather than traditional presents and cards, consider making presents at-home. Presents that are made are more heartfelt and they are more likely to create memories that the person is going to look back on fondly.
If you are going to celebrate the birthday outside of the home, there are some things that you can do to reduce the celebration expense. Check local restaurants and entertainment venues. There are many places that offer free foods and services on your birthday, just make sure you have identification with you to prove that it’s indeed your birthday.
Checking the local community pages or online classified advertisements, you can find free and cheap events that are happening in the city or town. Planning the birthday around one of these events can be a great way to reduce the cost of the party and help to explore something new in your own backyard.
For children’s birthday parties, there is often the expectation to spend more money. Having a simple birthday party at-home and inviting only family or friends to celebrate the occasion can be a great way to tone down expenses. For presents (from the child’s godmothers or godfathers), you may consider asking books as gifts (it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or 2nd hand). Books can last for a very long period of time and are good souvenirs the child can keep.
You don’t need to splurge money during birthdays. The most important thing is you celebrate it with meaning and with the people that matter the most to you.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License | Credit
About the Guest Author