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The book I went through this July happens to be The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living. The author, Daisy Luther, helped me to understand how I can better my personal finances. I won’t delve into my personal life, rather, I will share the main point that came across best to me.

Frugality is not about deprivation. … It’s about being resourceful and creative with what you have.

Chapter 1: What is Frugality and Why Should You Embrace It?

The important note is being frugal isn’t to prevent you doing what you want to, it’s meant to minimise your everyday costs. That is, to consider minimising frivolous expenses, and maximise savings, which can help you to do whatever you actually want. The benefit here is it can help you to enjoy your life to the fullest!

When you stop spending money on things that don’t matter, you free up a lot of cash for the things that do. … Experiences are more fulfilling, memorable, and meaningful than things. They can also enrich your life, expand your horizons, and make you happier.

Chapter 2: The Benefits of Frugal Living

The most important thing which stuck with me was the idea of spending less to enjoy life more. Having experiences which keep you happier can lead to better things happening all around your life. I’m not sided towards belief in karma, but know first-hand from my experiences, that staying happier always leads to better things happening. The key point here is if you can’t be comfortable with your expenses, you won’t be able to be happy and enjoy your life.

Just consider if you find the highest quality shops, at the lowest cost, for your monthly meat, salads, and vegetables, for the family. You can still enjoy the quality, at a lower cost. For example, my favourite butchery Delft, has meat packs. Ignoring our South African Load Shedding requiring you to invest in a backup inverter, battery pack, and maybe also solar, for your fridge or freezer; you can separate it to the average meal size of the household in plastic containers, freeze it, and you can spend way less on meat for the month.

It isn’t super frugal, mind you, but as a single person in my own house the Pack 1 can last me for way over a month and a half, so far, just when divided into meat portion of meals I prefer. Take R1000 and divide it by 45, still have extra meat – 2 of the 1kg steaks, and it means my dinner meat costs for my normal meals are R22.22 each. You can do whichever lunch you like, for instance for simplicity I have cold meats on bread when I go to the office, then on weekends I can enjoy any meal I ever want, and I just get bulk frozen vegetables or 4-day salad packs for low costs. The only reason I do the bread and cold meats for lunch is its low cost, and I can have way more time to spend on things I enjoy doing.

When I move in with someone one day it will change to cater for a larger household, but the point is it helps me feel happier, and more comfortable, to do whatever I want since I saved more.

Investing is another way to make your money work for you.

Chapter 10: Investing and Saving for the Future

Take note though, just having the extra money doesn’t mean just saving it in your main account. If you take out a savings account which is accessible in an instant, and gains interest monthly, it can always be accessible in emergencies, but can grow for you. You should make the money you don’t need to spend usually and make it grow; I do have a few reviews which fit into this mentality which I hope can help if you’re stuck.

There are broad explanations for all areas covered in the book, but my favourite points where:

  • Track your spending and make a realistic budget.
    If you save in a manner that gains interest, so you receive more money, it can be used for things which you love to do and enjoy. Consider a 6% per annum saving account you put R1000 into monthly; Jan to Dec it leads to around R12,335 in December to have your holiday with. Choose a cost-effective holiday which uses half the savings in total this December and using the same savings amount leads to over R18k next year for the end of year holiday.
  • Reduce your utility bills and save energy.
    People never consider how much utilities cost; there’s a simple way where you can reduce the cost of running those in your house. Lower consumption LED globes, don’t just leave every electronic device on or plugged in, don’t leave the water running, don’t use a heater just wear warmer clothes. Minimal adjustments but they can save you more under your utility costs.
  • Cook from scratch and eat healthy.
    One thing I am always guilty of is buying premade food. Try keep it as a rarer occasion, then it can become something enjoyable for sticking to a better budget. Food is one of the biggest expenses in a household, but if you make it yourself more you can save way more!

Above are the short and sweet suggestions from this book which have already helped me adjust my spending habits. The little extra savings to be more frugal can easily lead to a better future, and enjoying doing whatever you enjoy more. I highly recommend my friends who ask me for savings, and investments, suggestions also read this!

As a side note, it’s strongly suggested you look into what you need to move into your own house. I strongly advise you work out the most frugal way you can get everything on that list before the move, and have a backup savings which grows, to cover double that amount. Don’t throw yourself into financial instability without a backup safety savings.