Compound interest is when your earn interest on set amount of variable X, which then in turn earns interest on that gained interest! Living frugally can create compound interest, whether it be money, time, or other, the more you are frugal. How can we earn compound interest on being frugal?
Driving less obviously means buying less gas. But driving less also means a lot of other things. It means less maintenance like oil changes, tires, brakes, washing, wear and tear on your car. It also means less chance of having an accident, meaning your insurance hopefully decreases in cost! The less wear on your car, the less you will need to buy things to replace or fix whatever is on your car. I’m not saying you have to ride a bike, walk, or ride public transit (although that’s great!), it could mean taking less trips to unnecessary places or combining errand type trips into one timeframe.
Reusing & Borrowing.
Being frugal means living and using more of what you already own, buying used items, or just borrowing items. Buying an item always means it’s going to require maintenance. Buying more things to maintenance your things can place you in a trap. It can also cause a lot of your time to be eaten up by shopping for it or maintenancing it. Many times buying one item entices or requires you to purchase another item to go with it. Being aware of this upfront may help you to be more frugal. This is not necessarily bad all the time, but it is good to make sure it is worth it and will bring quality to your life.
One easy way to increase our frugality with a big impact is by purchasing a quality water bottle and refilling it instead of buying bottled water. Most bottled water is actually tap water, and combine that with the chemicals from the plastic bottle, (and the issues it causes from the towns companies harvest it from!), it’s actually quite unhealthy. Just reusing your own water bottle could save you lots of money over a year’s time! It also decreases the amount of trash or recycling you take to the curb. I have 4 bottles that I keep. I always take one with me when traveling or running errands in the car, hiking, or working outside. It also comes in handy to carry water for the dog when we’re out. One in insulated if I need the drink to stay cold or hot. I have a small one and a large one depending on where I’m going.
Cleaning & Homekeeping.
Using a few different types of cleaning materials makes things easy. Less trips to the store to buy a specific cleaner. Less to recycle by reusing bottles that you refill with your own handmade cleaner. I’ve saved some of the nicer spray bottles from cleaners I’ve bought to refill with my own cleaner. I mainly use baking soda or vinegar as my cleaner for the counter top or shower (Just be careful with this on some surfaces such as porcelain tile or natural stone). Some cleaning companies sell refill type products that are cheaper.
Finding ways to reduce the amount of trash you produce means less trips to the garbage can, less trips taking the can to the curb, and less garbage bags to purchase. I produce little trash, so I’m able to have a garbage can that fits a grocery bag, which means free bags! I also reuse mulch bags or other large shopping bags. 98% of the garbage is from food packaging. I reduce food packaging as I can by reusing containers in my grocery’s bulk isle. Most of the food packaging is recyclable, so I do create a lot of recyclables to deal with.
I’ve also begun using rechargeable batteries. I don’t have many items that take regular batteries, but having rechargeable ones is a lot cheaper and better for the environment. You can buy them now for almost as cheap as buying one time batteries. I’ll also be switching over to LED light bulbs as time goes on. They’ve reduced in price a lot over the past year, and I think they’re worth the cost now.
Buying Quality Items.
Being frugal doesn’t always mean buying the cheapest item. It means buying the best quality item for the money. Quality items are going to last much longer, you might like it better, and may keep its value longer. Sometimes, being frugal means sacrificing now to benefit more in the long run. You may also end up buying 10 of a certain type of item and paying the same amount or more than if you just bought the one quality item in the beginning! I found this pertains to a lot of kitchen items and tools.
Buying Second Hand.
Some people think it’s icky to buy some types of second hand items. However, if you go into any thrift store, I bet there will be brand new store bought items with tags still on them. Buying second hand reduces the demand on creating more. It also puts money into pockets of people who likely need it more, wether it’s it’s the original owner or the thrift store, which is usually run by a charity. You will likely pay less than its original value, even if it’s brand new. You can even buy second hand online, which is super easy.
Food & Health.
“Frugality doesn’t always mean buying the cheapest item”. This applies to food as well. One area it does not pay to be frugal in general is the food you buy and health. Buying processed and junk food because it’s cheap is not frugal, because I bet it’s going to cause you health problems. Not only in the long run because of diet related diseases, but lacking the nutrients your body needs makes it more prone to other illness like colds, allergies, sinus, rash, or just being tired and unproductive. Being treated for those illnesses may not be cheap. So buying healthy food is well worth the investment. “If you think organic food is expensive, have you priced cancer lately?” ~ Joel Salatin
I’ve always wondered how much wrapping foil is in the Hershey kisses factory. Each kiss has a tiny ball of foil after it’s unwrapped. But millions of Hershey kisses, how much foil would that be!? We often think we, just one person, can’t make a difference. But making a choice not to purchase or recycle one item adds up. We can reduce the demand on manufacturing around the world by decreasing our consumption, no matter how small. Overtime this changes things in our community. Less trash may mean the size of your garbage can decreases in your community. This would be awesome because they’re so big, ugly, heavy, and smelly! More people walking in the community may place demand on better sidewalks.
Adopting frugal tips here and there becomes a practice that may take time, but really pays off. We can decide to change one of our habits this week, and in a couple weeks, adopt another. It’s important not to feel overwhelmed, but to take time until habits become comfortable and easier to hang onto.