Building Frugal Habits

When it comes to building frugal habits, I think the biggest and most important step you can take is to adopt philosophy. Think about the things you do, and ask yourself why you do them. This is the key to so many things, and being frugal isn’t an exception.

Now, be warned, taking a long, hard look at any aspect of your life can present you with both good and bad revelations. When it comes to being frugal, once you truly embrace it, it becomes an addiction. Not spending money is an addiction? That’s jazzing it up a bit. It becomes addictive to only spend money on what you need.

Since I truly embraced being frugal, I’ve put so many things back on the shelf, removed them from my shopping cart, and deleted them from my wish list. This may sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s very satisfying when you know you have only purchased what you will need and use. Now, when I do buy something, I am extremely satisfied knowing that it was money well spent.

The things I do own, I cherish, and the value goes beyond money. Once you know what you value, and you can see through the facade of more¬†and be happy with less. Frugal is a mindset, and isn’t really easy, but it does have a huge amount of impact on your life. In my opinion, it makes life better. Really.

-Mike

 

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Let Other People Pay For Your Stuff!

You might be asking, why would someone else pay for your stuff? Well, the more common term would be ‘buying things used’. When you buy an item used, another person has put up the money for the immediate drop in value. Even selling an item new and in the package, you won’t get retail price for it. Some things you don’t always buy used, but things like clothing, dishes, cookware are easy to visually inspect.

If you’re moving out for the first time, you’re going to save a TONNE of money buying used. If you’re a single person, you can probably get by with 1-4 dining sets. Don’t bother with a 16 person plate set unless you host people frequently. Otherwise you’ll find yourself using the same plate over and over again; never making it to the bottom of your pile of plates. That, my friends, is what we call a waste of money.

You stand to save a lot of money on clothing as well. Typically, items you find used at thrift shops are in great shape, sometimes never worn, and they’re higher quality products. An H&M t-shirt never lasts long enough to make it to the thrift store racks. I’ve managed to buy brand new, white, Fruit of the Loom t-shirts that are MADE IN CANADA for $3-5. Where can you buy clothing made in Canada for that price?

Electronics can be hit or miss. Do your due diligence though and you can score a great deal. I recently sold my television because I’m moving. Someone got an amazing panel with little use for $150 less than retail. I got a really good deal on it during boxing, and definitely got my my money’s worth, but they got a steal as far as I’m concerned.

Before you buy anything, ask yourself, can I buy it used?

-Mike

Useful Subreddits

I’ve been reading http://www.reddit.com for a long time. Typically I’d waste time reading useless junk. I mean I still do, but I used to, too. All jokes aside, there is a tonne of great resources on Reddit and tonnes of talented people. Find me at /u/torontosurvivalguide

Below are some subreddits that contain a treasure trove of useful information to help make you more self-sufficient:

Business

DIY

Finance

Food

Lifestyle

Philosophy 

Self Sufficiency

Shopping

Travel

I hope you find something you like!

-Mike

 

 

My Early Retirement Ecosystem

I’ve thought a lot about the symbiosis of so many of my alternative living strategies, and figured I would try and talk about the ecosystem and how it all works. Some of the main strategies that compliment each other:

  • Early Retirement
  • Bring Frugal
  • Minimalism
  • Healthy Eating
  • Reduced Meat Diet
  • Zero Waste
  • DIY

My main goal is early retirement, and I will do anything to get there. One of the biggest boosts you’ll get towards financial freedom is becoming frugal. Spending less means saving more; plain and simple. Once the frugal addiction hits, you’ll enjoy finding out how much junk you used to buy, and then not buying it. Literally not spending money makes me happy! Cool, right? Being frugal to me is about not spending money on the things you don’t want to spend money on. That being said..

I personally don’t need a lot of space. I’ve slowly reduce the amount of stuff I physically have and am looking to reduce the space I need. I started my adult life in a large condo with all the trimmings. Recently, I then into an apartment to reduce my rent and expenditures. Next, I will be moving into a room in a shared house. My next move will reduce my costs significantly (almost 40% for housing). I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t have anything else I need to rid myself of. I have become MY version of minimal.

I really enjoy food and cooking but I don’t think anyone enjoys paying their grocery bill. The thing I quickly learned about myself after moving out on my own is how much I enjoy cooking. I started off simple with a couple recipes and now I have a good sized repertoire. One of things about cooking that has improved my food and my diet immensely is moving to raw materials. Raw materials are cheaper, result in better tasting food, and reduce all of the ‘junk’ that processed foods contain.

In Canada, food is fairly expensive and meat and cheese are very expensive. As a result, I have moved to a mainly meat free diet. When I do eat meat, I put more work into cheaper cuts and have been very impressed by the results. This saves me money, expands my skills, and has me eating more environmentally friendly dishes. When I go shopping for produce, I bring refillable bags and NEVER buy plastic bags at the checkout.

A zero waste lifestyle is directly related to being frugal, eating healthy, being more environmentally friendly, and eating less meat. Meat comes in foam trays, if I buy meat, I reuse the trays at least once to make them more than single use, for example. I buy only seasonal produce and put it in reusable mesh bags.

Before I buy anything, I always ask myself: Can I get by without it? Can make it myself? I have become extremely self sufficient and, if I don’t say so myself, quite handy. I walk to work/my friends/the train/the store. I carry all of my groceries in a backpack. When organizing work events, I pickup the food and alcohol myself. I repair my own things. I hunt down deals and buy used when I do need things. I learn new skills. This is a huge requirement if you want more freedom. Stop paying people to do things you can do yourself!

This was a bit of a rant, but look at ways your different passions compliment each other, and find new ways to enhance your lifestyle.

-Mike

 

 

Useful Resources

I’ve been keeping a list of useful resources that I use regularly to work on my early retirement planning, being more environmentally conscious, frugal, make better investments, and more! Check them out below.

-Mike

Buy/Sell/Trade

Food cost saving

Investing Advice

Real Estate Investing Advice

Financial Independence

Other

Review Your Paid Services Regularly

Currently, I only have two paid services: phone, and internet. Every 6 months or so, I shop around a bit and see what going rates with other companies are. Sometimes you can find better service for the same money, or the same service for less money.

Recently, I moved from Freedom Mobile to Public Mobile after a trip to Montreal. Freedom doesn’t have a network in Quebec which was problematic. Public Mobile is on the Telus network, and they had a great deal to move over from Freedom. I was paying about $54/month for 8GB of Data, Unlimited Text/Calling, and 1GB of Data/month in the USA.

I’m now paying $120/3-month period for 4GB of Data, Unlimited Text/Calling per month. They even offer a bonus to hookup your credit card, giving you $2 off per month. This brings me down to $38/month. The switch saves me $16/month, or $192/year. I like the concept of having extra money not leaving my account. Assuming I have a phone for the next 50 years at the same price, I’ll have saved myself $10,000 over my life, not including interest on that money. Sweet! Getting a better deal on my Internet is the next step.

Do your wallet a favour and shop around.

-Mike