Why Frugality Is So Important

You can take on more tasks to trim your budget.

Maybe it’s time to start a canning hobby.

U.S. News & World Report

By Mel Bondar,  Feb. 2, 2016

Sometimes I think, why would anyone even want to be a frugal shopper? It’s definitely a pain to master the art of frugality.

Then I remember all the benefits it’s brought me and I snap back into line. Frugality has allowed me to:

  1. Chase my dream career, even though it’s low-paying and inconsistent work.
  2. Lessen my impact on the environment. It’s an excellent way to go green.
  3. Save up an emergency fund that’s given me the freedom to move when I want and leave terrible jobs.
  4. Find money I thought I didn’t have so I could save up for retirement.
  5. Free up money to buy more expensive quality items that last longer, rather than cheaper versions that break quickly.
  6. Completely change the way I view objects and money, for the better.

And it’s definitely not an overnight thing, which no one ever really wants to hear anymore. I get it. I’m a millennial, too. If I can master it through a few minutes of using an app on my phone, I probably don’t really want to learn how to do it, anyway.

Good things take time, though, and if you want to master frugality, you need to channel your inner grandparents. Some of my best money saving tips take some prep work or skill building, but they’ve not only saved me money, but they also make me feel accomplished. Being the best guitar hero around has never given me the same amount of pride as growing my own cucumbers or mending my own clothes. You can guess which one was initially more fun to learn, though.

Here are five basic skills you can work on to get started saving money and living the frugal life, just like your grandparents did:

Gardening

Believe it or not, gardening can work in most situations. Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can look into community gardens or get started with a basic herb garden on your windowsill. Seeds are pretty cheap to obtain (as a matter of fact, you can just use the seeds of whatever you’ve got sitting around in your fridge).

Carpentry

A few carpentry skills can go a long way. You can repair broken items like furniture legs or tables. Knowledge of how to use tools like a hammer, level and saw will go a long way toward making your home more livable for less money. Once you’re confident with these tools, some Googling can provide instructions for basic home repairs like fixing your own molding or how to lay a floor yourself. Once you’ve started DIYing around the home, your initial confidence from smaller projects can snowball into a lot of successful little repairs. Spackle and paint that hole yourself!

Sewing

Americans spend a lot on clothes each year that are barely worn. Learn how to maintain your clothing and your budget line for that can drop considerably. Or you can join the legions of fashion bloggers like ReFashionista, who picks up clothes at $1 a pop in thrift stores and turns them into gorgeous new outfits after a quick trip through her sewing machine.

Car Repair

Learning how to just change your oil can save you around $75 or more a year. The price of oil is actually really low. Most of that cost is in labor when you take your car to a mechanic or oil change station. Learning basic maintenance also makes you more difficult to take advantage of when you are in the shop for a repair beyond your scope of knowledge. Take it from me. The first time I needed a new tire, I was sold four, because the guy told me they all needed to match like a pair of shoes, and I thought that made sense.

Canning

Have you mastered the above basics? If your gardening game is now on point, canning will take your food savings to the next level and help reduce waste. As a matter of fact, for the most frugal bloggers I know, this is a staple skill. Canning keeps food fresh for a long time and let’s you enjoy off season treats regularly.

What skills would you add to this list, for anyone who wants to save money by DIYing more? Do some brainstorming and roll up your sleeves!

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