I find living on my own to be an exhilarating adventure. I love corralling my finances, and finding ways to make my savings grow faster while living a good life now as well. If you are also a single girl, thriving on your own, and looking for ways to save more for the future, then these tips are for you.
Make it the norm to do things besides eating out with your friends. I love food, and I love dining out, so I’m certainly not going to say you should never do it. But I also know that it’s more special when it doesn’t happen three times a week. Invite your friends to your house to drink tea and color around your kitchen table. Have a pizza party on the railroad tracks. Do a picnic in the town park. Take walks together. Spending more money does not necessarily equal more fun.
Stick to drinking water when you eat out. Way cheaper than soft drinks, and healthier.
Remember brand name is not always better. Forget spending fifty dollars on that awesome high end moisturizer which supposedly will keep you looking fifteen. There’s time for that when you’re a rich fifty year old. For now, learn to enjoy Aldi brand groceries, and drugstore cosmetics. And let me tell you a secret. Many of them are every bit as good, and sometimes even better.
Keep frozen food at work. Break down and buy a bag of frozen spring rolls or burritos or ramen at Walmart. Sure, it’s not the tastiest food you’ll ever eat, but then when noon comes in the middle of a particularly harried week and realize you didn’t bring a lunch, you won’t have any excuse to run to the fast food place down the street. That way eating out can be something you do deliberately and for fun, instead of spending six dollars in a rush every other day when you’re hungry.
Buy the smaller size coffee. The dollar you save doesn’t seem like much, but if you make this a habit, it’ll add up fast. On that note, stick to the cheaper end of the menu when you go out to eat as well. No sense in spending five dollars more for something that doesn’t taste any better.
Get your clothes at thrift stores instead of the mall. Really, nothing beats the fun of finding expensive items for a few dollars. Unless, of course, it’s the fun of telling your jealous friends that you found it at a thrift store. Hah.
When your closet gets full, instead of schlepping all your brand name stuff off to Goodwill without further thought, take a Saturday afternoon, and list the good pieces on eBay. You’d be surprised at the things people want to buy. eBay’s mobile app is self-explanatory and easy to use, and it is such fun to make thirty dollars on something you paid five for. I also have friends who regularly sell name brand items on Poshmark, with great success.
Don’t grocery shop hungry. This is one I’m terrible at sticking to, but I sure pay for it when I don’t, and come home with too much food to fit in my pantry. Also, be intentional about preparing the groceries you have instead of always making a new recipe from Pinterest for which you have to buy half the ingredients. When you want to try exciting cooking (which you definitely should sometimes), make several batches to use up all your odd ingredients. That way you don’t end up with a fridge stuffed with half cans of bizarre things which expired a year ago. Be an adventurous cook, but also don’t forget the pleasure of beans and rice.
Learn to enjoy beauty without owning it. It’s easy to browse Pinterest or stores or friends’ houses and admire the lovely things we see. And it’s even easier to do that and to think that we’d be a little happier if we also owned those things. But one of the secrets of living well is learning to appreciate beauty and then go home without buying it for yourself. Gratitude is cheap.
Finally, don’t worry so much about what other people think of you. “What?” you say, “That isn’t a frugality tip!” Actually it is. When you don’t bother about other people’s opinions, then you don’t have to have a wardrobe full of the perfect clothes, and a dresser filled with the best makeup. You don’t have to feel insecure about suggesting other options instead of eating out. You can drive an ugly car with confidence. You can come home at the end of the day, drape yourself over your second hand furniture, eat your rice and beans off your chipped yard sale plate, and be happy.
If you enjoy reading about frugality, check out the Frugalwoods blog. Although I’m not even close to as hardcore as she is, I really enjoy her cheerful perspective on the benefits of living thriftily.