Hello readers! It’s been a while since I posted frequently but I still have some content coming your way this summer. I have had issues finding balance and consistency with the blog posts but I have more content coming so make sure to subscribe via WordPress or with your email to receive notifications when I upload a new post. I will be experimenting with my schedule so make sure you don’t miss any content. You can also get news on my social media, links are at the top right corner. With that being said, I have been on a financial frugal mode for a few months now to save money in order to realize some big projects we have for our house this summer and great family vacation this fall. Some are not that exciting (new doors) but they need to be done. With that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that frugality and intentional living can go hand in hand.
To be able to accomplish this big renovation, we need to save a few thousand dollars (I know! It’s a lot of money and I would prefer to spend it somewhere else but it needs to be done). We tried to find a few things to cut back on, make a few changes to our habits or do without. Sometimes with ethical and sustainable living, it feels like you have to support all of those great companies, ideas and spend all that money when in reality, you had other plans for those funds. Do not worry, we still live a great life but our priorities are on the house for the moment. As you may know, I am a fan of Jordan Page’s approach to financing as it makes sense to me. I watch most of her YouTube videos and like her online programs. All of these frugal ideas and my conscious way of life sometimes compete with each other but I came to realize that they can go hand in hand if you do it right. I know it doesn’t seem like it at first but stay with me I promise some of the principles can be applied for both.
Don’t spend money on junk
It is very simple and can avoid a lot of clutter in your home as well as a lot of money. New gadget pop all the time and there are a lot of things promising to make your life easier. The question I like to ask myself is “do you really need this?” and most of the time the answer is NO. I can usually use something I already have or go without. I know a lot of people around me that enjoy a good bargain (and I do as well) and they will spend a lot of money on little things from the dollar store they do not really need or will have a use for simply because it is a bargain and looks cool (not really but it makes you feel that way). In summary, avoid clutter coming to your home by refusing things you don’t need and save money by refusing to purchase junk (I mean here in the large sense of poor quality item we don’t use) and get creative with things you already have. On a side note, junk can also be considered as fast food and alcohol. I truly enjoy eating out and in the summer being on a patio with a cold beer. But these thing can cost a lot of money in the long run so we set ourselves a budget or have a great bbq meal and a drink on our patio. It is inexpensive , you can have friends over and since you cook your own food you can make it healthier.
Buy with longevity in mind
Whenever you need to purchase something, it is important to consider the quality, how much use you can get out of it, and take the price into consideration (here I mean the value). It does happen that we do need to replace things or just came to a point where we need to upgrade or simply need items to come into our home. You should try to get the best price for whatever you purchase (hello sales!) but always consider these three things while doing your research: purchase price, value price, quality and long term use. Then, you need to see how many different ways can you use this item and how long you can use it for, hopefully, years. While researching make sure to look at various reviews on the item and the company making it. One site I have yet to use but highly recommend is Buy Me Once. It was founded under this very principle and offers great reviews on items and brands.
Avoid single-use everything, especially plastic items
This is buzzing in the news lately, mainly because of the state of our oceans and the quantity of micro-plastic particles now found everywhere. Instead of a pack of 28 plastic water bottles bought at the store, buy a reusable one (glass, metal, etc.). If you do not like the taste of your local water, Brita offers water bottle with filters. Silicone bags and baking mould are great alternatives to paper products in the kitchen. Replace wipes with fabric face cloths and cotton pads for reusable ones. For female hygiene product, I recommend the diva cup to replace tampons. You can find a replacement for a lot of things you would normally throw away but can reuse and save money while being eco-friendly. If you would like me to write a post all about this, let me know in the comments below.
Repair, reuse or repurpose
This is a very eco-friendly principle the previous generations were great at, whenever possible, you should look into repairing before purchasing. I know in the past few decades things were build to break and force us to purchase again. Nowadays, we are slowly coming back to fixing things before purchasing new ones. You can use YouTube to learn how to fix things or Pinterest to find creative ways to reuse and repurpose your items. As you can imagine, this simple thing can save you hundreds of dollars.
Creative alternatives or do without
This follows directly with the previous reuse and repurposes what you have. With social media, it is easy to ask for ideas for creative alternatives and ask for advice with what you currently own. I will use the example of spice mix you can purchase in-store (pre-made for you). You can buy pre-made Greek/Italian/Taco spice mix at your grocery store but you can purchase all the spices individually and make them at home. It will be more money up front but you can use those individual spices to create any mix you want and that will be cheaper as well as versatile. You could make your own bread and freeze the extra loaf for later. If you like to purchase premade meals in the frozen section of the grocery store, buy the ingredient and make it at home for cheaper. Also, anything you see at the grocery store frozen can be made at home and you can freeze it. Another idea would be to purchase second-hand or even participate in an exchange between friends or neighbourhood. Instead of buying books you can visit your local library and borrow books (hard cover or ebooks). I love to borrow ebooks (from my couch no less) and can read from iPad or even my smartphone. They really upped their game with apps that you can even borrow magazine from your library from your phone in electronic copy.
Invest in a few durable things
There are a few things I really wanted in my kitchen and one of those things was a Kitchenaid stand mixer. If you know what they are, you know they are an expensive small kitchen appliance but the reviews are great on quality, value for money, durability and versatility (they now sell a lot of extensions to replace other small kitchen appliances, e.g. spiralizer, grounder, food processor, etc.). Since we love to bake and cook, we knew it would be worth our investment but we were waiting to have the money and for it to go on sale. This is a great example of intentional living and frugality. If you can get it second-hand from a family member or a friend, it’s even better. There are a few big sales throughout the year when big items are on crazy sale (30-60% off). Make sure to watch for those.
Cash back and discounts
If you do not use this cash back program yet, please join using this link and get $5 with your first purchase using the program. The program I have been using for years now for online purchases is Ebates by Rakuten. You probably wonder how it works but I promise it is very easy to use. When you shop online, you go through Ebates to find the store you want to shop at and click on their link. This will give you the details of the percentage of cash back available at the time and what is applicable towards cash back. You shop as you normally would on the store’s website but you will receive a notification of your cash back a few days later. An app is also available if you shop from your phone a lot and also you can add it to your Chrome browser to get alerts when you are on a site with cash back (beware that not all are included so go through Ebates web page, it’s safer). When I use it, I like to check a few days later that my shopping trip was recorded and the cash back applied. They are really nice whenever something is missed and are so helpful. Another one I have been testing is Honey. You add this program to your browser and while you shop it will show you coupons or discount codes available for that merchant.
My final advice would be to not sweat the small stuff since nobody is perfect. We will make bad decisions and will buy unsustainably and unethically from time to time. It does happen because not everything is sustainable or can be found ethically sourced but don’t stop trying. It’s the little changes you can make now that will have the biggest impact long term. I hope this inspires you to live with intention but also frugally. I find frugality freeing because as you save your money it gives you more where it really matters for you. It also allows you more freedom to do things you love, encourage companies that matter to you and help people. It gives you options and flexibility to deal with what ever life throws at you. I hope to see you back on the blog soon and come visit me on my social media. I wish you a fabulous day!