Ideas for Frugal Living - some criteria

If we're going to have ideas for frugal living, we might as well make them good ones. And, I think they need to be of our own design, or at least be something that we wholeheartedly embrace.

The reason for this is simple. If they're not of our own design or at least something that we enthusiastically endorse, then we'll likely not follow them.

So, let's explore creating some useful criteria for identifying ideas that are aligned with frugality.

This will be a sort of template that we can "hold up to the light" to see if an idea we have might be a good one.

Here are some of the characteristics that I think make for good ideas for frugal living. The more criteria that an idea meets, the better the idea will be.

  • Little or no cost - a good criterion to start out with. Frugality centers on good use of financial resources, therefore, the idea of little or no cost ranks right up with the best ideas for frugal living. Picking up usable discards from others is a good example. The items cost nothing except for the minor cost of transportation/hauling.

  • Easy to implement - another "no-brainer" for the frugal minded. There's nothing wrong with easy. Why do things the hard way when there's an easy way. Growing vegetables is easy. Some grow like weeds with little care, and they feed you. That sounds like one of the great ideas for frugal living to me.

  • Effective - all part of the cost-effectiveness consideration. Something might cost very little, but if it's ineffective, then it's not worth anything to begin with. I've purchased cheap shoes and walked right through them in no time at all. Buying a higher quality shoe costs more, but if they last a long time, they are a much more effective use of your money.

  • Makes you more self reliant and less dependent - another good criterion to consider. I raise chickens primarily for eggs and this makes me more self reliant when it comes to eggs. When I free range the birds, that's makes me even more self reliant.

  • No long term costs, hidden costs or adverse consequences - a bit tricky since this one takes a bit of thinking. Sure, the house for $5,000 on Ebay was a real "steal," but it's in a nasty neighborhood, another state, and it needs lots of repairs. It will cost you lots of money upfront to turn it around for sale or rent, and then it still won't be appealing because of it's location. Perhaps a little more investigation would have uncovered these hidden costs and consequences.

  • Conserves wealth - another winner of a criterion. Let's focus on things that conserve wealth instead of bleeding it off. Attic insulation comes to mind. If it keeps heat in the home, that keep money in my pocket.

  • Offsets or eliminates expenses - another of the more complex criteria because it could require an investment. My planning includes a homemade wind turbine to generate electricity. It will cost me a bit to get the thing built and installed, but it should offset the utility bill for many years to come.

  • Supports preparedness - a good thing. You might not use a set of tools for quite a while, but if there is an urgent need to fix something, you'll be prepared to do so with a set of common hand tools. Otherwise, you're only left with the more expensive route of hiring a contractor to fix things.

  • Provides skill, knowledge or resources - a learning experience is a good example. If you invest time to learn a new skill or have an experience that provides you with insights that are useful, then it's an investment in you and an investment in your future that can pay dividends.

  • Trades time for money or resources - a decision to make regarding whether you have more time or more money. Some of us have little of both. Do it yourself projects are a good example. I repaired a leak in a coolant reservoir on Ellen's car. It would have cost about $400 at the dealership, but instead, it cost about 4 hours of my time.

  • Multiplies your effort - a good thing in almost every case. If you get help from others or use proper tools and equipment, you can multiply your efforts very quickly and get much more accomplished. Make use of the synergistic effect when you work as a team or with equipment that matches the job at hand.

  • Gives good return on investment - another "no-brainer" among the ideas for frugal living. What we're looking for here is the difference between the cost of an item or activity and the value of that item or activity. My neighbor helped me repair my wood stove. I thanked him and told him that his help was much more than simply helping me fix something, it was helping me heat my house with scrap wood. The return on investment in that case involved staying warm in the winter, something essential, and eliminating the heating bill, my largest expense.

So, there you have a listing of what I believe to be good criteria for selecting ideas for frugal living. It goes beyond simply saving money, and looks at more detail with respect to the usefulness and value of an activity.

Create your own criteria or use something you see here to make your own template to "hold up to the light" to see if something you're considering would be one of the good ideas for frugal living.

Done with Ideas for Frugal Living, take me back to Mindset of Frugality.

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.