One of the most common misconceptions I have heard is that you need to make a lot of money to save more; this is entirely false! You can earn so much and save so little if you do not adopt a frugal lifestyle. Frugality can easily be misconstrued as being cheap, whereas, in the real sense, having frugal habits is more about spending less money on things that are not your priority.
Being frugal has helped me be intentional with my spending and prioritize the things that matter to me. Here are six frugal habits that I have developed over time, and I am not ashamed of!
One thing common to a typical Nigerian home is that we love to use and reuse plastic bags. We often have it stored in one corner behind the pantry door or on the kitchen shelf.
One frugal habit I am not ashamed of is collecting and reusing items like plastic bags, glass bottles, Ziploc bags. Do not just collect like 200 plastic bags that you do not need.
If I have previously used a Ziploc bag for dry foods, I simply wash it out, let it dry and reuse it. I own this habit without shame.
Repairing clothes instead of discarding them
A sewing machine is a purchase that would help you save money. I have one that comes in handy from time to time. If a button comes off my blouse, I simply get a needle and thread and fix it back on, and if there is a tear on a dress that I love, I would sit at my sewing machine and repair it.
If my blouse gets torn, I stitch it up. I would not discard a nice dress I love just because it got slightly ripped off. That is not frugal!
Repairing your torn clothes instead of discarding them is a way of helping the environment because discarded clothes take time to biodegrade and are not great for the environment. Stitching and repairing my clothes until I do not have to wear them anymore is a frugal habit I am not ashamed of.
Not only do I reuse things like plastic and Ziploc bags, but I also re-purpose things. My current makeup brush holder is a scented candle bowl that was re-purposed by removing the wick stand inside it, cleaning it, and covering it with gold leaf. You can always watch DIY videos on Youtube to guide you.
Use the last drop
Using things like bath soaps, toothpaste, creams, dish soaps till they finish is another frugal habit that I am not ashamed of. When my liquid soap is about to finish, I pour water into the bottle and use it to wash a set of plates. I also ensure to squeeze out the last of my toothpaste until nothing is left.
Wastage is not a frugal habit. When I give my children food, I do not start them out with a large portion of the plate, I start them up with a small plate, and they can always ask for more after they finish that; this is another way of teaching them how to cultivate a frugal lifestyle.
Some people believe that thrift shopping is reserved for poor people, while some find it degrading. None of these ideologies are true! Visiting charity shops and shopping for fairly used items are frugal habits and a good way to save money.
I often go to charity shops to look for nice things. I buy many books from charity shops because I am a bibliophile who cannot always afford to go for new ones.
If I need to read a novel, I go to the charity shop to see what they have. I once bought the whole set of game thrones for about 10p at a charity shop.
Another thing I buy from a charity shop is art pieces. Also, if you visit charity shops in affluent neighborhoods, you would get nice clothing and accessories there. You can also find nice toys for children in charity shops.
Thrift shopping not only gets you more items for less; you also get a feeling of satisfaction from doing something nice because the money you spend at the charity shop is used to cater to the less privileged.
Elongating the use of items
I elongate the lifespan of things that I buy. When I purchase my white towels, for instance, and use them for a long period, they soon start to lose their white spark.
The usual urge would be to throw them away but what I do is get some cloth dye and get to work. I either dye the towels into a new color entirely or turn them into bathmats. After a few months of using them as bathmats, they can go into the bin.
These frugal habits have helped me save money and cut down on unnecessary spending. Frugality is about adopting the right money habits, getting used to them, and being unapologetic about your choices.
Till next time.