Trying to live a more sustainable and frugal life is more than spending your money the best way possible and knowing how to manage your money. It’s about changing your mindset and creating frugal habits. It’s for example nice if you replace all your lights with LED lights that have a lower energy consumption, but it doesn’t really help if you then always leave your lights on and don’t really adopt the habit of switching off your lights when you leave the room. Or if you go to the store it’s nice if you look at the price of the things you buy, and try to spend your money in a smart way, but it’s even better to wonder whether you really need the thing you want to buy, whether it’s an addition to your household, or whether it just will gather dust in the closet. So, trying to live more frugal is about changing your habits and mindset.
I sometimes have the feeling that for example having things with a low energy consumption such as LED lights are being used as an excuse to excessive waste “I have LED lights so now it’s okay if I leave my lights on all the time …” It’s the same as eating healthy. A common thought is that if you have eaten a piece of fruit you can eat something unhealthy as if the piece of fruit abolishes the unhealthy thing. Even I sometimes fall into that trap. Therefore I think that it would be a nice exercise to get to know your own habits, the frugal ones and the non-frugal ones and try to create a frugal mindset.
So the last couple of weeks I tried to discover what my habits are, in order to try and replace the less frugal habits into more frugal ones. I noticed that some of my habits are already quite thrifty and frugal, but others can be improved …
First of all I want to start with my good/frugal habits. Some of these habits I learned when I was a child, others I developed when getting older, and some habits can be more defined as healthy or even lazy habits, but at the same time they are frugal.
- Turning off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turning off the heating at night and when you leave the house.
- Sorting waste.
- Taking the staircase instead of the lift. This is more a healthy habit. I tend to take the staircase to have some exercise and walk a bit. They say you should walk 10000 steps a day.
- If possible, walk instead of taking the car for short distances.
- Only Iron the things that really need to be ironed such as shirts and jumpers. I for example almost never iron T-shirts. I dry these on clothes hangers so they don’t need ironing. It’s a (little) lazy yet frugal habit (I really don’t like ironing).
- Cleaning with a mix of vinegar and water instead of with commercial cleaning products (see the power of vinegar and soda crystals).
- Freezing left over food or trying to do something with leftovers.
Then there are some habits that I have from time to time. So they are not yet really habits, but I’m doing my best to make them into habits.
- As mentioned in my blog post where to start I’m trying to keep track of my spending to get an exact idea where my money goes to. It’s starting to become a habit to write all my expenses down, but I often still forget it.
- When going grocery shopping I’m trying to stick to my list, never go while hungry (apparently people buy a lot more food when shopping hungry), try to look for things that are on discount … I don’t always succeed, but it’s becoming more and more a habit.
- When going shopping for clothes or other things I try to always ask myself whether I really need it, whether it’s worth the money … It’s starting to become a habit. I also reduced my shopping to a minimum.
Then there are some new habits that I want to adopt. There are many, but at the moment the most important one for me is that:
- I want to bike more… I have to admit that I hate biking. I don’t mind biking in a quiet street, but I really don’t like biking to the city centre where there are busses and cars driving close to you. But maybe I don’t like it because I rarely bike … So, last month, I went back to my parents house to get my old bike from when I was younger. At the moment I’m repairing that bike and I have the intention to bike more (to go to the store, to the city … ). It’s not only healthy, but it also saves you money on gas, and it’s better for the environment …
These were some examples of my frugal habits or habits I want to adopt. What are your thrifty/frugal habits? Or do you have some habits that you want to change or adopt?