Guest Blog Post:
At The Frugal Family our motto is Spend Less, Use Less, Do More – so we’ve come up with 5 Tips For Conscious Living in 2018 which we think will be helpful when you’re thinking about what you want to do with your time…and help you make 2018 a fantastic fun, yet frugal year.
One of our aims at the Frugal family is to help people become more conscious of how they are living, and to get really happy with what they’re doing.
Plan to do more in 2018 by spending less & using Less
Conscious Living Tip 1. Recycling more
Go back to basics with the 3 R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This has informed our shopping habits, trying to buy less food wrapped in plastic for example, as well as making us more creative to reuse things before they are recycled. It’s also worth checking what you can recycle as this can sometimes change, and making sure you make a monthly (or more) visit to the local recycling centre to take items that you can’t put in the council collection. Getting into this habit means it becomes an easy and smaller task – were amazed what we could recycle at the tip, much more than we thought! USE LESS.
Conscious Living Tip 2. Buying less
This needs a pen and paper, or something to make a list – also make a cup of tea… then think about what you are likely to need in an average year, for example clothes & shoes, toiletries, birthday presents, other annual events you celebrate/buy for, school uniform, regular treats, cinema trips EVERYTHING! I find it easier to print a year planner off and go through month by month to remind myself what I’m expecting (or would like) to happen…
Go through the list and think about what you just don’t need to do – it could be you agree not to buy Easter Eggs for adults this year, or set a budget for birthdays with family. Cut down on buying the kids a magazine from every week to every month… that sort of thing.
With what’s left on the list spend a bit of time at the start of the year finding out what is available locally in terms of second hand shops/events, swapping parties, local free-recycle groups etc. See what you can source from here – clothes might be a good one, and toys. Also the library for books etc. You should also find some discount sites like TopCashBack where you get some money back on certain online purchases.
Then write a ‘wish list’ and make sure when people ask you what you would like for a treat, your birthday or similar you can now tell them. We haven’t bought toiletries for many years as we get them at Christmas and Easter. SPEND LESS.
Once you have reduced your spending, you can decide what to do with the money!!
Conscious Living Tip 3. Plan better
This sounds a bit flippant, but planning really is the key to frugal living. It’s often the unexpected that ends up costing lots of money, and stress. You can’t plan for everything in life, and nor would you want to, but if we can make sure the mundane stuff is all booked in, the rest of the time is free to play and have fun.
Planning also includes a budget… sorry but it does! Get an idea of what you need for each week or month, what’s coming in and what’s going out. Factor in annual as well as monthly bills and start on the road to reducing them as they arise.
Make sure you have a family calendar in some form, so you can also book in free time and family time. You can check out the website for loads of ideas for free and frugal fun, and help in the school holidays which no longer need to be your financial nemesis… DO MORE.
Conscious Living Tip 4. Look for ethical options
If you are looking to live an ethically frugal life, then you also need to consider what you buy, from whom and where from. You might try to buy more from local producers and shops, or from the wonderful selection here on the Ethical Brand Directory – make sure you check in for discount codes! At The Frugal Family we like to advocate for things that help you save money and save the World, for example we don’t use pump hand soaps – but solid soap bars which last longer, cost less and don’t use plastic – Check out The Soap Fairy for beautiful, and ethical ideas. USE LESS.
Conscious Living Tip 5. Getting kids on board
As a family we know how important it is that kids understand what we are doing and why – we have special jobs for each of our four children so that they can help us to save money and be environmentally aware, for example one of them is in charge of making sure all the lights are turned off upstairs in the morning. It will be their world, and their children’s so they are the best people to educate and inspire to care for it. Encourage them to reuse the ‘other’ side of paper before they recycle it, just small steps to help them join in. They can also help with the planning, and saving, for family trips, days out and treats. Our kids have pocket money so they learn about what things cost and how to save up, and then the joy of choosing what to spend it on. At a very young age they are able to see that they can have that ice cream or the keyring in the shop, and they can make a choice.
It’s also great to get the kids making and repurposing things to use for gifts:
• Wrapping Paper
• Potting up seeds, plants
• Decorating pots, picture frames, notebooks
• Learning a skill like knitting or papier mache.
Hoping you’ve enjoyed our 5 tips for conscious living and have had a really wonderful, fun, loving and frugal New Year.
Best wishes for 2018.
Ethical Brand Directory Guest Blogger
Creator of Frugal Family Website
Claire creates a place for families to find ethically frugal ideas and inspiration. Find out more: https://www.thefrugalfamily.co.uk