Moving homes is one of those experiences that can be truly transformative. It’s out with the old, in with the new, and if you had been hoping to make any other changes in your life, the move is the perfect excuse to bundle them all together and start a fresh page, in a different environment, with different surroundings lending themselves to different patterns of thought and behaviour.
Maybe you have some old habits you’d like to dispose of, or maybe your move coincides with a shift in the direction of your career. Maybe the thing you most want to change is your relationship to your finances, and all of those nights spent analysing property search engine sites, and agreeing a price on a more modest home, have presented you with the perfect opportunity for adopting a more frugal life.
Whatever the case may be, here are some suggestions for beginning a more frugal lifestyle in your new home.
Simplify your entertainment options
Out of all the things that people routinely spend money on, forms of entertainment are perhaps the first which should come under scrutiny.
By all means, entertainment is very important in life, and living a life of nonstop work with no intervening periods of relaxation and fun is certainly a recipe for misery. But have you considered that out of all your spending, it might be that your entertainment expenses account for a disproportionate share?
Perhaps you visit the cinema on a weekly basis, have a Netflix subscription, routinely buy DVDs, and frequently spend money on further expanding your home cinema complex.
Perhaps, as a way of enjoying the weekends, you frequently dine out at restaurants, or order takeaway, or perhaps meet up with your friends in expensive bars and spend a staggering amount on your cocktails while you’re there?
The simple truth of the matter is that there are in fact relatively cheap ways of having a good time, and that you’d probably enjoy the more illustrious forms of entertainment if you made them an occasional treat rather than a regular occurrence.
This doesn’t have to imply boredom or sadness. People in the past got tremendous entertainment out of reading books, going on walks, or playing games with friends and family.
You, too, can enrich your library at a modest cost — or even download eBooks from Project Gutenberg for free. You can invite your friends over for a barbecue and ask them to each bring one dish, or you could arrange to meet up with them for a picnic in a park while the weather’s good. You could have a weekly family game night rather than a weekly family cinema trip, and could save the films for occasional family outings.
Spend more time outside the home
While attempting to live a frugal life, you might well feel yourself caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you know that if you always stay home when you’ve got some free time you are liable to either become bored with nothing much to do, or to feel compelled to spend some money to keep yourself entertained.
On the other hand, you know that if you go out frequently, you’ll be tempted to spend money on everything from food and drinks, to admission fees to different exhibits, galleries, clubs, and other assorted attractions.
Despite the fears of temptation-to-spend, however, there are actually some good reasons to get out of the house as much as possible when living a frugal lifestyle.
For starters, being outdoors, in the world, surrounded by people, is infinitely more engaging and uplifting than sitting at home day after day.
For another thing, there are actually a surprising number of ways to enjoy the great outdoors while spending either very little money, or none at all. Depending on where you live, you may well have free art galleries and museums in your vicinity. You will likely also have parks where you can go for picnics, or even just to read in the open air. You can visit your local library, or you can simply go for a walk and take in the scenery.
There’s a big world out there, and you might be surprised to realise just how much you can see and do without spending excessively. Also, bear in mind that going outside on a regular basis is one of the best ways of ensuring that your mood stays well-regulated.
Your new home may well be your castle, but adventure lies on the horizon, not behind the drawbridge.
Adopt a minimalist approach to your belongings
Minimalism has become a popular movement in recent years, and, although it is occasionally taken to unhealthy extremes, there are nonetheless good reasons to introducing a more minimalistic ethos to your belongings once you’re ensconced in your new home.
As a matter of fact, the period leading up to, and including, the move itself are great opportunities to begin practising minimalism, as you’ll already need to go through your various belongings and perform at least a rudimentary audit of them.
The basic principle of minimalism is to, in every instance, try and make do with the least number of belongings necessary. There are a few caveats to this; firstly, you should hold on to those belongings which are genuinely useful to you and whose function can’t easily be replaced by other belongings. Secondly, you should hold onto those belongings which you have a strong, positive emotional attachment to.
To the greatest extent possible, you should aim to enter your new house with significantly fewer possessions than you had in your old one. You should also be sure to apply a minimalist lens to any future purchases once you have settled into your new home.
Minimalism is a great way of preventing wasteful and excessive spending, while also ensuring that the purchases you do make are high-quality and likely to yield sufficient reward for the investment.
Minimalism is also, however, a great way of helping you win back control over your home and vanquish some of the stress and anxiety which inevitably accompanies a move.