Translated as ‘just the right amount’, lagom is thought to relate to being frugal, fair and creating balance.
While 2017 was the year of hygge, lighting a scented candle and curling up with hot chocolate and layers upon layers of blankets and knitwear, lagom is a way of living. While hygge captures a moment in time, lagom is an overarching concept behind the way we live our lives in general.
At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions to save more money, be less stressed when it comes to our jobs and indulge more in our passions and hobbies. This thinking is the foundation of living a lagom lifestyle.
We can find lagom in different ways, from consciously reducing our environmental impact on the world by recycling or reducing our energy consumption at home, to buying sustainable clothing; from being more mindful of your surroundings, to keeping a closer eye on your finances.
Here we’ve explored some ways to help you live a more frugal life in 2017.
Set a budget
It’s all good and well saying that you’re going to save more and spend less but without a strategy you’re destined to fail. Spend an afternoon reviewing your spending habits, understand where you can cut back, and set yourself an achievable budget for each week. Preparation is critical to achieving a more frugal lifestyle.
Do a weekly shop
Writing a list and doing a weekly shop is a great way of saving money. Plan meals that use similar ingredients so that you’re not wasting anything and try not to deviate from the plan when you’re in the supermarket. Make sure you do your weekly shop when you’re not hungry otherwise a few extra snacks may sneak into the basket.
Create a quality capsule wardrobe
Throwaway fashion isn’t only extremely unsustainable but it’s also terrible for your bank balance. Spend an afternoon reviewing your wardrobe, get rid of what you don’t wear by giving it to charity, and build a quality capsule wardrobe over time. Spend money on good quality fashion (think 30 wears minimum) and try and purchase items that have been sustainably made where possible.
Take lunch to work
I reviewed my spending habits at the beginning of this year and worked out that I must have spent between £1,500 and £2,000 last year on lunch alone. Buying food out every day is expensive, not to mention bad for your waistline and overall health. Even those ‘healthy’ salads are full of other ingredients like preservatives, sugar and salt.
Eat out less
Being frugal isn’t about not enjoying your life, but it is about enjoying things in moderation. Try and reduce the number of times you eat out in restaurants. As a treat dine out once a month. Not only will you put less strain on your bank balance, but you’ll also enjoy the meals you eat out even more.
Use a 30-day list for non-essential purchases
This is a great tip and one that I’ve started to put into action in 2017. If you want something be it a new top, a cookbook you’ve had your eye on, or expensive moisturiser, put it on a list with the date next to it and don’t buy it until at least 30 days have elapsed. If you still want it at the time you can make the purchase. The chances are you’ll decide that you don’t need it.
Walk (or cycle) whenever you can. It will save money on fuel and public transport. It’s also a great way to burn off a few extra calories, breathe some clean air and see your surroundings.
Focus on your health
Rather than heading to the pub, go for a run instead. If you think about your health before your desire to have a drink or grab a pizza on a Friday night you’ll likely save money in the process. What’s more, when you’re healthy you’re in a better position to make positive choices.
Water is better for you and cheaper than nasty soft drinks and alcohol. Keep hydrated, feel better and watch the pennies add up in your savings account.
We all need to spend money on energy bills, but there’s a lot you can do to reduce the amount you use and therefore spend each month. From turning off lights to switching appliances off standby, every little helps.