Hyge is a pretty frugal way of life anyway… any philosophy that places maximum emphasis on cosy, home-based, home-made and small group entertainment is not going to be one that costs masses. No expensive meals out in fancy restaurants, no need to spend on imported hothouse flowers, no big and cavernous houses. Hygge is all about the small, the intimate, the personal.
In a world where everything costs and doing nothing is seen as a wasted weekend (why?) stepping out of the current and taking a stand for frugality is a revolutionary move. And yet, given the modern world, doing just that will be the best thing we can do for the foreseeable, both for the good of our pocketbooks and our planet. Hygge is a year round feeling, and the next few months are peak summer hygge in the Northern hemisphere so here, for your delectation, delight and digestion, are a few summer frugge/frygge/frugal hygge ideas, either for free or low cost activities.
Find Things to Do Within Walking Distance:
Do you have any parks, gardens or tourist attractions within walking distance? Do you live near any museums? How far away from wilderness do you live? Whatever your situation, find something within walking distance that you may enjoy. I’m fortunate that I live within a half hour walk of four parks, one wildlife reserve and a fair selection of churchyards. Yes, walking through church yards can be a free activity, especially one that teenagers appreciate because it can be eye opening how young some of the inhabitants are. Plus churchyards often have plenty of trees and benches. Do an Afterlife and sit on a bench to see who approaches and talks. Be respectful, behave as if in a museum and respect the graves, of course.
Identify Your Personal Free or Low Cost Local Activities:
Keep a page in the planner with opening hours for heritage centres, libraries, malls, swimming pools etc. Local Authority pools may charge for swimming, but some have free passes if you’re on benefits and others offer special prices for a monthly pass.
Local newspapers and Facebook pages will be featuring low cost/free events as well, so keep an eye on them, and make a point of joining any mailing lists for local facilities as well.
Use Your Outside Space Well:
Do you have a garden? A Yard? A front step? Get it summer-ready with a good brush up and a clean. My seating area furniture is stored outside all year round, so this weekend it was a matter of unpacking it, cleaning it, getting a basket with cushions and throws out near to the back door and making sure the path to the door was clear. Now, at a moment’s notice, I can dive out after work and do anything I like outside… read, drink my tea, listen to the birdsong. It will get a lot of use.
My friend, who lives in one of the many Victorian terraced houses in Liverpool, has a back yard. It gets the sun in the evening and with a small chair and table works just as well as a big garden without needing to mow the lawn or do much more than a weekly sweep. My retirement dream is either a welsh cottage or one of these houses a short walk from the shops.
Take a Good Look at What You Already Have
We all have stuff in our homes that we could use to do things… don’t we? Or am I the only craft hoarder? No? I have a list in my planner (yes, my planner again) that I use to record the kits I’ve acquired over the years as well as the raw materials I have and the projects I intend to do with them. Between bronze/gold crochet wraps for the winter, a cross stitch with a bible quote and another hooking kit I received as a present, as well as my blue crochet blanket and some felting decorations I have in mind, I have enough to keep me busy for a while.
Go through your cupboards and see what materials you have available. Plan an evening of making, and ask a couple of friends around. A pot of tea and a packet of biscuits, and the evening will fly by.
Bring Your Social Life Home
After Lockdown we were encouraged to go a little mad on eating out. And, as long as you have disposable income, go for it. Restaurants and bars need support. But if your budget is tightening up, then bring your entertainment home. Have a barbecue, hold dinner parties, invite your friends over for Prees (my daughter introduced me to those: it means have a few drinks at home where your alcohol can be much cheaper before hitting the clubs to dance and drink tap water all night. Invaluable student budgeting advce, eh?)
Meeting up in small groups at home is absolute hygge heaven, and of course lends itself to parents who can’t afford to pay for childcare but can bring the kids with them for a long, slow, Sunday brunch. Keep food simple, or share the effort and cost by asking everyone to bring something. And, if you are in the fortunate position of still having cash to spend, it can be an embarrassment-free way of making sure that someone you love who isn’t flush with money gets a decent meal now and then. I could not have raised three children without the weekly (sometimes twice-weekly) meals put on by my mother, both in terms of giving me a day off from cooking and letting us have roast dinners or ‘posh’ food in a three-course family dinner. I am pretty sure if Cost of Living continues to soar, we’ll see more money-saving, frugal and budget-friendly ideas promoted everywhere.
Downscale Your Luxuries and Approach Each One with Gratitude
When money is flush, it’s easy to get used to sliding a bottle of wine into every shop. It’s easy to pick up a big bag of crisps/chips to enjoy every evening, or it’s easy to automatically buy an ice cream for the kids every day after school. We spend what we have, often, and upscale luxuries when we have disposable income.
Budgeting and frugal hygge both involve downscaling our idea of luxuries. Do we need the brightest and best all the time, or can we do without the extras that we soon learn to ignore when they cease to be a treat and become a regular. Hygge is about always appreciating the extras, about seeing them as something to be anticipated and enjoyed to the max.
It’s about being mindful in how or when we enjoy the best things in life, about appreciating what we have and making the most of even the little things. An ice cream bought once or twice a season at the park should be an experience, appreciated and valued. Visiting a coffee shop becomes a ritual, a sacred moment of peace, if we put the right spin on it. And sitting in a beer garden in the last rays of a hot summer day sipping gin and tonic means so much more when it may be the only time that year you have that treat.
Create Lookalikes That Work For You
Replace the experiences bought outside with home made. Buy plain ice cream and make your own knickerbocker glories. Have a pot of tea with posh china and homemade afternoon tea sandwiches. Get out your Grandmother’s fine china, or the crystal wedding gifts you have stored away. Have ice cubes or frozen berries to act as ice cubes in gin that you serve in charity shop globes. Be creative, appreciate elevating life to an experience and be thankful for what you have, not what you haven’t.
There is more, so much more, that I could write about frugge/frygge/frugal hygge, but time has run away with me. I’ll be back. Hygge is made for times when we have nothing: that’s part of the point. When the little things are what makes you happy, then excess, over-consumption, bragging about resources becomes distasteful. Identify what you like to do, and enjoy that. As long as the basics of living (food, rent, transport) are covered, humans can hygge. And we can hygge together.
And now for a word from our sponsors….
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better. Lent is a season of rituals and resets. The book has small and easy ways to make your life flow with grace and happiness, which lead to more hygge.
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human. And it’s always the little things.
Planning ahead, early, is How to Hygge Your Summer. It has ideas for taking your hygge with you out of winter and to any place you go in the summer… the beach, the park, your holidays. Hygge is an all-year feeling, so start preparing and let’s hygge the heck out of summer this year!
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well.
The regular photo I’m currently using between text and my book promotions is a photo by Pascal Debrunner on Unsplash. It’s sunflowers, in honour of Ukraine, since war is crazy and horrible and about as uhygge as you can get. If you’d like to donate to help the refugees fleeing, please give to the emergency appeal in your country. In the UK I’m giving to the DEC Ukrainian appeal. And my header is a photo by Lindsay Moe on Unsplash. I chose it because the cherry popsicles, ice lollies, looked so delicious. In my Young Mother years I tried making my own lollies to keep the kids happy, and it was fun. I know I have a recipe somewhere for a gin and tonic ice lolly which may well make an appearance again this year….