Being frugal is not about being a “cheapskate,” nor is it about deprivation; rather, being frugal is about good money management. It is about learning to make effective financial choices in order to live within your means, as opposed to living beyond your means. When a recession threatens financial security, being frugal means being smart.
Adopting frugal spending habits today could allow you to have more options in your future, such as earlier retirement, more traveling or finally fulfilling dreams you’d relegated to the back burner when you were busy raising a family or carving out a career.
Three major categories where adopting frugal habits is worthwhile:
Adopt a spending plan and live within its limits. Establish a budget for each category of expense; savings, food, clothing, shelter, transportation and entertainment. Decide what amount is reasonable to spend for each category in correlation with your income. Ensure to make savings your top priority.
Differentiate between needs and wants. You need a home that will accommodate your family comfortably, but it might not have to be located on a plush, private golf course with three garages attached. You may want a new car every two years, but driving an older car that is fully paid for might be in your best financial interest.
Curb impulsive spending by weighing each purchase; considering the need and usability factors. Shop with a list and stick to it. Take inventory before leaving home, whether you are grocery shopping, buying new clothing and supplies or shopping for a big ticket item.
Even small savings add up over time. Take advantage of sales, discounts, coupons, in-store promotions and any other methods of buying for less. Don’t hesitate to try a new brand with a smaller price tag, or buy generic. Become a creature of habit. Some stores offer special discounts and savings to their repeat, valued customers.
Preserving what you have is perhaps the best way to spend less and save more. Taking care of your personal items means they will have a longer lifespan and you won’t be draining your bank account continually replacing items that were lost, neglected or not well-maintained. This includes routine maintenance for your car, reading and following care instruction labels on clothing, household items, tools, equipment and appliances.
Specific frugal habits to adopt:
– Curb impulsive spending; have a self-imposed waiting period before buying something that you want, as opposed to need.
– Use the public library. You will be amazed at the amount you can save..
– Take advantage of free venues. Most communities offer free activities; check out the entertainment section of your local newspaper for scheduled events in your area.
– Maintain your health. Eating properly and exercising is the antidote for high medical bills. Staying fit can literally translate to huge savings.
– Bundle errands to save on gas. Arrange a carpool for work, school and children’s extra-curricular activities. Walk, bike or take public transportation, when feasible.
– Have a garage sale to dispose of excess clutter.
– Drink water, in lieu of expensive soft drinks or Starbucks. You will enhance your health by adopting this frugal habit.
– Plan ahead. Anticipate upcoming occasions when a present might be required and buy gifts on sale, Cook more, saving on costly convenience foods. Pack a lunch, carry a water bottle, warding off hunger and thirst when out running errands, in lieu of grabbing a bite at a fast food venue.
– Spend more time at home. You don’t always have to be on the go, living at a frenetic pace. Reinforce the loving bond with your family by spending more leisure time together.
– Pamper yourself without spending a dime by indulging in activities you love, such as reading, gardening or crafting, decreasing your level of stress in the process.
Adopting frugal habits does not have to cramp your lifestyle in an uncomforable way. On the contrary, you could discover that adopting frugal habits might possibly enrich your life.