Frugal habits are not only good for you but they are a sensible way of dealing with economic hard times. In times when your future financial security is unclear, it is wise not to go mad on spending. But how does being frugal impact on your quality of life? The answer is that it can actually improve it. Learning to spend less requires a slight change of mindset, but once achieved you can be sure that you will feel far more contented and fulfilled.
Surviving on less does not necessarily mean living less well. Take food shopping for example. If you are used to spending large sums on great food like salmon, lobster and the best cuts of meat, start thinking about the alternatives. You can make great dishes using basic igredients like pulse foods and pasta. Instead of thinking meat, think stew and then use all the normal ingredients, peas, carrots, onions, etc but instead of making meat the main ingredient, add something like beans or rice. The price savings are huge. Better still, if you have access to a plot or garden, start growing your own vegetables.
Another big bad spending habit is eating out. Clearly fewer people have been dining out since the recession hit, but this does not need to interfere with having a good time. You can make eating in fun by inviting friends round and creating simple atmospheric effects in your own front room using candles or coloured lights. Make your own music by learning an instrument. In the old days, families used to sing together round the piano. Perhaps we could see this fun habit revived.
Transport is another area where savings can be made. Getting the bus instead of driving everywhere is not the hard work most people think it is. Selling the car and jumping on the bus can actually make you fitter, give you a better insight into what´s going on in your neighbourhood and improve your social life as you meet new people at the bus stop. It´s also good for the environment.
Don´t automatically rush out to buy the latest technology. Did you really need that new HD TV? The old one did just the same job and very often it´s the strength of the signal which influences the quality of your picture, nothing else, so try realigning your antenna. If you have a phone that does everything you need it to do, do you really need to spend money on the latest internet compatible number that does a million things you will never use? Sure, the loss of your business might affect tech share prices, but what´s that compared to your own financial wellbeing?
We have got into the habit of buying too many clothes and too much in the way of cosmetics and lotions. Fashion fads come and go and if you try and keep up with all of them you will always be out of pocket and in debt. Instead, develop your own fashion style that is not dictated to by national labels and make your clothes last longer. Buy cheap by buying Chinese goods and then use your own creativity to design something original. Better still, start making your own clothes!
The mindset of frugality is being independent and listening to your needs rather than to your greed. Do not be swayed by glossy ads and catchy TV commercials. You are your own person. Make your money last longer as you never know how much you will need when you´re old and grey.