How to Live Frugally
Living Frugally is Easy with the Right Attitude
Learning how to live frugally can be easy when you start with the right frame of mind and support from the people around you. Living a frugal lifestyle can be looked upon as a game rather than focusing on the sacrifices that are made in the name of savings. Put on a competitive attitude and rack up points by getting good deals and watching your debt drop or your savings increase.
It can be fun to discover the best ways to save money. I remember how my mother-in-law loved to make us guess how much she saved on various items of clothing, gifts, housewares, toys and other purchases. She would show us something brand new that she had bought at a thrift store or garage sale, often with the original price tag left on. Her cost was always far less than we could possibly imagine, even though we were pretty good at getting deals ourselves. She was the ultimate thrifty shopper.
My point is that if you can foster an attitude among friends and family that “saving money is awesome,” you will be able to spend much less money than if you are always trying to keep up with the Joneses. A frugal person truly understands importance of saving money.
Frugal Millionaire Example
It is sometimes difficult to judge a person’s wealth by the lifestyle they maintain. You may never know that there is a frugal millionaire next door.
There is a classic book that I have enjoyed by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko called The Millionaire Next Door. In it, the authors describe how difficult it is to recognize a millionaire from the way they live. Instead of owning big houses and driving fancy cars, many millionaires know how to be frugal and are content with a thrifty standard of living. On the other hand, those neighbors that we often find ourselves trying to keep up with are actually only a paycheck away from disaster because they are living far beyond their means.
Living within your means is a starting point for learning how to live frugally. To live with your means, of course, you must spend less than you earn. To control your spending, use personal budget planning to keep your expenses on target. Before you buy something, always be clear in your mind whether the purchase is a need vs. want.
Living a Frugal Lifestyle All the Time
Many people are good at getting the best deal possible on a large purchase such as a car or home. They spend a lot of time researching and comparing alternatives and negotiating the best price. Other folks are good at keeping the small daily expenses as low as possible. To have a truly frugal lifestyle, it is important to pay attention to both the large and small purchases, with the goal of always paying the least. Let this mindset always be your guide.
Although it is important to keep the “living frugally” mentality going all the time, why not pick a particular time of year to emphasize it? Many years we have declared the entire month of February as “Frugal February” and tried to keep our expenses even lower than normal. This is easy for us since there is less opportunity for spending in the shorter month. We typically try not to buy many groceries, but instead eat food we have stored in our pantry and freezer. As an added bonus, the cleared out freezer makes it easier to defrost!
Learning how to live frugally is not very difficult if you put your mind to it. Enjoy the challenge of finding the best deals and saving money every day.
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