Frugal Living – Is It Right For You?
Most peoples opinions about about “simple frugal living” tend to fall into two extremes. It’s seen to be painful to some and savvy to others.
Who’s right, why the discord and is there somewhere in between that’s perfect for you?
Personally, I believe there is a sweet spot where you can find financial peace and clarity.
Frugality gets a bad rap and is the butt of many jokes. People are often labeled cheapskates and other derogatory terms and portrayed as the opposite of attractive, smart and successful.
At the other end of the scale, the advertising world promotes indulging in over consumption to those who want to be seen as having it all. Social media plays a role too, with Instagram influencers championing materialism as the key to happiness and a wonderful life.
It’s well recognized that money doesn’t buy happiness and neither does being poor. Even with this knowledge, it doesn’t stop most people wanting more. There’s always something on the Wish List and once acquired, happiness will follow. However, it doesn’t last because there is always something new to add to that list!
Definition of Frugal Living
Frugal living needs to have a new definition that’s positive vs negative!
To me, it means understanding and focusing on what’s important and aligning all monetary decisions with this.
- You work hard to earn your money
- Own enough stuff already
- Know that the purchasing ‘high’ lasts about a day, on average
- Want financial independence and security
Every business needs customers to purchase their products to generate profits and keep them in business. Making purchases puts millions of people to work every day. That’s how the economy works and there’s nothing wrong with that, or spending money.
To stay in business and increase annual revenues, companies need to provide solutions to perceived problems. They often do this by:
- Highlighting problems you may not be aware you had
- Pointing out where you are lacking in life
- Convincing you that you need what they’re selling, to feel better about yourself
- Using influencers to show you what you are missing
These companies are clever, their marketing and advertising speaks to your insecurities and reassures you they have the solution to your happiness, fulfillment or productivity. When it comes to:
- Weight loss
- Beauty and Fashion
- Making Money
- and many more!
It’s their goal to get you to spend not save! That’s great for them short term and bad for your long term finances!
To maximize your savings and simplify your life, adopt these four tips:
Tip #1 – Adopt A New Rule
In the past I’ve been guilty of making purchases with little, to no, thought. I let myself be suckered by some hype or trend. These days, I’ve adopted a new rule. If, I find myself considering another purchase, I ask myself:
— Am I being sucked in because they’re pointing out that there is something inferior about me, or my situation, making me feel “less than ok”, until I buy their solution, and then I’ll be “more than ok” Since the answer is usually yes, I WALK AWAY! —
This has saved a lot of money and time, because just about every non-essential item falls into this category!
For major purchases, a rule worth adopting (eg. large kitchen appliances, TV, car) is “quizzing yourself into buying wisely”. To do this, use these questions and give a YES or NO answer for each one:
- Do you really need this item?
- Is the price reasonable, for what it is?
- Is this the best time of year to buy this item?
- Are you sure a less expensive item isn’t a good alternative?
- Are you sure there are no major disadvantages?
- If it costs a significant amount, will it truly satisfy your “need”?
- Have you fully researched this item?
- Is the retailer reputable?
- Does the retailer offer any special incentives to purchase?
- Have you slept on it, and still feel comfortable you won’t have buyers remorse?
Score your answers:
- 9 – 10 Yes answers – buy the product
- 6 – 8 Yes answers – think again
- 5 – 0 Yes answers – forget it
- If you give any “don’t know” answers, count these as a NO!
Tip #2 – Don’t Put Temptation In Your Way
Stop visiting stores just to browse, that’s how stores get you to buy, every time. There’s always something that will call you, and end up coming home with you.
If you stop tempting yourself, you’ll start to feel great as you watch your bank balance grow, by default. It represents your commitment to personal growth and confidence in curtailing mindless spending. Many people have wasted $10,000 over a lifetime with “it only costs $5-10” spend mentality, it all adds up!
If you are considering putting temptation in your way, with a quick trip to Target, for example. Check out how I get to enjoy Target fix without enduring the traffic or crowds and without spending a dime!
If you do go to shopping, carry a copy of my free printable Daily Spend Tracker and log everything you spend. I’ve discovered it actually acts as a good deterrent to prevent mindless spending.
Tip #3 – Shop From Yourself First
Before you spend any more money on shoes, stationery, makeup, clothes….you know your biggest weakness areas, do a stock check.
Being an ex makeup, shoe, stationery and luxury purse junkie – I took inventory of it all and was horrified at the piles of stuff I’d acquired. No need to buy another lipstick that’s almost identical to the dozens already at home, for example!
Tip #4 – Invest In Your Free Time
You’ll be surprised how much time is freed up when you stop stalking social media, online shopping, spending time at the mall and all those other places that cost money.
These hours are now available to you, to start (or finish) that book or project, take a yoga class, earn more money or start whatever it is, that’s been on your “To Do” list for a while. You’ve just created that time to invest in yourself, go for it!
Practicing what I preach; I’m using some of the time freed up to write this post and work on my blog and it’s great! Blogging is something that interests me, as much as being savvy with money. It’s also a great way to hold myself accountable and put my finance knowledge and background to good use!
Full disclosure; prior to this, I started a style blog, which seemed a logical choice for a fashion lover. At first, it was a great way for me, and my photography loving husband, to combine our interests. However, fashion blogs require interesting fashion and style ideas, which inevitably leads to buying more stuff!
Also, to succeed with this blog, I’d be actively encouraging others to spend money acquiring more things too!
But, something good comes of everything and this experience helped me get clear about what I do want to focus on for myself and share with others.
“Rich people stay that way by living like they’re broke. Broke people stay broke by living like they’re rich.”
Leave me a comment below; share your thoughts on frugal living and what matters to you.