Frugality is often confused with being poor or cheap and spending only the minimum. Frugal living isn’t about sacrificing and feeling deprived. Being frugal is learning to live smarter so that you can afford to live the life you want. It’s about being thrifty with not just your money, but your food and time as well. Frugal people tend to be less wasteful and get the most out of their money.
I began my frugal journey ten months ago, and I am still learning new ways to live more frugally. This year we cut our cable bill completely, started packing our lunches, and even lowered our car insurance premiums. We sold some of the possessions we didn’t want or need anymore, and I started to find creative ways for us to save money on our everyday purchases. Frugal habits never came naturally to me, I was always careless about spending money. Now, I question every dollar and even stopped buying certain items.
If you are still on the fence about frugality, or you want to know more about frugal living, let me show you what it actually means to be frugal.
Being smart with your money.
Frugal people are smart with their money. They build budgets and track their expenses. If you know how much is in your bank account, and how much you need to cover your expenses, it’s easier to make better financial decisions. Frugal people stick to a budget. They know what they can afford, and what they simply have to do without. Frugal people take charge of their finances by knowing where they stand on debt repayment, savings, and investments.
Spending your money smarter.
Frugal people stretch their money as far as it will go. They learn sales cycles, and know when to get the best deal on everything they buy. They search clearance racks, thrift stores, and yard sales to find deals on clothes and other items. Frugal people use coupons and rebates and combine them with sales to get the best price on groceries. When there is a great deal, they stockpile items until they go on sale again.
Frugal people also know when NOT to shop. If a purchase doesn’t fit into their budget, they wait for a sale or a better deal. Frugal shoppers are in complete control of their spending.
Frugal people live by the saying make do, use it up, or do without. Frugal living is learning how to get the most use out of an item. Sometimes frugal living involves getting creative and using what you already have. When we moved into our first apartment together, we didn’t have a coffee table or anything to put the TV on. We didn’t immediately rush out to buy those things. We waited till we had enough money. In the meantime, we used an end table to hold the TV and a cooler as a coffee table. Frugal people recognize opportunities and turn them into savings.
Why should you live frugally?
Frugal living opens a door of possibilities. Frugal living can help you become debt free, save for your children’s college fund, or even retire early. It means figuring out what you want out of life and making it happen. Our frugal life has allowed us to travel more and build our savings account. We are able to live a more meaningful life and don’t feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses.
While some are living frugally out of necessity, a vast majority of people are doing so by choice. One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Titus, lives with her two kids on just 18k a year! If you are thinking about embarking on your frugal living journey, let me start by saying keep at it. Frugal living is hard, and it goes against everything society preaches. The dedication is worth it for the payoff, trust me.