Are you looking to save money? It is true, many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and this makes it difficult to save.
According to deb.org consumer debt was approaching $14-trillion after the second quarter of 2019.
However, if you are in debt or trying to save, you can change your personal financial situation by living frugally.
Unfortunately, many have a negative association with the word frugal. Often people think of frugal as being cheap and confining. Yet, being frugal can literally change your life.
If you are able to cut back – on some things – you can build wealth and as time passes you will live your dream life. This all can be possible by learning to cut back now. By living below your means, you can build savings and have a cushion so one emergency doesn’t send you over the edge.
Did you know one of the qualities of millionaires is being frugal? After Thomas J Stanley, Ph.D. and Sarah Stanley Fallow, Ph.D. interviewed over 600 millionaires for the book “The Millionaire Next Door“, she learned that one of the traits of many millionaires is frugality. In fact, many would not be recognized as millionaires in everyday life.
Yes, if you can cut back on spending now, you will set yourself up for a better future and perhaps become one of these said millionaires.
Although you may be in the habit of spending freely without concern if you are in debt and do not have the money to support this way of living than frugal living is definitely something you want to consider.
I like to think of frugal living as a state of mind. I often ask, why should I spend more than I have to?
For instance, I shop around for the best prices and do my research if I am spending more than a few dollars on something.
Meal planning is also huge for me. I use meal planning as a way to save on my grocery bill. This alone has saved me thousands on my food bill over the years.
Frugal living means buying items that are high quality so you do not waste your money and end up buying a second of the same thing. Not to mention, it is also taking small steps to save money so you do not have to pay full price for everything you buy.
Frugal living is a means to build wealth in your life. Instead of living in debt, cut back on things that don’t matter and start investing your extra money. In turn, you will end up with more money and start taking advantage of compound interest.
So instead of thinking of frugal living as being cheap, consider using frugal living as a means to build wealth and live better in the future.
My husband and I have used frugal living ideas to help decrease our debt and we are on track to pay off our house this year. Also, we have a much higher net worth than this small portion left on our mortgage. We did this by saving earlier in our lives on pretty much everything but travel (and we still use budget travel methods to take trips because we love to travel.) and investing our savings.
We made savings automatic so we already know money is set aside for retirement, emergencies, and bills.
Also, we do not believe in wasting money; however, we also do not believe in never spending anything – that would not be a fun way to live.
In short, yes you can spend money and still be frugal. My husband and I have couponed over the years, used meal planning, bought used cars, and learned to live with less. In fact, the two things we spend money on are travel and coffee and even that we usually make at home.
However, we are now reaping the benefits because we have paid off our cars and are close to paying off our house.
Will I Feel Deprived with Frugal Living?
If you do not want to feel deprived while living frugally, I recommend making a list of things that are truly important to you. This list is what you WILL spend money on. However, try to save and be frugal on everything else.
For example, if you love coffee than by all means treat yourself, yet if coffee isn’t’ something that is important to you, skip it and find something else you want to splurge on.
Do you love clothing? Then set aside a certain amount you can spend on clothing, but then find other areas of your budget you can cut. Can you take running outside instead of paying for a pricey gym membership? Then this could be an area you can cut.
Do you love reading? Can you find books at your local library and possibly cut your cable? This could save you hundreds per month and yet, you are still able to do what you love, which is read with fewer distractions.
In short, frugal living and being cheap are two separate things. If one is cheap, he or she will drive all over town in order to save a dollar here and there. However, if one is frugal he or she will know that time is money and driving all over town to save a dollar is not ideal in the big picture of things.
In fact, acting in a cheap manner will at times, waste money. You could be using your time to make money through a side hustle instead of haggling over a few dollars.
Associated with being cheap:
driving around to save a dollar
buying cheap items that must be replaced often
buying cheap gifts or none at all
refusing to go out to eat ever because it is a waste of money
not contributing to group bills and never treating, but will let others treat him or her
Saving money just to save and never spending it even though you have it.
Associated with being frugal:
buying quality even if it costs more because it will last for years
realizing time is money and it may be worth it to spend an extra dollar than to drive all over town
buying people gifts they want or need, but can still afford
going out to eat as a treat and using ways to save such as coupons, happy hour, or ordering water
contributes his or her fair share when it comes to group bills and sometimes even treats if it is in the budget
saving money with purpose or intent (to live your dream life)
Investing money saved for the future
Frugal people still spend money, however, they shop around when making big purchases and buy quality items instead of wasting money on cheap items.
Why Frugal Living Will Benefit Your Personal Finances
By learning to save money on the little things, you can bulk up your savings. Two of the best ways to save your money are putting away an emergency fund and saving for retirement. It may seem daunting, however, if you take a look at ways you can save money and find just five dollars per day, you can watch your $35 per week grow in savings and start making investments toward your future.
Yes, the small items add up, and investing in your retirement is key. By using the power of compound interest, you can watch your money grow instead of throwing money down the drain on wasteful items and paying late fees.
The point of living within your means is to live with purpose and put your money to work for you. If you make the choice to live frugally and live within your means, it will pay off to put money away and your money will grow.
Is Frugal Living for You Final Thoughts…
Frugal living is not for everyone, however, if you want to save money living frugally can help you achieve your financial goals.
Are you thinking of trying to cut back to save more? Leave me a comment and let me know if frugal living is for you. I would love to hear from you!