When people hear the word “frugal”, the first thought that might come to mind is cheap. Those that live the frugal life are not cheap. Rather they think before they spend, they budget, they save, they live within their means. Being frugal means being wise with the dollar, budgeting, not buying on impulse, living on what you make. Frugality is not just about saving money, it’s a way of life.
Frugal living has more than one form, depending upon each individual or family. To one family, frugal living might mean eating leftovers, both parents working, and not using credit cards. For another family, it might mean Mom is at home, works at home, the generic ziplock baggies are washed and reused over, thrift shops are a way of life, and if new clothes are bought they’d best be on sale. There are different levels of frugality, and there is none better that the other.
For those that desire the ultimate frugal life, there are many ways to save money. A family can live on one income and get by just fine, and save money. My belief is that each family should decide how far they wish to frugalize. Ideas to live frugally are comparison shopping, budgeting, debt consolidation, thrift shops, freebies, bargains, couponing, refunding, no more than two major credit cards (if that), work at home thereby saving a ton on childcare, not impulse shopping, etc.
If the thought of miserly living comes to mind, banish the thought. Frugal people are careful shoppers, mindful of their money, look for sales, and search out good deals. They are of the mind that their money is better off in their pockets rather than someone else’s. They learn through trial and error. They teach their children the value of the dollar, and hopefully raise frugal children.
Living well on less does not mean doing without at all. It means that you can have more for less money, because you have learned to be wiser with your money.
In today’s world, when a family or individual needs more money for something or to live on, most have the idea of getting a higher paying job, or for Mom to go to work. Rather than living within their means, they strive to make even more money, pay the babysitter, pay more taxes, buy another car, etc. Why try to make more money just to pay out more money? Doesn’t it make more sense to live on what you make, have less stress, and be happier?
For those that don’t think they can make the transition painless, start small. Some possible thoughts are: Learn to love leftovers. If you don’t want to eat them the next meal or day, freeze them for another day. Stop using credit cards to shop. Unless you really need something, save up for it and pay cash. It saves money on interest. Learn the art of reusing and recycling. Half of what we throw away can be reused or used for something else, such as small grocery store bags. We use them for bathroom trash bags, rather than buying the same size trash bags. Wash those ziplock baggies. Buy generic items, on sale items, and use coupons for those name brands. Remember that just because you have a coupon, it’s not necessarily cheaper.
Reducing your spending, living within your means, reusing and recycling, reducing waste; all of these and more will help you on the road to frugality, to living well without going broke. Your pocketbook and bank account will love you more, and you will be a happy camper knowing you’re not breaking the piggy bank anymore, which means the piggy bank will love you more, too.