Being frugal is a lifestyle and a mindset. But, what really defines being frugal? If you ask two different people, you’re likely to get two different answers. For most, being frugal means being mindful with your money and being resourceful with what you have on hand. For some, it may mean learning to live with less or living within a budget. You may start living a more frugal life by looking at an aspect of your life like your grocery shopping. So what else does it mean to be frugal? Let’s take a look at these simple habits of frugal people and find out.
How to Be Frugal
There is a lot of advice out there on how to live a frugal life. You can go from anything as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room to grinding your own flour. There are forums out there where people discuss the way they use the rainwater they collect to do everything from watering plants to flushing their lavatories.
How frugal you are depends on your lifestyle. In my opinion, all it takes to be considered frugal is to think before you purchase something. You can simply turn down the heat at night and save a little on your utilities to be frugal. You can shop sales. You take the time to ask yourself if you really need something.
Being frugal isn’t about washing out ziplock baggies and reusing them. It isn’t about grinding your own wheat or collecting rainwater. It isn’t even about that sweater you didn’t buy. It is about thinking before you spend. It is about conserving what you have. It is about saving money and managing your finances.
And every household has different finances. We all have different goals.
The point is that every household has to look at their own situation and then decide where they can – or need to – become more frugal. Frugal living doesn’t mean doing without. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have what you need. In fact, it means the opposite.
Frugal living is about reducing what you spend, living within your means, using what you have and taking care of your belongings, including your money. It is about making goals and working to reach them. Which would you rather be: the person who decides when and where to spend his money or the person whose money is spent before he makes it?
Take the time to look at how you spend. Your spending is more important than your income. You can make $100,000, but if you spend $120,000, you are in trouble. It will eventually catch up with you. You have to spend less than you make, and that is what being frugal is about. Living with what you have. It is easier to spend less than it is to make more. It is easier to be frugal than to juggle credit cards and lenders. Find the frugal methods that work for your family and start saving today.
Frugal living requires skills and ways of looking at things that help you take advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. The truly frugal person makes these into habits. Six of these simple habits are outlined below. These are techniques that can be learned in a matter of a day or two, and made into new habits a few weeks. Then they will save money for you for the rest of your life.
Simple Habits of Frugal People
1. Frugal living requires a knowledge of values. How can you get a great deal on a car if you don’t know what a great deal is. Get in the habit of educating yourself on prices, especially before you’re ready to buy anything that costs a lot. It takes a few hours of looking at listings for sale, for example, to know what homes are selling for in an area, but this is knowledge that can save you thousands.
2. Learn from other people. Most of us know someone who always gets the best deal on cars, boats, homes, or even groceries. Why not ask him or her how they do it! One person will tell you that the cheapest coffee in town is $3 per cup, while another will say 50 cents. Ask the latter about coffee shops. People near you are living a good life on half of what you make. Investigate that. See how others do things, and you’ll know your options.
3. Frugal living means always looking for alternatives. You might have just as much fun taking a discount trip to Mexico as you would going to Jamaica. Maybe you happen to enjoy pizza more than fine French dining. If so, why not skip the expensive restaurant and call Dominoes. This isn’t about sacrificing, but about getting even more of what you really enjoy by paying less for cheaper alternatives that work just as well.
4. Pay cash. What happens when everything you buy costs an additional 20% because of the interest you pay over the years? You can’t buy as much! Everything is cheaper when paid for in cash instead of credit. If you want that new patio set, divide the price by the number of weeks you can wait to get it. Set aside that much each week, and buy it for cash when you have the money. Not only do you save on interest, but you’ll often get a better price when you pay cash.
5. Learn to do the math. Did you really save $400 on that car if it costs you $500 more in gas each year? Did you know that some stores are cashing in on shopper’s assumptions that larger is cheaper? It’s true. That gallon of pickles might actually cost more than four quart jars. Make it a habit to do the math if you want to save money.
6. Tell people what you need. Mention it in conversations. Many people get free or cheap things, just because they talk. For example, maybe your neighbor is getting new furniture and needs to make space. Maybe you need new furniture. You could easily take their old furniture of their hands for free or cheap. A win-win for you both, don’t you think?
So what do you think of these simple habits of frugal people? Do you recognize any in yourself?