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Frugality is a value and a principle. It is an objective one can live by and strive for. The value of frugality can act as a clear compass in a world dominated by consumerism. A broader culture of frugality has caught on in the post-recession period, people are more aware that money is important. The main idea of frugality is to free oneself of the concept that a good life has to be expensive. The frugal mind can be happy without spending money.
You can easily live on $25.000 per year in the modern west! This is way below the estimate medium income for an American (around $45.000). Our consumer society, pushes us into debt, the bad kind of debt consumer debt, the one that is not productive. This goes against the simple mantra of the saver: Spend less than you earn.
In this article we will cover:
How to become frugal
How to be happy and frugal?
How to have a frugal mindset?
Frugal living tips
Your health on a frugal budget
How to increase your income while being frugal
Living with kids and being frugal
Finding frugal love
For your own financial stability! The peace of mind of knowing that you are not dependent on things from the outside is priceless. Happiness can come from the inside.
The more things you acquire the more time you will need to maintain them and fix them and less time to follow your passions.
Things are made from materials and energy eventually, they all end up in the landfill. This has a huge environmental cost. Most products and services are bought for our own internal bliss. The cost of this is leaving a poorer earth to the next generation. Earth will have less natural beauty and fewer resources the more we consume. Does this cost justify the “suffering” we have to go through to skip a few purchases? Taming that spending beast is a value which benefits not only your own self, but also the earth and many future generations.
When you use less to make things happen. Less money, less petrol, less time you are actively contributing to fight consumerism and the waste of resources.
Being Frugal can give you more time in two different ways, the first is by actively working less. Meaning you might just need a part-time job to live the life you want. Freeing your time to work on your true passions. The second is allowing you to save enough money to build a passive income portfolio, which will yield enough to support your desired lifestyle. Such a portfolio can be made up of a combination of dividend stocks and real estate. With such a portfolio you can retire early.
Being frugal can lead you faster to financial freedom.
It is not easy to be frugal, especially if you spent decades opening up your wallet without a second thought. It is hard to control ingrained habits. Only persistence will make bad habits go away, and eventually, in time, you find a new state of equilibrium between your impulses and your actions.
Becoming frugal the slow way
The first way to become frugal is to ease into the practice slowly, start by removing irrelevant expenses bit by bit until you arrive at the desired level of spending. This is slow lifestyle disinflation were, you slow down your spending decisions and try to apply to creativity and rational thinking to solve your spending issues.
- Track your spending.
- Follow the money.
- See where it all goes.
- Note down how much time there was between each purchase.
- Decide what you will cut down this week.
- Have a plan.
- Revaluate your situation every six weeks.
Reducing spending is easy if you understand the emotional drivers for spending and cultivate a frugal mindset. You get most of your needs for free if you put enough time and are prepared to be flexible enough.
Going frugal from one day to the next
The second way to become Frugal is to go cold turkey, meaning cutting all your unnecessary spending from one day to the next. Make a plan and stick to it. This is harder in the short term but leaves little room for arguing with yourself on how much you should reduce your spending.
- Decide what are your core needs
- Make a plan to buy only these needs at the best value for money
- Cut out all expenses on the same day
- Monitor your progress
The hamster wheel, that wheel that keeps you in the same place doing the same thing in and out.
Go to work, earn money, spend it in one weekend.
The corporations have us well trained.
We are their little profit generation centres.
How many of us are truly happy and fulfilled on this endless wheel? Grinding us down, day after day, year after year.
Only at the age of 60 or so are allowed access to your”golden years”. At this stage however you cannot enjoy life as you could 20 years back! Your back is gone, too much sitting down working for these same corporations! Your health has deteriorated from buying their products, too much sugar, too many fats, too much booze and too little time for your loved ones.
Going frugal is a personal declaration of self-sovereignty.
A commitment to bring happiness from personal connections. Simple things holding hands with a lover, loving unconditionally, hugs, kisses, knowing you are wanted and loved. Rather than trying to find peace in either endless working hours or exorbitant spending sprees.
There is a scintilla of satisfaction each time you swipe your card, but there is an eonic gap between this and true happiness, which stems from a simple life filled with free love and passion.
The corporations pitch us against each other. They make you think that you need to keep up with your neighbours, your brother in law and your best friends. Jealousy is the easiest way to kill your finances, spirit and health. We are all dealt different cards, use your hand the best you can, you have a whole lifetime to do so.
Being Frugal is simply learning to live on less, without the constant internal struggle.
Spending money on only the things you really need brings its own happiness a genuine deep long-lasting kind of happiness. When knowing you are in control of your self and your wallet. The contentment is about less stress and more peace.
Once you realize that cutting your expenses doesn’t mean cutting your happiness everything becomes easier. In fact, you’ll see that most times less makes you happier than a lot.
There are two types of frugality, the first out of pure necessity and the second by choice. Both have the same objective, Being frugal out of necessity might be portrayed as suffering or deprivation, but this perspective needs to be shifted through calm reflection.
When you clear your life from unnecessary things and those spending addictions. Your life has more space for happiness, creativity. Your emotions have space to flourish.
Spending too much does not mean that you will be happier. Your power muscle that decides what to buy and what not to buy is weak today. Like any muscle, you need to exercise it.
Happy frugal people have just as much fun as the big spenders, they save at least 50-75% of their income to build wealth and enjoy the rest.
It is important to be aware of your habits. Your behaviour is driven by both conscious and unconscious habits. Creating new powerful habits is the journey towards self-growth.
Frugalism is about cutting costs. You need to know where to cut. The superfluous vs the essential. Get into the right frugal mind-set, to ensure success.
Before you make a purchase, understand the deep reason why you want to buy something. To do so you can classify it: Edible, Drinkable, Transport, Social access, Mood Changer. What is its value this purchase will bring to you in the next hour, day, week, month and year?
Spending for social access is hard to control. If your friends are not frugal you will find it hard to be frugal in their company. Socializing in yachting clubs, tennis clubs, expensive gyms, golf courses is clearly not good for your frugal self. Sometimes people spend money, just to be with someone or in the company or the presence of the people they like, admire or aspire to be or be with.
Social influences such as conversations, social media, TV adverts have a powerful influence on your drive to spend. You receive messages from every corner of your life that to “fit in” you need to have this car, that watch, that phone and wear these brands of clothes.
This is all in your head.
These messages try to make you uncomfortable in your own skin.
Become zen and float above them, you have the reins on your life, not these messages.
A piece of metal on your hand or a logo on your shirt is not what your peers should judge you by. And if your peers value you because of how much money you spend on useless things, it is probably time to change peers.
Frugality prepares you for the tough times, it teaches you to live with just enough and still have everything you need.
Well by now you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk? Do you look for decisions whose consequences repeat day after day, week after week, year after year? Changing these has a huge multiplier effect.
One way to easily estimate the full cost of a habit is by understanding the cost within specific time periods weekly /monthly/yearly and within a decade. How much is the cost of that coffee and doughnut habit in the morning worth over a decade?
Stop buying lottery tickets
Go in the sun instead of tanning salons.
Borrowing library books instead of buying them on Amazon
Play in nature instead of fun parks.
Do your own house repairs instead of hiring contractors.
Eliminate unproductive debt.
Get rid of your car use a bike instead use public transport.
Don’t buy new clothes or shoes. Buy second-hand ones. You can get far better value for money.
Cook in bulk, freeze your meals and put any leftovers in the fridge for breakfast.
Go grocery shopping at local markets instead of big malls.
Use Coupons, discounts and sales.
Have board game nights at friends instead of watching Netflix alone.
Shop around for utility providers.
Use one bank account with your partner to look over each others spending.
Be careful of in-app game purchases.
Teach your kids what is money from an early age.
Create as many passive income streams as you can. Example: Passive income ideas for Students
It is proven that being frugal can make wonders for your budget but also for your health. If you stay healthy you will reduce the number of visits to your doctor. Vegetables and fruit are what makes you healthy.
Use your bike for transportation and you save on money, gym fees, transportation fees, doctor fees, car insurance, car maintenance and time (dodging traffic)
Eating out is bad for your wallet and bad for your body. Fast food places and restaurants focus on taste rather than nutrition. They add fats and sugar to make the food taste great, but you need more than taste to thrive. You need nutrients. If you cut out meats you will save further.
Alcohol is really bad for your liver, your wallet and potentially your social life. When drunk some values including being frugal might evaporate. Most sodas and juices are filled with sugar and conservatives, thus bad for your teeth and pancreas. Drink water!
Shopping on an empty stomach might make it easier to reach out for packaged food. Foods that come in a wrapper tends to have has tens of unpronounceable ingredients. To avoid eating those chemicals, think of what are the best items for you to eat, then make a list of things you need to buy and stick to it. I personally believe that 80% of your health comes what you put inside you. The other 20% obviously comes from exercise!
You do not need to spend money at a gym you can just go for a walk, run, use free weights at home, follow workouts on youtube, ride your bike and rope jump. Whatever your choice is, just move!
The only difference between frugal and non-frugal people is the role of math in their lives. Frugal livers have understood one thing: The power of compound interest. Einstein said this is the most powerful force in the universe.
Compound interest without initial capital is worthless though. Being frugal allows you to create a capital base from which to build your compound interest machine.
Frugal people see that money is useful for spending, but even more useful as a tool for earning more money. So, they train to master finance, hard work, and self-discipline.
If you invest your money in Passive income investments, the minute you are paid, then it will be harder to spend money you do not have. It makes sense to invest in things you are comfortable with, so you can sleep soundly at night without having to check the portfolio every 10 minutes.
There are countless side activities you can do to boost your income and passive income
- Side income producing video content
- Work ideas for moms
- Investing in cryptocurrencies
- Information product ideas
- Information product examples
Frugality is a value, and kids who have values, will find it easier to navigate life even when faced with testing situations.
Teaching kids about frugality is not easy. Many kids are raised in an environment where money is not discussed openly. Kids who learn about the basics of personal economics and the cycle of money from work to the table have a stronger sense of the reason why being frugal is important. Kids need to learn the value of renumerated hard work. If kids at an early age learn that money is not an endless resource and that you have to earn it and save it, they are already ahead of some adults.
Toys are expensive especially new ones, they tend to be used a little then thrown aside. A few decades ago toys were built by hand, exchanged and taken care of simply because there were very few toys laying around. Today parents need to deal with toy clutter, which adds to their stress. Kids think that good things fall out of the sky without any effort on their part. Simple toys, encourage kids to be more creative when playing with them. Boredom and playing outside are great because it encourages creativity and negotiation with kids. Kids learn through repetition, so it is ok for kids to play with the same toys, read the same books a few times over.
Video games are expensive, especially with in-app purchases. It is very hard for kids to break the rules imposed ny them on video games, these games do not give them room to be creative.
Spending endless hours watching tv or staring at a computer screen is unhealthy because it does not teach kids any real-life lessons. Books, on the other hand, help them see the world from different perspectives. The library has 1000s of them and they are all free. Why is this relevant to frugality you might ask? Kids who are not streetwise and have their moral compass set straight are prone to make costly mistakes when they become teenagers. So it is to your benefit and also theirs to bring them up as good productive citizens, otherwise, you might have to pay the emotional and financial price later.
Kids who are used to be entertained in extravagant ways will become more costly as they grow up. They will need more and more in order to feel happy. If a visit to the Zoo is something done on a weekly basis, then on their birthday they would expect to go to Disney world.
Private schools are expensive. The value for money from such schools is debatable. In addition, private schools tend to expose children to one kind of facet of life.
Parents can turn frugality to their favour. Being frugal means you have to work less, which directly means more contact with your child, more time to interact, teach and love your children. Isn’t this what all kids want?
Frugality also means buying whole foods which are cheaper and more nutritious for both the parent and child compared to packaged foods. Snacking on unhealthy products is not an option when you are being frugal!
Chemical cleaning products which when used in the kitchen will inevitably get mixed with food are not used, homemade cleaning products are less harmful. Some say that some level of bacteria in the house helps to keep the immune system of children strong.
Frugal living encourages people to stop impressing others by spending money. Instead, impress them by your capacity of living with the basics and being happy with less. Spending money to win the charms of your significant half can only get you short term success and burden you with long term expectations. Love and passion are free, on the other hand, divorces are quite expensive.
Corporations want to persuade you that you can spend your way into attractiveness. A spray from a can, a brand new pair of jeans or a cap with a particular logo will increase your sexual market value. You cannot buy attractiveness, you have to work on it and earn it. It needs to be genuine.
Young men and women aged 18 – 30 are a prime target for marketers, they are in competition with each other, not that different from a bunch of peacocks! It is rather easy to convince these hormone-fueled young people that makeup, fast cars, discos, drinks, cigarettes and expensive entertainment is the only way to find a partner. Be aware!
Women are attracted to a guy’s current success, his underlying character traits and also the long term potential. Using material objects to advertise success attracts the wrong kind of women!
Frugality is easier for old people because they spend way less on showing off than younger people, they don’t feel the need to show off, they just want to live with dignity and have a comfortable retirement.
Extreme frugality can look a lot like poverty to the opposite sex and that is not attractive at all. Use frugality wisely.
Being frugal seems complicated but in the end, it all comes down to a simple sentence: earn more, spend less, save money and live well. These are the basics you really need! Changing your behaviour will change your life, will help you, society the environment and the world in general. Be the change you long to see…be frugal, be happy!
Frugality is also an important factor when you retire. Learn more: LeanFire Vs FatFire