Why Frugal Living Works and The Best Frugal Living Tips that can Save You Money
Why frugal living helps you find happiness and save money?
When you live with less, you create a habit of letting go of material wants and needs. This creates a mentality of only keeping what is important and practical in your life. Frugal living is about not only saving and spending less. It is lifestyle built on the principle of “don’t create waste” and “choose only what gives you value”.
The advent of new technology creates the biggest opportunity of spending as easy as a click of a mouse. Marketing strategies today is at its finest. Marketing campaigns are promoting a false sense of scarcity. This creates a mental justification that what we buy is a “need” rather than a “want”.
We fall into a trap of justifying that retail therapy is a reward rather than a visualized surged of endorphins that lasts only until we find something that triggers our interest. What we do not talk about is what we actually give up in order to indulge in things that do not create value in our life.
Imagine you have debt, and you know that putting aside a couple of dollars can eventually cut it down faster. However, by nature, we have a tendency to look at only what we perceive as an opportunity cost rather than the big picture. A recent study showed that only 39% of Americans have emergency savings put aside for unexpected expenses. The other option is to use a credit card as a fallback and just pay it over time.
How frugal living help simplifies your life?
Saving money is simple but it is not as easy to do as many thinks. Having goals to save money creates motivation and enthusiasm. This helps encourage someone to actually put aside a portion of their income and save money.
However, what we fail to point out is that saving is actually future-oriented. Setting goals do not always guarantee that we can stick to it.
Frugal living is an effective tool you can use to gain financial freedom. By changing some habits in your daily life, it can eventually help you reach goals and live a more meaningful life.
Creating a goal is only one-step in order to create a more sustainable debt free life and save money. What is more important is how to actually achieve those goals and take action. It is the same process when you want to lose weight.
Exercise alone does not guarantee you will lose weight. If you consume the same amount of calories, you burn when you work out, you basically are just maintaining your weight. In order to really lose weight, you have to change your diet as well and cut down your calorie intake.
When you choose to live a frugal life, saving alone does not guarantee you financial security. You have to maintain a more sustainable lifestyle and avoid spending more. Frugal living is a practice of mindfully making lifestyle choices and hold on only to what is essential. It is not a deprivation but a conscious fasting of what you can give up to gain more.
Why do you need to try and be frugal?
It helps you identify your priorities.
Financial problems are one of the most common causes of stress and depression. The amount of anxiety that it can bring to someone will lead to lack of motivation and lose focus on your priorities. Money should not be a priority. It should not define your happiness. In order to do that, you need to think about and reflect on yourself and what is more important to you.
Is it for your family?
A dream you want to fulfill?
A goal you wanted to reach?
Ask yourself, what have you done to take a step closer to fulfill it? What is stopping you to reach those goals? If your answer involves financial concerns and restriction, then maybe it is time for you to consider changing your lifestyle and try frugal living.
It helps you focus better.
Having junk and clutter has been proven by science to have a negative effect on the way we think and focus. Decluttering your life and living a minimal lifestyle helps you concentrate better and get a task done faster. Removing distractions can also help you be more creative and boost your mood.
Letting go encourages creativity and resourcefulness
We tend to associate emotions in most of our purchases that we end up being too attached to the things we own. There is a feeling of nostalgia when you find the old stuff that brings back memories and reminds you of the old days. But how about those knick-knacks that you bought on a discount store on sale or the dress that has been hanging in your closet for 5 years that you are so fond of but will never wear again.
Chances are, there are more of this stuff lying around in your home. Do yourself a favor, take a closer look around your home, and ask yourself what purpose each item you have around you serve. Take the time to declutter and purge out items that do not have a practical use or purpose.
Letting go can be hard but the benefits you will get on having less junk in your home will surely make your life way easier. It will inspire you to be more creative in what you have and find new ways to use stuff you already own.
Increases your happiness and lowers stress and anxiety
When you develop a habit of living with less and focusing on what only matters, this will help you stop worrying altogether. You will have more energy to focus on what really matters and work on achieving your dreams and goals. The constant stress and anxiety of worrying about your finances and how to do what you love rather than just working for the paycheck is an agony many of us think. Happiness is being able to breathe and be free of agonizing thoughts that can lead to those stresses, which is a step closer to being happy.
Builds relationship and trust.
When your worry and stress triggers are taken away, you eventually will be better at appreciating everything around you. You will have more energy and time to build relationships and foster trust with the people that matter in your life by spending time and creating more experiences and memories with them.
Control your finances and avoid debts.
By living a more frugal life, you will develop a habit of taking a more hands-on approach to your finances and avoiding debt. When you have a positive mindset of only spending on what you need rather than splurging on material things that do not add value to your life, it will help you achieve financial security in the long run.
How to use frugal living principles in your daily life?
I can say that I am frugal and never had a problem living as it is. For years now, I tried to observe a few principles in order to spend less and save more. These seven principles helped me not just financially but in a more holistic approach on how to live a more frugal life without compromising the quality of your living.
Be mindful of your choices
Life is all about choices. In our daily days, we encounter several decision-making opportunities. Whether it be a small or a big decision, constantly ask yourself why you are making these decisions. By constantly practicing mindful decision-making, you will develop a more frugal mindset when it comes to decisions that will have a bigger impact in your life in the long run.
Organize your space
Your space should be a place you can come home, sit back and relax while enjoying the small things in life. When I moved to Denmark, what I really notice is most of the homes are bright, cozy and visually pleasing. “Less is more” is a common foundation of Scandinavian designs. They are able to keep spaces look warm by investing only in good quality pieces, great texture, and lighting.
The concept of being minimal and living with less does not mean forgoing the necessities. They constantly make sure that everything has its own place and constant avoidance of hoarding stuff that has run out of value. By keeping it simple, they are able to appreciate life and achieve happiness.
Think about your home as an extension of you as a person, the more clutter your space; the more it can cause a negative impact on the way you think. You can never hide clutter, so find the balance of making your home visually appealing and keeping only the basics.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” – Confucius
Be mindful of what you say
Frugal living involves having to say “No”. We may have to decline a few invitations that will end up using that money we set aside to pay off those student loans. It is hard to say “No” and more often than not, people try to avoid it.
There is no problem with saying “No” but we just have to be mindful of how to say it. Saying it right by being honest about why we have to decline the invitation without offending others is tough and takes practice. Keep it simple but be respectful and find ways to offer an alternative.
Invite them another time to hang out or have dinner together at your place always works. What we say and do not say can have an eventual effect on how we think and how others would take it. It is easy to feel bad about it, but you just have to keep in mind that it is okay to say “No”.
Be your own critic
Living frugally does not always come easy. You will hear criticism and negative comments on why you choose to live with less. Rather than focusing on the negative and what other people say about how you should live your life. Stay optimistic and grateful then focus more on how to be happier.
We create our own kind of happiness. It is earned through finding contentment and appreciation of what we have. Learn to be your own motivational critic rather than your worse critic. It is okay to fail and make mistakes. But always remind yourself that you worked hard, you did your best and you did well every day when you wake up and before going to sleep. This will build your confidence to keep working on to reach your goals.
Our society today encourages entitlement. Being humble nowadays is seen as a weakness. If you want to get ahead and fulfill the demands of society, then you need to be strong and being humble is seen as being meek which will get you eliminated from the pack. Financial value is now also associated with the word humility rather than what it truly means.
The act of humility is practicing modesty in all aspect of life to gain contentment, learn patience, and compassion towards others. It is being free of all desire to impress others and getting ahead. It is liberating to let go of frustrations that are attached to always chasing that approval just to avoid rejections from others. Learn to be free of common labels from the society that one needs to get ahead in order to live a more content life.
Being humble means you understand your strengths and weakness and learn to appreciate what you have. When you appreciate what you have, you also learn to appreciate the same from others. You learn to value other people’s opinion and respect what they can and cannot do.
By practicing humility, you will eventually learn to stop judging others and take time to listen more to get to know others better. Once you start focusing outward and on things that serve a greater purpose rather than on yourself, you will be able to find better fulfillment and happiness.
Live your life as your own
It is easy to look at others to find validation of who you are and what you want to be. What we fail to realize is that we have our own lives that we should be living. At some point in our lives, we pass through a stage where we keep asking ourselves who we are. It is a question that is so hard to answer and harder to talk about.
In the back of our minds, we keep thinking of how we should live our lives. Each of us has our own strength and weakness. We have our own limitations and it matters more to us than to others. We push ourselves so hard to break those limitations just because we want to fulfill what society dictates that in the end, we fail to live our own life and worse, forget who we really are. Create your path by working hard on fulfilling a goal or a dream. By doing so, you will experience fulfillment by reaching a goal that really matters for you.
Ask yourself, if you are given, one day to do one thing that will make you happy, what will it be?
If you have, that one thing then take action to achieve it. We might get scared, but everyone does too. If we let ourselves stay scared and not challenge ourselves to try to go after what we really want, it will only end with a regret that you will carry all your life. It will be hard to stat but way harder to see it through. Still do not be afraid to try it. Create your path and live your life as your own to create your own piece of happiness.
Learning is a step you need to take in order to be successful and accomplish something in life. The more you learn the higher chance you get to create a happier version of yourself. We must always be open to learning all the time. Knowledge adds more value to life and helps us keep up with everything that may happen. Read a good book, listen more to the people around you, and accept that you do not know everything. Life is a lifelong process of learning and the way to be better is to keep on learning.
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored." – Earl Nightingale
Here are some of the best frugal tips that can save you money and cut down your expenses
Rent rather than own. There has always been a grey area between when you should buy a house or just rent. Before choosing to invest in buying your house take a better review of your finances. Check the cost of taking a mortgage, housing insurance, and maintenance cost. Buying is more costly than renting.
You can say that a house or any property is an investment but think as well of the cost that comes with it. The property may fluctuate in value over time and can be a good addition to your asset but how long do you need to pay for your mortgage? How sustainable is your income to be able to pay off that debt? Either way, when considering owning or renting a property, always think of the total cost of acquiring the asset and not just the value of the property.
Choose a smaller car. Smaller cars consume much lesser fuel than bigger cars. It may be much more comfortable to own an SUV, but the main purpose of getting a car is for transportation. Choosing to give up on that extra space and comfort will save you hundreds of dollars on your gas mileage every year.
Buy used items. If you need anything that will surely break your bank, try to find a better alternative by checking your local thrift store. Take some time to check garage sales or ask your family or friends. Moving to a new place is always expensive. When we moved apartments, the only items we bought new was a mattress. Most pieces of furniture we have are from family and friends while others are from local garage sales. You do not need to spend thousands to furnish your new home. All you need is some sparks of creativity and resourcefulness.
Create your meals at home. Eating at home can save you from spending outside and going over budget. Eating out is one of the most expensive expense you can have if you do it on a regular basis. Make your own lunches as well. Set some time to plan and prepare your meals at home and it will save you hundreds of dollars a month.
Make a habit of creating a menu plan. Have a shopping list that you can stick with when you go on grocery trips. Keeping track of your food expense can also be a helpful tool if you cannot always prepare your meals at home. Set up an allocated budget and find alternative meal options that can cut down your meal expenses.
Cut your cable subscription. Rather than spending money on binge-watching on cable TV, use the time to find free entertainment. Read a book or spend time with your family. Better yet, use the time to find hobbies that you love and find ways to turn it into a money-making idea.
Stay healthy. Staying healthy does not necessarily mean spending expensive gym membership or equipment. Take a walk or run and spend some time outside. Taking care of your health and staying fit can save you tons of money on a doctor’s visit and medicine bills.
Commute or take your bike to work. Aside from your car expenses, gas and parking passes are expensive when you use your car on a regular basis. Take the public transport and commute to work. It not just help you save the environment but it does help you be more active. You can also take your bike and turn it into your daily work out. It will not only save you gas money but as well as keep you fit at the same time.
Sell your clutter that has run out of purpose. You can easily sell out used items on eBay or hold a garage sale in your neighborhood. It is a great way to earn a few dollars out of the old items you own.
Maintain a minimalist wardrobe. Sticking with a minimal wardrobe helps you keep clutter at a minimum. It also takes the stress away from having to constantly think of what to wear and put an outfit together. You do not need a massive wardrobe. All you need are bare essentials and a few key pieces that you can mix and match and throw together in no time.
Create your own products at home. Whether it is a gift or home cleaning products, you can easily whip something up together that can save you a few dollars. Make your own home cleaning solution or bake some pastries for your next get together. You can easily search for great instructions and online tutorials on how to make basic items at home. It does not only help you create a healthier alternative than what you can buy in stores but will give you a sense of fulfillment in creating something from scratch.
Save on energy. Wash your clothes only at full load, which goes the same with your dishwasher. This can cut down your electricity bill and save as much dollar that you can use on something else.
Is frugal living worth it?
Inspire yourself to create more value in your life rather than on how much material things you can accumulate in a lifetime. Find ways to create more experience and importance on something that money can’t buy. Your family, your friends and everyone else that is around you. When you are inspired to be better and you start living with a purpose. It helps minimize the anxiety of what the future brings or the regrets of what yesterday created.
Live in the moment and appreciate what the moment can do for your future. At the end of the day, it is a matter of choice. If you strive and take action to what really matters, you will eventually reach a certain level of freedom. It is easier to feel happy and contentment. Living a frugal life is not easy. It is a conscious effort to keep your life more meaningful. Starting with the choices you make to create value in your life.
The value should not be on the things that you buy. It should be on how and why those things you buy help add value to your life. Focusing on what you need rather than what you want is the simplest key to happiness. By being frugal, you stop chasing after wanting more and appreciate the small and simple things in life.
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A Frugal Pitch is a blog created to share ideas and a dose of frugal tips and tricks for mindful living and finding happiness. Being frugal does not mean being cheap. It is just a lifestyle choice and a mindfulness habit of living a life with a purpose and finding your own version of happiness in living with less.
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