When it comes to saving money it doesn’t have to be all work. It can also be a little fun. I know that living frugally brings to mind all sorts of unpleasant things to many people. But those that live frugally often have a zealous approach to frugal ideas. They are actually excited by the idea of saving a little money. And it doesn’t matter how little it really is.
Frugal living becomes a game you play against yourself. You are looking for ways to save. I started out simply looking to see if I could really lower our electric bill. And I did with very little effort. Then I looked to our heating costs. Hey, I did it again. Then I looked to our driving expenses.
Frugal living isn’t something that is painless on a family when you take the attitude that you must do it. It is like cleaning house. It is something that has to be done. You can either make it a good experience or a bad one. With the wrong attitude you will probably fail.
Consider frugal living as a challenge. And the best thing is that you are improving more than just your financial situation. Many financial counselors and advisors say that when people gain control of their money, they gain control of their lives. That is because self-control bleeds over into other things. You simply begin to look at things differently.
Whether you are looking to a frugal life out of need or out of a shrewd money management plan, begin by simply tackling one area of your expenses. Then move on to another. Over time, you will find that your attitude changes and you look at things differently.
And you start seeing that you can save money (to spend on things that really matter) without much exertion at all. And that’s the best thing about the frugal challenge — you save money.
Frugal Living – Starting to Live Frugally
A downshifted life is a simpler life and often richer in time rather than in money. So, in order to downshift, one needs to have some money to spare at first. This might not necessarily be a lump sum in the bank. It might be equity tied up in your home or other possessions that you could sell. Downshifting might then involve moving to a smaller home or a similar home in a less expensive area or selling some of your possessions.
If you are in debt then this is an issue you will probably want to tackle as a matter of urgency. Living frugally and downshifting your lifestyle may well form part of your plans for lifting yourself out of debt. It can be a very satisfying way to decrease your living costs without feeling that you are depriving yourself.
Here are a few simple things to try for one week to demonstrate to yourself that you can reduce your costs and change your money spending activities:
- have a week that is media-free i.e. no television, radio, newspapers or magazines and notice how you are less tempted to spend money on what you feel you “ought to have.”
- Stay away from supermarkets. Buy your food only from local independent retailers or farms. Notice how much less you spend on food now that you have to work a little harder to get it and that you are less tempted to impulse buy.
- No eating out or takeaways. If you feel like having a food treat, make yourself a special candle-lit dinner.
There is an important difference between poverty and frugal simplicity. Poverty is involuntary and disabling whereas frugal simplicity is voluntary and empowering.