What does “being frugal” mean?
It’s more than just being thrifty and trying to save every nickel and dime when you get the chance to. If you are truly frugal, its lifestyle and not an activity. Being frugal is not something one turns on and off, it’s a commitment. To embody a frugal attitude requires you to follow a philosophy based on simplicity, discipline, and an awareness of yourself and the world around you.
How many of these frugal qualities have you been able to fully grasp?
1. Not Giving into Instant Gratification
Are you the one in your friend that always must have the latest and greatest car, iPhone, or laptop? Are you always indulging yourself in the newest fashion trend with expensive items that are likely to go out of style in a couple of months? When it comes to spending, patience is a virtue. Being able to avoid the allure of instant gratification spending one to more basic virtues and cornerstones to being frugal. New products are almost always cheaper if you wait to buy them. When you wait to buy something, you may realize you don’t need the item after all. Spending to satisfy every immediate impulse is not part of the path to financial freedom.
2. Capturing Efficiency
To be efficient is to have maximum productivity with the least effort and expense. This concept of efficiency can be applied to a number of areas of personal finance. It could mean driving a car with good fuel mileage or finding an air conditioning system that gives you the most bang for your buck. It may mean investing your money so that you can generate income with little effort. It could mean spending a small amount of time planning meals for the week so that you’re not wasting time and money later.
3. Searching for Deals and Giveaways
Why pay for something if you can get it for free? One major feature of frugal people is their ability to find a cost-free option for many items that the rest of us usually pay for. It might be using a coupon for a free meal at a restaurant, checking out books from the library, or grabbing a perfectly good lawn chair that’s been placed out in the trash. It means being happy with over-the-air television, and dressing the kids in hand-me-down clothing. Not everything in life can be had for free, but you’d be surprised what you don’t need to pay for.
4. Ignoring What’s Popular
So everyone you know has a wide selection of clothes from the most fashion forward brand that season. They have the newest smartphones. They have awesome sunglasses and eat at the trendiest restaurants. A frugal person ignores the latest fads and avoids making decisions based on what is popular or cool in the moment. Instead, they will seek to capture efficiency in their spending habits.
5. Dodging Financial Traps
A financial trap is something that, on the surface, seems like a good deal but is more likely to harm you in the long run. Adjustable rate mortgages, quick payday loans, time-shares, and even car leases are often considered traps because of their potential to harm a person financially if they aren’t careful. A frugal person understands the potential pitfalls of every financial decision
6. Understanding Value
The concept of value is a bit vague, but we’ve all heard the term “bang for your buck.” This means getting the most out of every dollar you spend. It doesn’t necessarily mean buying the cheapest item every time. Instead, it means avoiding luxury for luxury’s sake. And it means considering things like overall quality and durability of the items we buy.
Striving to be truly frugal is not an easy path to undertake. However, if you are able to start with some of the cornerstones mentioned above you will be on your way before you know it!By Cameron Yusko