Living Frugally – Can you do it?
“Live within your means”. Everyone tells us to do it. So how come some of us just can’t?
The idea of living frugally has two components to it which will make you successful. With the first being our mindset towards actually getting into frugal habits, and some of the barriers that prevent us from doing so. And the second being the actual activities that help us live frugally.
People get caught up in this notion that they need to project their value onto the rest of society. This is assumed to be done by having nice cars, a nice house, fancy toys etc.
But I think people forget that a fundamental behavior of humans is that we generally only care about ourselves. People on the sidewalk might care about seeing a nice car for one minute, then they go right back to worrying about their own problems and lives. So you bought a car which you believed would demonstrate your value, but in reality are only getting a brief acknowledgment from others.
This doesn’t mean that if you bought the nice car for yourself and you really like it, that you are in the wrong. That is perfectly fine. As long as you can afford it.
But if you are purchasing a nice vehicle, just because you believe you should have one because everyone else does, well that’s where I take issue. Do you really need it? Are you able to remain financially free with this new asset? If not, then maybe rethink your impending purchase.
So maybe you could start approaching life with this realization that ultimately, people tend to care more about themselves and their own value to truly admire fancy things.
I think once you free yourself from competing with the Jones’s, and start to think this way, then living frugally will come a lot easier. It is very liberating when you no longer care about what other people will think about your purchases.
So, mental mindset aside, how do you actually live frugally?
Well, my friend, there are TONS of ways.
A lot of these activities will seem like common sense, but we may not be in the habit of doing them. This includes bringing lunch to work, staying at home in the evenings, getting rewards from credit cards, and repairing items whenever possible.
Check out my post on Managing your finances like a Boss!
But frugality can also be a part of big decisions as well. Such as deciding to live in a smaller house, or buying a smaller vehicle, or taking transit to work (if possible). Really, frugality can be apparent in all aspects of your life.
Living frugally also comes from using everything to the fullest, whether that be cleaning supplies, making sure no food goes to waste, and using any other items completely before throwing them out.
You can also DIY items that would cost more if you bought them from the store, such as dryer sheets (I just learned this, so cool!), face masks, certain cleaners, décor, etc. Just take a look around your house to see if you could possibly be making any of the items yourself.
Another good way to be frugal is to stockpile items that you WILL use when they are on sale. This includes toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, paper towel, and so on. I sometimes don’t do this, and then feel silly when I have to pay the full price for an item that I would have definitely used and could have bought it on sale earlier.
Living frugally is not that difficult… once you have overcome the idea that you should be purchasing certain things just because everyone else has. Comparison gets us nowhere!
It also takes some habit creation. We are used to being convenienced by grocery stores to provide us all the items that we could possibly want, when in reality we could be making some of the items from home.
I hope this post help you consider how you are spending your money, and what habits you currently have. Maybe there is room for change? Or maybe you are just killin’ the frugal game!