Frugal living, the new trend for clever people
Copyright: Novascotiamiss, 2011
What is frugalism?
Especially during the current economic crisis frugal living has gained popularity and is becoming widely accepted. While some of us are living frugally out of necessity, others are embracing this lifestyle simply because it makes more sense. After all, why should you pay more for less? With the household debt to income ratio rising to dangerous levels, people wake up and listen: Frugal living is not only for the poor, it’s for the clever! The way things are going, the Yuppies and the Joneses will soon be replaced by the Frugal. I wonder why nobody has come up with a hip term for a frugal person yet: Frugan, frugie, frugalitarian or frupel are just a few suggestions. While in the past frugality was connected to negative sounding words like stingy, penny pinching or even cheap, the tide has finally turned.
In a nutshell: Frugal people are well-informed consumers who use resources, time and money wisely with a no-frills approach. By avoiding unnecessary goods and services they reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment as well as on their wallet.
Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to live like a pauper in a mud hut. In the contrary. It simply means that you live well within or even below your means instead of keeping up with the extravagant lifestyle of the Joneses which, by the way, is financed and owned by the bank anyway! A frugal person lives on a budget rather than on credit and sometimes even manages to put something away for a rainy day. You won’t spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of Manolo Blahniks but you will spend a couple of hundred bucks on a pair of gore-tex hiking boots that will keep you warm and comfortable for years to come. Things have to be functional and of good quality rather than flashy. Cheap junk is out, which doesn’t mean that have to avoid the dollar shop altogether. There you may find every day household goods, birthday cards or certain foods a lot cheaper than in your average store. As long as it's the same quality, go for it! But you definitely won’t buy your child that one dollar toy made in China which will be kaputt before you even reach the car.
Reasons to join the frugal movement
- Frugal people sleep better because they are less likely to have credit card debt
- Frugal people are healthier because they watch what they eat and some even grow their own vegetables
- Frugal people are less obese because they walk that extra mile rather than driving. After all it's a cheap workout and they wear comfortable shoes
- Frugal people have a better family life because their kids will learn how to enjoy the simpler things in life from an early age
- Frugal people’s children face a less scary future because they don’t have unrealistic expectations and they are not destined to impress their friends with an extravagant lifestyle
- Frugal people are not scared of Christmas and birthdays because their family and friends won't tell them "I hate you", just because they didn't get the latest high-tech toy or designer clothes
- Frugal people are good planners because they know that Christmas and birthdays come around every year but the specials might not be on then
- Frugal people know exactly how much they own and what they owe, because they live on a budget
- Frugal people are more practical because they fix things, rather than replacing them
- Frugal people are less hesitant because they know exactly what they want
- Frugal people are proud of who they are and not of what they have
- Frugal people are tidy and take care of their things because most items were bought with hard-earned cash
- Frugal people have real friends and not the kind that needs to be impressed
- Frugal people are less stressed because they don’t have to keep up with the Joneses
- Frugal people are more environment friendly because they hate waste and they know that leaving the lights on 24 hours a day will cost $$$
- Frugal people are happier because they know how to appreciate the little things in life
- Frugal people know how to treat themselves. They don’t do it often but then it’s special
- Frugal people are flexible because they adapt their purchases according to what's on sale
- Frugal people are patient. They don't buy the latest high-tech gadget when it comes out, they wait a few months and get it a lot cheaper
- Frugal people retire earlier because they don’t owe the purchases of the last 20 years to the bank
Money doesn't make you happy and frugalism is not only for the poor
Now, while most of us are dreaming of winning the lottery, living in a big mansion, driving a Ferrari or owning a motor yacht that makes the Queen Mary look stupid, some of the world’s wealthiest men have realized that money and toys are not the secret to happiness. Despite the fact that they are multi billionaires, they don’t show off their wealth and they actually enjoy a frugal lifestyle. One more proof that frugalism isn’t only for the poor. Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim Helu, Ingvar Kamprad, Chuck Feeney and Frederik Meijer can teach us all a lesson. The following article is a real eye opener:
Frugal lifestyle tips
- Buy the things you need, not the things you want
- Don't go shopping with an empty stomach
- If you are an impulsive buyer leave your credit card at home
- Choose a product according to practicality and not according to impressiveness. E.g. what’s the point of driving a Porsche if you can’t afford it and your 3 kids and the dog won’t fit in the back? Why have a high-speed car if you live in the snow belt and the maximum speed is 110 km/h. Also think of the resulting costs. E.g. the maintenance of your Porsche will be a lot more expensive and so will your insurance premiums. Apart from that, driving a fast car will likely result in speeding tickets
- Think of the overall cost and not only the purchasing price (e.g. add all applicable taxes and if you pay off a credit card at 20% over the next 5 years, add at least another 100%). Cash is always best, you know exactly what you pay
- Don’t fall for bargains. The 2 for 1 shoe deal only makes sense if you really need two pairs of shoes. Otherwise rather wait for an end of season sale
- Don’t buy things just because they are cheap. Make sure they fit or that you have a use for them. If you can’t resist temptation, avoid sales and stay at home
- Little things add up. If you don’t have time to read the three magazines that you have subscribed to, cancel them
- Take out a library membership and loan movies, books and magazines
- Read store flyers and ads to get the best bargains
- Collect coupons. Even if it’s only a buck at the time, it will add up
- Subscribe to discount newsletters such as groupon, teambuy, The Dollar Stretcher etc. to hear about great deals for car services and other things that you really need. Resist all other unnecessary temptations
- Make your own cup of coffee and your lunch
- Learn how to cook frugalicious meals. Great cook books are Jamie Oliver’s “food revolution” and “meals in minutes”. Involve your whole family. Cooking together is fun and very educational
- Buy a freezer and freeze leftovers. A freezer will also allow you to buy perishables like meat, fish and frozen fruit and vegetables in bulk, when they are in season
- Buy seasonal produce at the local farm store or even better, grow your own
- Travel in low season and always check out the internet for the best deals
- Don't go shopping just because you are bored. Rather go for a walk. It's free and good for you
- Daily shopping will turn you into a shopaholic whereas occasional shopping will make you appreciative
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How to feed a family of 7 on an annual income of $ 35'000 and live debt free
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