Planning is the most important part of Frugal Living
Frugal living is not particularly difficult. It can be time consuming yes, but not usually difficult. The hardest part of frugal living for many people is the planning required to make it happen. This is unfortunate because the planning is what I consider the most important thing to make living a frugal life work for you. If you don't live frugally right now, that might not make sense. Let me give you some examples.
If you are headed out for the afternoon to run errands you have a couple of options. You can either plan ahead and pack drinks and snacks for you and the kids (the frugal option) or you can forgo the planning and stop at a gas station or fast food restaurant when you get thirsty or hungry (the not so frugal option). It isn't hard to pack the drinks and snacks, but sometimes people don't want to be bothered with it. They don't want to plan ahead even for the inevitable. They end up spending way too much money and typically eating unhealthy foods because they didn't plan.
A big frugal activity is to hang dry your laundry. This even requires planning sometimes. Say your daughter has to dress a certain way for school one day. Knowing ahead of time you can either make sure the laundry is done in time for it to dry on the line or you can wait until the last minute and use the dryer.
Knowing that cars require repair, the frugal person will set aside money to cover car expenses ahead of time. When the repair needs to be done, they have the money to do it.
You know that kids grow. Like weeds sometimes. You know that if your child is in a size 10 right now, that eventually he or she will get to be a size 12. Planning ahead will allow you to shop second hand and clearance sales so that when your child needs that size you will have clothes on hand. If you don't plan ahead you will one day realize your child's pants are 2 inches too short and you have to run out to the store within a few days to pay full retail price for something that fits.
You know that you will eat lunch just about every day. Most people do. Planning ahead the night before will mean you will have something packed from home and not have to go out to eat. By doing this you save $5-10 every day.
Planning is the key to many frugal activities. I find that many frugal activities require more time than the non-frugal options. You need to plan for this time. In order to live a frugal life you need to be thinking through the things you do ahead of time in order to choose the most frugal option.
Planning your menus, planning your finances, planning your laundry and many more things can get tedious. I have found though that after a short time it becomes so second nature that rarely does something come up that I haven't already planned for. Planning ahead to make your frugal life work well might be difficult at times, but it is very much worth it in the end and after awhile you don't even have to think about it very hard for the planning to be done. You develop systems that work for you that require little extra effort. If you are trying to save money and live a frugal life, planning ahead for the expected and unexpected is one of the best things you can do.
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