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Planning is the most important part of Frugal Living

Updated on February 16, 2010

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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    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 8 years ago

      Common sense and practicality are such rare qualities in this crazy, fast-paced world. Great Hub!

    • RackyB profile image

      Racquel Reid Wright 8 years ago from The Treasure Coast

      I always tell folk that being frugal is a financial blessing for my family. Raising 4 kids can be costy for those who don't know the ropes of "planning" everything on a daily basis. That's what I do daily!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great hub.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 8 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Discipline and planning are the best tools for the success of life.

    • MrSpock profile image

      MrSpock 8 years ago

      I agree, planning is a very important component of frugal living. It can also help to make you not look cheap.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Planning meals ahead and making a list and sticking to it will help alot. We have five children and had to do this.

    • JOE BARNETT profile image

      JOE BARNETT 8 years ago

      yes for anything you do. i certainly agree. good advice and a great hub!

    • ateenyi profile image

      ateenyi 8 years ago from Chicago

      Excellent Hub!!!!

      Planning is necessary in each and every aspect of life. The people who take proactive decisions are always on the winner’s side. Planning is most important part of frugal living. The hub is explicitly focused in this scenario. Thanks for sharing so nice information.

    • profile image

      Bill Harvey 8 years ago

      Good article and good ideas. May I add one? You might also plan for down-time. Bring a book or magazine (and perhaps something for the kids too), to make it easier to avoid expensive / fattening / otherwise non-frugal diversions when time needs killing (or better yet -needs filling.)

    • CuzzoShizzo profile image

      CuzzoShizzo 8 years ago from USA

      Living frugally is a huge challenge. It takes a lot of work to do but I have noticed that the more dedicated I am to it the better off I am. I notice that I have more money to do other things with when I cut out unnecessary spending.

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

      Excellent thoughts on living frugally. Planning is my weak spot, too.

    • Cedar Cove Farm profile image

      Cedar Cove Farm 8 years ago from Southern Missouri

      I think you and my wife would get along great. Keep up the good work.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 8 years ago

      When my children were young, I used to take them to a local park for a picnic lunch. It was that which made me believe the saying, The best things in life are free, is true.

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 8 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I used to be a planner, budgeter and frugal shopper. All that changed when my son got sick, and planning my day was no longer an option. Now that we have reached a new normal, and with finances being minimal, going back to my frugal ways would be beneficial.

      Thanks for the great Hub!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      You are so right. Unless you don't on planning you will find yourself in a mess. Thank you for a great hub.

    • abigail33 profile image

      Abigail 8 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Sticking to a written budget can be extremely difficult, but in the end it is worth it when you live on less than you make, and you can pay the bills, and have some left over.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks for those reminders. Such simple things if only we think and plan ahead. Really enjoyed reading.Now I must put it all into practise..

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 8 years ago from Philippines

      Planning is an essential key to a well-organized life. Planning can be easy, it's the implementation that gets you crazy. Therefore it needs a lot of self-discipline. You may plan to live a frugal life but if you can't control your spending, planning is just that- a plan. Nice share, Jennifer!

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      I am a big planner and love to plan ahead but sometimes don't know how to formulate those plans! Great hub, Jennifer!

    • proudgrandpa profile image

      proudgrandpa 8 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Jennifer I appreciate many things about your hubs. This one hits home because I have a moral objection to "Fast Fat" restaurants and after reading the labels on most stuff at the convenience stores I am not sure feeding your kids that stuff doesn't constitute abuse. I am a Pretzelholic and my Grandkids love them now. That and a bottle of water and they seem quite content. Planning is my week spot but you have nailed it, it saves money and teaches great lessons to the kids. One last thought to share, I dry all the heavy (hence long drying time) stuff like jeans and blankets, etc. on a line and during the summer there is a great freshness to take the place of the perfume of the dryer thingies. Thanks for a great hub. NEIL

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Great hub. Planning helps take away the chaos and that is a good thing.