Live Within Your Means
Spending less than you earn is a first step to being frugal. Keep your fixed expenses low, and steady, and over time you will build wealth. Simply put, live within your means people! You can also check out this great video from Saturday Night Live on why you shouldn’t by stuff you cannot afford.
Make it Stretch
Being frugal is about reducing your everyday expenses and making money stretch further.
There is a fine line between need v. want. Use your self control to curb spending, and if you can’t manage that, make it harder to access your money, or going to cash can also help some. If you can’t handle your spending, you can always go somewhere there is nothing to buy.
Sweat the Small Stuff
While there is certainly merit to saying not to sweat the small stuff, but when it comes to finances, that adds up quickly. Watching where your money goes on small stuff means that you can save your money for what really matters in life. Plus, defining luxury versus necessity is a matter of perspective. Though it is good to pay attention to where your money is going, remember that in the end it is all just stuff, and stuff has a sneaky way of breading stuff.
Sweat the Big Stuff
While eliminating your daily latte can certainly save money, the big savings are often in negotiating a higher salary, getting a good rate on your mortgage, ditching your car, or other big moves.
Frugal Finance Management
This also means managing your finances closely, tracking expenses, and taking the time to make sure that you are getting the most for your money. This means being persistent, diligent about follow up, and fight those fees!
Being frugal also gives you the confidence to stand up for your money and be willing to negotiate for reductions in everything from your internet bill to your rent. Just ask, you never know. Also, never pay in full until the service or goods are delivered to your satisfaction.
Whether it be paying off your credit card, buying your first place, or saving for retirement, being frugal can certainly help you reach your goals. Frugal meant that Miel was able to save $50k in 5 years even on top of other savings goals that were met.
We also believe that being frugal isn’t about being miserly and penny pinching in a scrooge type way, but rather giving appreciation for what you do have, even as it adds up slowly. If you are reading this, you should also appreciate that you live in relative affluence in comparison to most of the world.
Being frugal is great, but keep your ethics in mind by making sure that you always manage business deals ethically. Also, while going green is now all the rage, using resources wisely has always been a frugal way of living. Turning off the lights, making your home energy efficient, and driving less can save you a lot of green. Plus, learn how to shop organically for less.
Sharing the Wealth
Frugal also means consciousness to us. It means paying attention to where your money goes, and supporting small businesses in your community, such as food vendors at lunch.
Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples when breaking out your frugal cap at the grocery store. While it is best to spend consciously to begin with, returning what doesn’t work is also the frugal way to go, since returns really add up. Return policies are your friend. To avoid returns and extra stuff in your life, buy for right now rather than because it is a good deal, or you like it. We also practice waiting at least a month to buy anything not immediately necessary. Also, take advantage of freebies.
This is a great calculator that shows you how much you’ll save over a lifetime by shaving a bit off of your everyday expenses.
Buying frugal doesn’t always mean buying cheap. When it comes to purchases that are meant to last, you are much better off getting a good price on high quality products rather than paying the price of buying cheap crap.
Over the years we’ve done quiet a few random posts on frugal tips, whether it be changing your fonts size, buying boxed wine, swapping books and videos, or finding free summer stuff. Plus, 15 things you should never have to pay for (our vote for #15 is sex). Nine ways to save money, 66 ways to save money, six more ways to save money, 15 little ways to save money, and how to be a savvy shopper.
When All Else Fails…
While we are frugal whenever possible, sometimes it helps to just throw money at a problem to make it go away. Living frugally gives you to freedom to make that choice with the extra money you’ll have.