Frugality is a fantastic tool to help you live the life you really want. It is simple and freely available to anyone.
So what is frugality? In essence it is spending your money with care and purpose and not being wasteful. It is spending your money where it really means something to you, such as on school tuition, saving for a house or healthy groceries instead of something fleeting such as an expensive take-out pizza.
Frugality as a lifestyle has many, many benefits and it continues to grow dividends (!) the more you practice it. Here are my top 4 benefits:
- Frugality encourages you to be more creative and resourceful and look for interesting/unique solutions to problems. Do you want to read the latest cool novel? Instead of spending $16 and buying it how about checking it out of the library. Same goes for movies and CDs- the library is one of the best sources of free entertainment and learning around! A nice bonus about the library is once you’re done you give it back and you can avoid adding clutter to your house. How about food? Before going out to eat and spending a lot of money can you eat some food you have at home instead? If you have a few basic ingredients, such as pasta, sauce and frozen veggies maybe simply buying some grated cheese will help make dinner a lot more interesting! And you will save a lot versus buying a whole meal.
- Frugality helps you save for the big, important things in life. I’m endlessly amazed at how easily money can slip through my fingers and that’s one of the reasons I’m so grateful to frugality. It helps me to hang on to money and save it or invest it so I can put it towards important life goals. These goals are entirely personal, they can be short term such as saving to buy a new pair of shoes or longer term such as a home or retirement. But the important thing is that the money has a purpose.
- Frugality and savings can help give you a safety net when life gets hard. One of my main drives to be frugal is to have a wide “safety net” of savings if something bad/tough/challenging happens in my life. Money is simply a tool, a fantastic tool that can really, really help you if you have an emergency or fall on hard times. It can give you medical care, a roof over your head and food on your plate. It doesn’t replace love but it can be very helpful.
- Paying off and staying out of debt. In early 2012 I was deep in debt with high interest credit cards and a car loan and really upset and freaked about by it; and I had brought it all upon myself. Around this time I was reading a lot of personal finance blogs and began to “see the light” and became determined to pay off all my debt and never, ever go into debt again (except for a mortgage). I threw every single penny I earned at my credit cards and car loan and in one year had paid off all my debts. It was one of the greatest reliefs of my life.
The most basic formula for being frugal and saving money is: to spend less than you earn. That’s it! There is truly nothing more to it; admittedly however this is simple but not easy.
The more you can widen that gap between what you spend and earn the better (and to save the difference!). Any savings is awesome even if it’s only $5/month, but the more the better 🙂