This post originally appeared on Arrest Your Debt and has been republished with permission.
Often , the word frugal is associated with negativity. Although a frugal life seems like a lot of sacrifices, it doesn’t have to be. Living a frugal life should add value to your life.
So , What’s a Frugal Lifestyle?
This is where you get deliberate with your spending habits . You tend to prioritize things that matter most and cut back on items or things that don’t matter.
Frugality doesn’t mean foregoing the basics and needing to save more. It doesn’t mean missing an adventurous vacation or missing a night out party. Frugality means creating an approach where you choose when to live largely and when to be stingy.
And frugality doesn’t mean living a low, cheap, and confusing life. Being frugal is assessing your goals and desires and choosing to spend less. For instance, you may choose to cut your budget but still spend money on quality things.
Is a Frugal Lifestyle Worth It?
Being a spendthrift leads to fights, debts, and even depression. If you can’t control your spending habits, then being frugal is the ultimate choice.
Frugality means tons of sacrifices, but they add up to more extensive benefits in the end. It might not be a comfortable lifestyle, but it’s possible to change your life.
5 Benefits of Frugality
Are you wondering what frugal living can do for you? I’m glad you asked. Here are fabulous things it can do for you.
1 . Promotes Creativity
When the paint on your walls fades, you might think of contacting a professional painter. Well, you can guess how much you’re going to spend. But you can get creative and paint your own walls.
Painting is a simple task that needs very few skills. Go to a local hardware store and rent some painting tools. Designate your entire weekend to give your room a new face. You’d be surprised how much you’ll save. You’ll also enjoy the satisfaction and joy that comes from working with your hands.
When you live a frugal life, you continuously think of ways to circumvent buying things.
2 . Eco-Friendly
Every frugal decision plus strategy has a positive environmental impact. You’ll avoid wasting food, drive less, buy fewer items, use AC sparingly, and turn off appliances to save on bills .
Instead of buying vegetables, you can have a kitchen garden to save on grocery costs. Growing food creates a conducive, pollution-free environment.
You’ll meet more people through donating, lending, sharing, and giving away your time in addition to stuff. By helping your friends and getting assistance in return, you can build genuine friendships and relationships.
4. More Savings, More Investments
This is the most apparent benefit of frugality. Living a frugal lifestyle means you’ll have more money to save and invest.
Being truly a savvy saver prevents you from leading your family into financial struggles. Live within your means, and you won’t get stressed over things you don’t need.
5. Ability to Ride out a Financial Crisis
When you’re living beyond your means, you cannot ride out a financial crisis or weather debt-filled storms. Life happens, and unexpected financial situations will hit you. And if you don’t have an emergency piggy bank, you can end up in a terrible financial situation.
And this is not just about economic storms like a crashed stock market . It can be closing your business, losing your job, or medical struggles.
8 Tips to Live a Frugal Life
If you’ve never attempted frugality, it may seem quite a challenge at first. But don’t shy from making some changes that can give you financial freedom. And as you try various frugal strategies, remember there are no one-size-fits-all tricks.
1 . Create and Stick to Your Budget
Creating a budget helps you get in control of your finances. It’s an excellent way of saving money for your financial goals. First, you need to determine your income and track your spending. This way, you can categorize your expenditures and make necessary adjustments.
List the fixed expenses such as a mortgage, business loan, rent, water, and electricity bills. You can figure out what to cut down. For instance, you can downsize your home to cut on rent and utility bills.
List your short-term and long-term goals and even identify your priorities. Use the fixed expenses for accuracy in knowing what you need.
Once you document your spending and income, you can see where you spend your money most. Can you reduce coffee intake from a restaurant? What about skipping a movie night and watching it at home? You can let your buddies know that you won’t be joining them daily for evening drinks.
2 . Bike or Walk When You Can
Instead of using Uber to get to work each day, you can walk or bike. Alternatively, you can use public means, and you’ll be surprised how much you can save.
Walking or biking to your job will save you some cash and keep you fit–talk about a “win-win! ” Walking to the workplace is an excellent way to meditate and boost your mental wellbeing.
3. Purchase a Car You Can Afford
Buying a car is a significant investment. It’s critically important to purchase a vehicle you can afford. First, you need to know the total loan and other hidden fees. Use a car calculator to determine the principal amount and interest rates.
Experts suggest your car expenditures should not exceed 10% of your income. Don’t allow the bells and whistles associated with luxury vehicles to overcome your logic. Remember, you are frugal, and saving is your primary goal.
4. Buy Preloved Items
Buying used items is inexpensive compared to new alternatives. Some things are more than 90% cheaper than new items. Used items don’t require new resources, so they don’t generate as much pollution.
The production of products pumps a considerable amount of pollution into the air–including carbon emission, chemicals, and pesticides. For instance, a typical passenger car emits 4. 6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year .
five. Pay Debts on Time
Paying off your debt requires a great deal of discipline and motivation. Debt is a threat to your finances because it hinders you from making the most of your income. What you spend paying off debt could be saved for rainy days.
Debt leaves you with less money to spend on things you want. It also leads to stress , which in turn can lead to serious mental health issues.
8. Buy in Bulk
Bulk buying minimizes cost per unit, which reduces the total cost. Bulk buying reduces packaging and food waste. It also eliminates single-use and fancy packaging plastics, which are harmful to the environment.
Decide the debts you should pay off first. Some come with high-interest rates with shorter payment periods. You may choose to first clear debts with the lowest balance.
But if you cannot manage to clear your debts , you might file bankruptcy. This way, you might be able to cancel or discharge the responsibility to repay debts. It’ll also give you a chance to rebuild your credit score.
However , be careful when filing with regard to bankruptcy. Filing too early can make you lose the property. Or you may file bankruptcy that’s not in your best interest.
Recently, there is a renewed push regarding downsizing. Homeowners and renters realize that living large doesn’t necessarily mean living a happy and better life. Downsizing helps you stop wasting money on home appliances, furniture, and electronics.
Downsizing also means cutting bills almost in half. You can use the money saved for other projects or passions. A smaller house is easy and fast to clean to ensure you don’t waste time. It minimizes your daily chores and maintenance activities.
Downsizing opens a new chapter in life. This teaches you how to be frugal yet still live a comfortable life. You only need to buy a few pieces of furniture and be creative with space.
Mix dynamic colors to draw attention to your decoration.
7. Frugal Traveling
Being frugal doesn’t mean you miss vacations. It means traveling frugally and still taking adventurous trips. First, learn to travel during the off-season.
Traveling off-season means booking accommodation at reduced rates. You can get fantastic package deals from hotels that are struggling to fill their rooms. If you want to avoid crowded squares and long lines, then traveling off-season is ideal.
Opt to visit a place with a fully furnished kitchen to avoid eating out. Cooking helps you choose ingredients and the amount of food to eat.
With fewer tourists and less drowsy workers, you can take time to explore the locals. Sometimes, visiting parks is free when the season is low.
When you buy goods in bulk, you’ll make a few trips to the market. This means reduced transport miles and fuel consumption.
Frugality needs a bit of sacrifice and discipline. Nevertheless , think of it positively where you can unleash your creativity and put money under your control. Try out these few frugal way of life strategies and find what works best for you.