Friday, July 29, 2011

Frugal Living

Money, Money, Money
Image and Graphics by Me :)

The modern world is driven by consumerism. Every minute of every day we are bombarded with messages buy goods and services, whether we need them or not, and more importantly, whether we can afford it or not. This type of impulsive consumerism causes people to live outside of their means, which will ultimately lead to debt.

Frugality on the other hand can be considered as the opposite of consumerism. It is defined by modern behavioural scientists as the tendency of acquiring good and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services to achieve a longer term goal. It isn’t about living a life of sacrifice and deprivation. It’s about living smarter, so that you can afford to live the life you want to live.
Being frugal is a personal lifestyle choice. It helps you to live within your means and to avoid impulsive spending habits. This will in the long run let your enjoy the things you have without being in debt.

Frugal living means:

  • Smarter money management.

  • Smarter spending

  • Harnessing your creativity

Make a budget. Know what you have in the bank and how much you need to cover the monthly bill so that it will allow you make better decision about how your money is spent. It will also help you to know where you stand in you debt repayments, saving goals and investments. These are key steps to taking charge of your money and making it work for you.

Smarter spending habits go hand in hand with smarter money management. Identify the price that you can afford and try to find the best deals until your expectations are met. Likewise, know when not to shop. Try to stick to the budget you made and not make any unnecessary purchases that doesn’t fit to it.
When you are dealing with limited resources, and you will have to be more creative to make the best of it. A frugal person can increase savings by reusing, repurposing and creating.

The following tips are from an article in the Reader’s Digest, written by Julie Rains, titled “8 Tips on how to stay frugal”. Unfortunately there is no online version of it available.

Don’t Let Frugality Inhibit your Ambition
You don’t have to earn less just because you want to live a frugal lifestyle. Have worthy goals in life and strive to achieve them. The key is not to make money the key factor that drives all you decision making, be it career of life.

Take Excellent Care of Yourself
Being frugal should improve your health and mental outlook and not be hazardous to your well beign. Eating healthily and regular exercises are key to healthy living.

Take Excellent Care of the Things You Own
When you take care and have proper maintenance of the things that you do own, they will last longer.

Stay on Top of Technology
Technology isn’t a bad thing. Used properly it can actually help you. These days, the newest technology is not a luxury, and many items are functional and helpful.

Go on Adventures
Frugality is spending what you have wisely and doesn’t mean never allowing yourself to splurge on trips you can afford.

Become an Expert in Something
Finding a hobby that interest you and devoting your time to it can distract you from the bombardment of marketing messages that push you to consume impulsively.

Be Nice to the Wealthy
Make friends and don’t worry about your differences in spending habits. Frugality is more about pursuing your dreams and not letting someone else define your successes. Saving a few Rupees and being debt free is just an added bonus.

Forgive Yourself for Frugal Lapses
Don’t be hard on yourself if dare to splurge once in a while.

A frugal lifestyle is identifying what you want in life and finding ways to achieve them through limited resources. A few rupees saved and invested don’t mean a life of depravation, but of possibilities. It’s a matter of conditioning your mind. Eventually, a frugal lifestyle will let you live a simple life.

Sources: Reader’s Digest, Wikipedia,

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