Being frugal involves making conscious and careful choices about where money is spent and how resources are used. A frugal lifestyle does not mean a life that is devoid of entertainment or good food. It does mean a lifestyle that does not deal in excesses. There are some very basic tenets that all people who live frugally follow in order to be successful.
Keep a Positive Attitude
One of the largest barriers that people face when attempting to live frugally is the sense of being deprived. Living frugally involves cutting back on spending and changing some lifestyle habits. These changes need to be framed mentally in the correct context in order to avoid creating a situation where a person feels as if frugal living is a punishment or hardship. Individuals who are able to keep a good attitude while cutting back on spending know exactly when to spend a little extra in order to remain happy. Balancing the things that make life enjoyable without spending too much can make frugal living very easy.
Create A Budget and Stick To It
The single most important action that can be taken to ensure a frugal lifestyle is to make a written budget. This is a list of all income and all expected costs over the course of a week or month. A budget provides a breakdown of exactly where all of the money in a household is going. Excessive and unnecessary spending can very quickly become apparent by studying a budget. It is also very important to follow a budget once it has been made. This means avoiding impulse purchases and working within the framework that has been established.
Reuse and Recycle
A large amount of money can be saved over the course of a year if some common items are reused or recycled. Shopping bags can be used as trash bags, empty water bottles can be refilled and torn old clothes can be used as rags for cleaning. Broken pieces of furniture or malfunctioning electronics can sometimes be repaired for less money than purchasing a new unit. It is important to look at every object before it is thrown in the trash to make certain that there is not another better use for it. At the same time, it is important to realize when a piece of cloth or an appliance has reached the point where it must be disposed of.
Look For Discounts
Shopping will remain an intrinsic part of living frugally no matter how many tricks are used to reduce consumption. A large percentage of retailers and e-commerce sites are almost always offering some type of discount. Finding these discounts can sometimes be a challenge but they are usually present somewhere. The cost of groceries can be reduced greatly through the use of coupons and by paying attention to in-store deals that could double or triple the value of each coupon.
Conserve Water and Energy
Electricity and water can be very large expenses each month. Conserving energy and water can help to reduce these bills. Electricity can be saved by keeping unneeded lights off, keeping thermostats away from extreme temperatures and upgrading appliances to more energy-efficient models whenever possible. Water conservation can mean taking a bath instead of a shower, using rainwater for a lawn or garden and fixing any leaking faucets in the home. These steps can help to free up money each month that can then be saved.
Rebecca Glasbergen is a business administrator and guest author at TopCollegesOnline.com and contributor to the guide to the most affordable online bachelors degrees.