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Frugal Living Is Not The Same As Cheap Living

Although this is a common belief, living frugally does not mean living cheaply just as healthy does not mean tasteless. Frugality means consciously working to get value for your money. This is not the same as lowering your standard of living in order to spend less.

A majority of people who are in debt today are so because of a mentality that equates shopping to entertainment. Do you understand the difference between frugality and being cheap? Review the following questions answering “yes” or “no” accordingly:

1. You have the latest cell phone in hand, but you are not able to call the plumber to fix the heating system and winter is round the corner.

2. In your mind buying frugally means buying sub-standard material, products or food.

3. You eat out almost every other day, and find yourself questioning the whereabouts of your finances before the month is over.

4. You are paying the minimum required payment on your almost maxed credit card, yet you cannot stop yourself from buying the latest designer label because it makes you feel good.

5. You always end up buying something because it looks cute or was available at a discount, but when you reach home you have no place for it or any use for the item.

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than one question, you are heading for trouble. You need to learn and adopt frugality in order to salvage your financial stability.

What is frugality?

Frugality is another way to say you should get value for money. How can you be a frugal shopper and get the best out of your hard earned money? The aim of frugal living is to ensure a healthy path to get out of and stay out of debt. Adopting a frugal lifestyle will allow extra funds to be saved in an account for future purchases, a down payment for a larger home or a nest egg for retirement. Every cent saved, is a cent earned for a future investment or luxury.

Frugal Shopping Means:

1. You buy only what you need. There is a clear and definable difference between what the necessities of life are and the wants and desires of excess. Needs are limited, however, wants are never ending. When considering the things you want, it is easy to get carried away and find an ever-growing list of costly desires. There will always be something else “you just have to have.” Now consider the necessities of life- Food, shelter, companionship of family and friends, health and financial stability. Purchases outside of those needs should follow certain guidelines. Buy items when they are on sale. Do not shop throughout the year. In fact, the best time to shop is out of season or just as the season ends, when sales are announced. Make a list of the things you must have and buy only those things at the best price you find. It is always a money savvy habit to comparison shop online so that you are not trapped into blind shopping.

2. Buy in bulk from wholesalers. Food in particular can be bought at a fraction of the cost for the same amount of items. Calculate your ration requirement per quarter or six months. Make a list of all the items that can be stored for that period of time without worrying about expiration dates. Buying in bulk allows consumers to save money and supply their needs for extended periods of time.

3. Only buy items that are priced fairly or reasonably. Often people just pick things up and decide to make the purchase with not so much as a glance at the price tag. That is fine if you are a multi-billionaire; but most of us are not. When you buy something, do check the price tag and ask yourself, “am I willing to pay this much for this? Is it worth this much money in the long run?” You will be surprised at how many times the answer that escapes your lips is a logical “no.” Do not look at this as depriving yourself. You are rewarding yourself in the future.

4. Buy the best. No, this is not the same as buying the most expensive. In fact, compromising on quality would usually be costlier in the end. Buying the best simply means to check the quality of items. It serves no purpose to save a few dollars if you end up having to buy the product again because it fails to sustain its usefulness.

5 Tips To Ensure Your Marriage Stays Happy

Marriage is a beautiful institution where in ideal conditions everything is supposed to be shared 50:50. This means both husband and wife decide to contribute to the building of their home (and I do not mean only brick and mortar) equally. What makes the 50% of the partnership depends upon the mutual agreement of the spouses – but often this means the men take care of the financial responsibility and the woman of the household.

Times have changed now. Women are educated, qualified and can earn sometimes more than their partners. In such conditions, money becomes a bitter tool for division and quarrel. You can still live happily ever after; if you decide to separate your financial life from domestic life.

If you find that you are constantly quarreling over money issues, stop. Take the following steps that could potentially save your marriage.

1 Discuss your fears. The first step is to establish dialogue. Stop fighting against one another and discuss what makes you feel bitter. Your spouse is not the enemy. He/she should understand you fears and definitely try to look for ways to give you more security.

2 Separate accounts. Let us assume that discussion did not give you a suitable solution. In that case, you separate accounts. This is viable even if the wife does not earn. The wife could still set up an account and ask the husband to dedicate a certain amount of money according to the expenses projected monthly. If the wife does have her own income, it is even simpler. Both could dedicate a portion of their salary to a joint household account for household expenses and savings. The remainder of each spouse’s salary becomes their personal money and should be kept in a separate account. This can alleviate some of the financially driven strife and stress.

3 Commit to common expenses. Maintaining separate accounts will work only when both commit equitably to the household expenses. It is important that both share the burden of running the home and make a concerted commitment to this effect. These expenses should also include retirement savings, vacations, etc.

4. Keep one another informed. Whenever one spouse invests or spends any money from their personal account, the other spouse should be informed. Never hide anything from your spouse regarding finances. In case of any mishap, your spouse and family should have access to your money. It is also a good idea to appoint someone as
beneficiary in case something unexpectedly happens to you. This person does not need to be your spouse. It could be your children, parents, friends, or an attorney.

5. Write a will. This is not to scare you. This is rather to make you realize the gaps that you could leave in case you die tomorrow. Ensure that you leave no loose ends in case something drastic happens. Let your spouse know about your debts, investments, and other financial obligations. You may be surprised to know that more than 45 percent of the people who die are under 50 years of age. Ensure that the will is drawn up legally so it will be followed in the event the worst happens. A will is a sign of care and concern for the people who you hold dear to your life.


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The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)


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