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.