by Martin Lukac

Being frugal is a never ending goal. It is something you constantly work on. You can always go a step further, save just a little more.

So if there is no end, where do you start?

There are five things that every person should know in order to live a frugal life.

1. Not every frugal idea is frugal for everyone.

There is a balance between frugality and time that is unique for each person. Some people have time to grind their own wheat into flour and make their own pasta from scratch. Some people only have the time to do simple things, like set the thermostat lower and use less laundry soap/shampoo/hand soap by thinning it with a little water. Some people find the time and it pays for them. Some people find that the time costs them. There are different changes to be made by everyone.

For example, as frugal as I am, I’ve never been able to shop with coupons. I just forget that I have them or don’t have time to use them. So when I shop, I buy a lesser quantity and shop sales.

2. You have to know how you spend your money.

It would be hard to reduce your spending if you don’t know what you are spending and where. You need to take the time to track your spending. Look at where, when and why you are buying certain items. You may be shocked at what you find. I know that the first time my husband and I did a budget, we were floored by how much money we were taking out of the ATM and just blowing here and there. But once we saw it, we were able to change it.

3. You can’t keep up with others, unless you want to join them in debt.

Life isn’t about your boat comparing to Bob’s boat. Or having the newest car. Or the latest gismo. Or appearing picture perfect. Or having everything you want.

Life should be about what is important to you. Not what is important to the neighbors. Look at your own goals and dreams when planning your finances. Don’t spend or buy anything unless you understand the consequences.

For example, if you are buying a boat because all your friends have boats, that may not be a great idea. If you only take it out once a year, that one trip is costing you thousands. If you take it out every weekend, the trips are costing you a lot less each time.

4. Start saving your savings.

So many people save nothing by saving. How does that work? They use coupons, they shop on sale, they don’t buy something that catches their eye. And then they turn around and spend the money on something else trivial. They aren’t really saving, they are postponing the spending.

When you save money, you need to go ahead and put the money in a jar until you have enough to put it in the bank. If you save $20 on a shirt you didn’t buy, put that $20 in your jar. If you save $1.59 on groceries, put that money in the jar. Many grocery stores receipts will even tell you how much you save. That makes it easier for you.

5. Set your goals and stick with them.

You have to have a reason to be frugal. Whether you want to get out of debt or go on a cruise, you have to have a goal. Don’t just leave it vague. Write down the specific steps you are going to take. Look at your goal every day. Keep it at the forefront of your money-thinking. When you consider whether or not you will buy something, look at how it affects your goal.

About the Author

Martin Lukac represents http://www.RateEmpire.com and
http://www.1AmericanFinancial.com, a finance web-company specializing in real estate and mortgage rates. We specialize in daily updates, mortgage news, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies!

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    Comments

    1. Great site! I’m glad I found it. I agree completely with number one. My wife and I talk about how there are shades of frugality. Some people can go Spartan while others are only comfortable with doing a few frugal things. One thing that annoys me to no end is when “frugal snobs” tell me I’m not being frugal enough.

    2. Anne Anson says:

      I like the part about saving the savings.. I’m not sure i can afford to dot hat regularly.. but I’ll give it a shot.. I want to got to Europe again, so i have to save up.. and earn more..I make wonderful stained glass, but right now.. no one is needing it that much… OOH but I do recall one possible job in Chicago..I think I’ll look into it.

      thanks for the column

      Anne

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