How to Live Frugally?
In a heavily materialistic culture where “owning stuff” is more important than living a fulfilling life, frugalism is your best bet to ensure a happy existence. Frugalism is a lifestyle that dictates what you buy, how you buy, and how you live. If you are attracted to this concept, let’s explore the caveats of frugal living further and know exactly how you will achieve your goals.
Clearing off debts
The primary goal of a frugal lifestyle is not to live in a cheap way. Instead, it is to become finally independent by taking the right decisions. The first thing to do when making your financial records clean is to get rid of debts. The best way to do this to start a debt snowball. In this method, you first find out your smallest debt (i.e., the debt on which you have the smallest monthly payment) and pay that off first. Once that debt is over, you should use the money you freed up to make extra payments on the second smallest debt. Keep repeating this step until all your debt is over.
Get cash backs/coupons and discounts
A life without discounts and coupons will still be a good life. However, these offers help you in saving some extra money which could be used elsewhere. Cashback programs like Ebates are great for making small but meaningful savings on your regular purchases. Coupons help you in stocking up on things you like and get a better price for things you buy. This is especially true for groceries. Outright discounts are an even better way to save money. Over time, these small savings add up. Even saving $50 per month could help you pay off your debt more easily. Use these methods wisely to save more.
It is an essential part of a frugalist lifestyle. A home that is filled with “stuff” isn’t necessarily a good home. Some extreme frugalists get rid of furniture, extra appliances and everything else that they don’t need on a regular basis and live very comfortable lifestyles. Declutter your home and learn to give away things in charity or in yard sales. That big oven you rarely use? Give it away or sell it. It is only cluttering up your space. Have only 2 people at home? Get rid of that big refrigerator. You don’t need it. Also, considering downsizing your home if you think it is not meeting your needs. It could be difficult at first, but would eventually be helpful in building a better financial future.
Getting rid of shopping addictions
Several people use shopping as therapy to feel more fulfilled. We keep buying more and more stuff and dump them in our homes. If you declutter your home once, only to buy more things, you are not a frugalist. Make sure that you buy only those things that you really need.
Most people would buy new clothes and shoes just because a magazine or blog advises them to. Buy clothes when you need them and make sure that you don’t fall into the consumerist trap. Have you ever calculated how much money you spend on clothes alone every month? Don’t you think that not buying new clothes this season could help you build an emergency fund or pay off your debt?
Create an emergency fund
Most Americans have less than $1000 in their emergency fund. This means that in the case of an emergency, like a medical issue, these people will be stranded with no financial cushion. Though it is ideal to create an emergency fund with 3 to 6 months of expenses saved up, it would be very difficult to achieve in the beginning. Therefore, make a goal to save at least $1000 in a separate savings account. As soon as you achieve that, try to save up one month of expenses and then slowly move on to save up for 6 months at least.
They say that saving a few dollars every week won’t make you a millionaire. However, putting in the efforts to save that money and bring financial stability and discipline into your life is always worth the effort. Make sure that you don’t get disheartened along the way and continue living frugally. Just one year of this lifestyle will give you results for a lifetime.