There seems to be this a thought process among people today that frugal living is in and of itself a bad thing. I don’t think this is something that millennials came up with; I think it’s something we learned from our parents, and their parents before them. In fact, I would go as far to say that in the past frugality has mostly been practiced widespread during times of necessity. For example, the roaring 20’s were a time of excess, then we paired down in the 30’s and 40’s, and went right back to spending after WWII.
No matter who started the fire, the reality is that many of us are spending way outside of our means.
Frugal Equals Cheap
Do thoughts of ratty clothes and torn furniture come to mind when you think of frugal living? Take that thought and throw it into the trash where it belongs. Frugal living does not equal cheap!
While there indeed are cheap people in this world, living frugally does not automatically make you one. Frugal living means to live within your means. You want to own your things, not have your things own you.
If it’s going to take you six months to pay off that pair of jeans, they own you. Not the other way around. Instead, wait until that pair goes on sale or even buy them secondhand. Then you can wear them stress-free, without having to think about how much you owe on them.
Frugal Is A Necessity Not A Choice
If you think that frugal people only live that way because they have to, you couldn’t be more wrong. While many people do live a life of frugal living because they need to pinch their pennies, many wealthy people actually got that way because of their frugal habits.
In Thomas J. Stanley’s book The Millionaire Next Door he discusses the everyday habits of today’s millionaires, many of who are self-made. Things like buying a car that is at least two years old, so it doesn’t depreciate like crazy as soon as it drives off the lot. Many also purchase non-designer clothing and pay for their purchases in cash instead of using credit.
Frugality Is Impossible In The Long Term
Frugality is a mindset, not a temporary lifestyle change. If you are only looking at frugality as a means to an end, it can be hard to maintain. But, if you work to change the way your brain actually thinks at frugality it can be maintained in the long run.
The key is to see frugal living not as a way of closing doors, but of opening them. Think of your goals. They could be buying a house with cash, going on a vacation, or leaving a legacy for your kids. Frugal living can make that happen.
It’s also important to see that frugal living will not always look the same. Today it might look like a 2000.00 junker car, Ramen Noodles, and Goodwill jeans. Tomorrow it can look like a 30K car and a new Coach Tote; both paid with cash.
It’s not about depriving yourself. It’s simply about living within your means.
Frugal People Don’t Have Fun
Being frugal does not mean that you sit on your couch all day while the world passes by outside. In fact, being frugal often is a means of allowing you to get out and have fun. Being frugal can help save for a vacation, for one thing, but you can also have fun while you are saving.
There are a lot of free activities available in most communities. Museums, parks, festivals, and more. As long as it is within the budget. My husband’s hobby is Magic the Gathering, which can get expensive. But he still goes and plays every Friday night because we have worked it into our budget. The same goes for my knitting habit. Or my mom’s shopping habit.
Increasing Your Income Will Solve All Your Problems
One of my favorite Dave Ramseyisms is “You can’t outearn stupid.” Say it with you “You can’t outearn stupid!”
While increasing your income is a great thing, and can go a long way to help you get out of debt and build wealth, it won’t solve your problems. No matter how much you earn, if you are still spending more than you are bringing in, you will always have financial problems. In order to get your finances under control, you have to get to the root of the problem. You and your spending habits.
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