beginning frugality http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/15048/all en-US A Step-by-Step Guide for When Friends Ask for Help Being Frugal http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4636580267_78577a84bd_z_0.jpg" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don&rsquo;t consider myself a personal-finance expert, but as a writer for a variety of personal finance blogs, my friends think I&rsquo;m a guru of all things money.</p> <p>Because I&rsquo;ve made a mini-career out of doling out money-saving advice, I field lots of queries on how people can cut back on this thing or that. I can offer solutions, sure, but the one concept that many people in need of help don&rsquo;t understand is that being frugal is a lifestyle &mdash; and one that takes a considerable amount of dedication if you want to reap the positive results.</p> <p>So when someone asks my help for being frugal, I start at the beginning &mdash; with their budget &mdash; and work my way through the aspects of their life that are costing them the most. From how much they&rsquo;re spending on eating out to shopping smarter to replacing disposable products with reusable ones, here are my basic rules for being frugal. Take note. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-lend-to-friends-and-family">Should You Lend to Friends and Family?</a>)</p> <h3>1. Compare Your Income Against Your Expenses</h3> <p>The first step you need to take to make changes to your spending habits is identifying how much you make, how much you spend, which parts of your life cost the most, and how you can cut back. I can almost guarantee that rent and food &mdash; two necessities &mdash; consume a major portion of your paycheck. So many people think there&rsquo;s nothing they can do about that, but they&rsquo;re wrong (and perhaps lazy). If you&rsquo;re struggling to afford rent, you have a few choices, which include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-having-a-roommate-besides-saving-on-rent"> bringing in a roommate</a> to offset the cost if you have the extra room or moving to a more affordable home.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s food. It always baffles me that the people who complain the most about never having any money are always the ones eating out and ordering in. If you want to save more money, go to the grocery store (with a list; I&rsquo;ll get to that important piece of the frugal pie in a minute) and buy fresh foods that you can make at home. You&rsquo;ll save much more money per meal that you will when you&rsquo;re eating food that you didn&rsquo;t make &mdash; especially because you don&rsquo;t have to tip yourself.</p> <h3>2. Shop With Lists</h3> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re going to the supermarket to buy groceries or to Target to pick up cleaning supplies, arm yourself with a list, and stick to it. Whenever I&rsquo;ve entered any store without a list, I go overboard &mdash; never fails. What was meant to be a $20 trip to Target turns into a $100 trip to Target because I don&rsquo;t have that piece of paper to help keep me in line. It may seem like a silly idea to consider that a Post-it note helps me save money, but not if you believe that willpower is the shaky foundation on which bankruptcy is built. I have no willpower when I go into stores, which is why I&rsquo;ve stopped shopping inside supermarkets all together. I started shopping online &mdash; with my list &mdash; so I&rsquo;m not tempted in the slightest to get sucked in to any of my favorite brands&rsquo; shiny, tasty marketing strategies.</p> <h3>3. Cut Out All Unnecessary Expenses Immediately</h3> <p>Not using that pricey gym membership as much as you&rsquo;d like? Get rid of it. I was paying nearly $90 a month for a gym membership that I used maybe once a month until I finally cut the cord. Now I buy monthly deals to local gyms that I find on daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social for less than $40 a month, and many of them include extras like a free personal-training session or premium fitness class. Go through the rest of your subscriptions and membership and figure out which ones you can live without. If you don&rsquo;t watch <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">cable TV</a> on the actual TV anymore, kill it. If you can use free Wi-Fi somewhere nearby and can live without constant access inside your home, get rid of that, too. These are major changes, for sure, but you&rsquo;ll see major savings right away.</p> <h3>4. Replace Your Disposable Items With Reusable Items</h3> <p>I know a lot of people on tight budgets who buy disposable products like they&rsquo;re going out of style. Several guys in my circle, for instance, choose to buy paper plates and plastic utensils to avoid washing dishes. That laziness costs a lot of money month to month (and, not to mention, ruins the environment). Granted, many of us are not dining that way, but very few of us can actually claim that we don&rsquo;t use paper towels on a regular basis. HUGE waste of money there too; you&rsquo;re literally throwing it away. Instead, buy reusable, washable dishtowels to clean up spills and messes. When you&rsquo;re done, toss them in the washer with the rest of the soiled linens and prepare them for round two.</p> <h3>5. Change Your Entertainment Habits</h3> <p>If you worried about not having enough money, then you shouldn&rsquo;t be spending it with abandon. Unfortunately, sacrifices must be made. You&rsquo;ll need to spend less time at the corner bar, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-movies-in-the-theater-for-free">local movie theater</a>, nearby arcade, golf course, shooting range, pottery class &mdash; the list goes on and on. Whatever you&rsquo;re into must be scaled back. That&rsquo;s not to say that you can&rsquo;t have any fun at all, but it&rsquo;s reasonable expectation that you can&rsquo;t live like royalty if you don&rsquo;t have a royal&rsquo;s bank account. With all that free time on your hands, consider filling those voids with a side gig (that could actually be fun, by the way) to help you earn more money instead of spending it.</p> <p>No one wants to admit they&rsquo;re lazy, but in my experience it&rsquo;s the main reason why the people I know who want to save money but somehow can&rsquo;t, don&rsquo;t. Change is never easy &mdash; and saving money is harder than that &mdash; but if you&rsquo;re serious about turning your financial situation from a negative to a positive, you&rsquo;ll have to spend more time thinking about how to save money and implementing those strategies instead of taking the easy way out, handing over the cash, and inevitably complaining about it later.</p> <p><em>Penny for your thoughts </em><em>&mdash; I&rsquo;d love to hear what you think about this advice on how to help someone be frugal. Let &rsquo;er rip in the comments below. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-costs-that-hurt-your-wallet">10 Hidden Costs That Hurt Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle beginning frugality friends talking money with friends Wed, 12 Sep 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Mikey Rox 954441 at http://www.wisebread.com Youth and Money: Finding the Frugal Balance http://www.wisebread.com/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/603139197_af9798439b_z.jpg" alt="young woman with a bandaid" title="young woman with a bandaid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At a relatively young age, there are several decisions you must make that will set you on a certain path for the rest of your life. If that&rsquo;s not daunting enough, add money to the equation &mdash; the frugal habits you learn (or don&rsquo;t learn) now can affect the security of your finances well into your retirement years. &ldquo;But I&rsquo;m young, I&rsquo;ll worry about that later,&rdquo; you might try to argue. Unfortunately, refusing a financial education now can produce disastrous results.</p> <p>So if you don&rsquo;t want to be broke at age 65 but you want to enjoy your youth while you still have it, how do you strike a balance between work and play? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-student-discounts">The Big List of Student Discounts</a>)</p> <h2>Stay Ahead of the Pack</h2> <p>Math isn&rsquo;t as useless as many students make it out to be. It may not be a fascinating school subject, but in regards to financial matters, it&rsquo;s one of the most important subjects you&rsquo;ll ever study. Many colleges and universities offer basic personal finance classes, but since they&rsquo;re generally not required for non-economics majors, many people choose to pass on them.</p> <p>To give yourself an edge over your peers, <em>take this class.</em> Read up on the subject if there are no classes in your area. Wise Bread&rsquo;s archives are overflowing with helpful articles on nearly every aspect of personal finance imaginable, so inform yourself as much as you can on the subject. This knowledge, if applied in real life, ought to provide you a secure financial future while a few of your peers live paycheck-to-paycheck for the duration of their working lives.</p> <h2>Focus Less on &ldquo;Stuff&quot;</h2> <p>As a wise fictional character named Tyler Durden once said, &ldquo;The things you own end up owning you.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now, <em>Fight Club</em> may not be the best source of information when it comes to personal finance matters, but there is truth in the above statement. With each passing generation, we seem to become more and more focused on acquiring as much &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; as possible. Why? Because technology is improving, prices are declining (relatively speaking), and our culture is washed in advertisements and a &ldquo;keeping up with the Joneses&rdquo; mentality.</p> <p>In this never-ending pursuit for more things, impulsive spending problems are common. Perhaps the credit card debt crises affecting millions of people around the world could be blamed on this mindset, but regardless of the core reason for our spending problems, one lesson stands out &mdash; exercising restraint when it comes to buying something (even food items) is enormously beneficial to your finances. The younger you learn how to separate the needs from the wants (and make your purchases accordingly), the better off you&rsquo;ll be long-term.</p> <h2>Balance Is Key</h2> <p>Enjoy life now or later? Does it have to be a choice between the two? Sometimes it seems that way &mdash; when you&rsquo;re young and the world is at your fingertips, it&rsquo;s natural to want to live it up as much as possible before nuisances such as rent, bills, and a nine to five job come into the picture. The problem? Lack of money. Then there are your golden years, when you&rsquo;re done with working. You're probably funded by Social Security at this point (and a 401(k) or IRA if you planned well), and the world is, once again, at your fingertips. The problem? Your body and level of energy simply aren&rsquo;t what they used to be.</p> <p>The key to solving both aforementioned problems is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">find a balance in your life</a>. Don&rsquo;t waste away your youth by overworking in hopes of an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trading-work-for-never-ending-weekends-how-to-retire-early">early retirement</a>. Of course, you also don&rsquo;t want to get into the habit of spending everything you make, or you&rsquo;re going to have nothing when it comes time to retire.</p> <p>Balance comes from informing yourself about personal finance, knowing when to back off on saving, and knowing when to splurge a little and enjoy your youth while you still have it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/im-financially-free-now-what">I&#039;m Financially Free. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living">A Beginner’s Guide to Frugal Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally">What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Living Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/balancing-living-in-the-now-with-planning-for-the-future">Balancing Living in the Now With Planning for the Future</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-on-the-installment-plan">Retirement on the installment plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Retirement balance beginning frugality impulsive spending Tue, 01 May 2012 10:00:18 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 926053 at http://www.wisebread.com What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Living Frugally http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebread_whatIwishIhadknown.jpg" alt="Magic 8 Ball" title="Magic 8 Ball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been a fairly frugal person. I didn&rsquo;t decide to be frugal one day or make a resolution on January 1 of any particular year. Evolving in the &quot;frugal arts&quot; has been more a path of gentle reminders and little lessons that have kept me on the straight and narrow. But early on, there was so much I didn&rsquo;t know. As a younger person in my early twenties, frugality was a guiding, albeit much grayer concept, and I had no idea of the wide network of people who were following a similar path and having similar struggles.</p> <p>If I could speak one-on-one to that fresh-faced 22-year-old just out of college, there&rsquo;d be a few pieces of advice I&rsquo;d give on the topic of frugal living &mdash; advice that might have saved him some stress, confusion, and money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When&nbsp;Starting to Live Frugally</a>)</p> <h3>It Gets Easier</h3> <p>Frugality is a skill. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Eventually, whole categories of expenses will buckle and fall to your instant and flawless number-crunching. Meanwhile, enjoy the small pleasures and keep your eye on the prize.</p> <h3>It&rsquo;s Not Necessarily How Much You Make; It&rsquo;s How Much You Save</h3> <p>Our society puts so much emphasis on making money and very little on saving it. Most people think the path out of money problems or the road to a more secure financial future is paved with higher-paying jobs. While there&rsquo;s certainly nothing wrong with career advancement, without the fundamental skills on how to manage it, more money often means just more spending and bigger debt. But even with a very modest income, amazing feats of savings can be achieved with the right mindset and discipline. In short, never be fooled into thinking that you make too little to save, and never be lulled into believing that you make so much that you can catch up later.</p> <h3>Frugality Is Even More Important Than You Think It Is</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dreams-you-wont-achieve-unless-you-live-below-your-means">Living within your means</a>, living simply, and saving for goals and for retirement are important in ways you can&rsquo;t even conceive of yet. As you get older, you&rsquo;ll thank yourself for saving early, avoiding debt, and letting the magic of compounding interest do much of work for you. Though money isn&rsquo;t everything, being on the wrong side of 40 is just a little bit &ldquo;righter&rdquo; when you have a firm grasp on the financial fundamentals.</p> <h3>There Are Young People Just Like You; You&rsquo;re Part of a Movement</h3> <p>Though the idea of frugality may, at times, feel like the quaint sport of an older generation, take comfort &mdash; you&rsquo;re not alone. In about ten years everyone will be connected via a network of personal computers, and you&rsquo;ll see on a global level just how many folks are spurning over-consumption, living simply, and talking and writing about frugality. Stay tuned.</p> <h3>Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability Are All Petals on the Same Flower</h3> <p>It sometimes takes years to reach a vantage point where you can see how ideas are connected. Though they sometimes seem abstract, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">frugality, simplicity, and living sustainably</a> are all part of the same idea. It&rsquo;s nearly impossible to live a truly frugal life without simplifying and being mindful of the environment and sustainability concerns. As you grow into your lifestyle and connect with others, you&rsquo;ll finally begin to see just how cohesive all of your disparate interests actually are.</p> <h3>Oh...and There&rsquo;s a Big Recession Coming</h3> <p>Crystal ball time &mdash; in about 20 years, through a series of global financial missteps, the whole economic house of cards will tumble. Small successes now and larger lessons later will inform how prepared you are and how much of a personal adjustment you&rsquo;ll have to make in response to some serious new economic realities. (Meanwhile, don&rsquo;t invest in anything called &quot;OTC derivatives.&quot;)</p> <p>Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Whatever lessons I&rsquo;ve managed to learn so-far have come at the right time and in largely the right way. I wonder though, if I were to have a similar conversation with myself 20 years from now, what would my 65-year-old self have to say?</p> <p><em>What do you wish you had known when you started on your frugal path? What&rsquo;s the most valuable thing that frugal newbies should know?&nbsp;</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal">A Step-by-Step Guide for When Friends Ask for Help Being Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle beginning frugality community savings account simplicity Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:24:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 909695 at http://www.wisebread.com A Beginner’s Guide to Frugal Living http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holding_starbucks_cup_0.jpg" alt="Woman holding Starbucks mug" title="Woman holding Starbucks mug" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don&rsquo;t do frugal living perfectly. There are times (usually around 8:00 a.m. on a Monday) when I cannot be stopped from my single-minded march toward Starbucks. At other times, I willfully disregard everything I know about paying retail and (albeit begrudgingly) fork over $75 for a pair of jeans. Still, I consider myself a pretty frugal guy. The broad brushstrokes of my life are characterized by financial decisions that are well-considered and based on clear financial goals.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re new to frugal living, fear not. Most of us are still learning, and we can all be tempted to veer off track at times. For the newbies out there, here are seven principles to keep in mind as you enter the ranks of the frugal &mdash; it&rsquo;s a sort of beginner&rsquo;s guide that we&rsquo;ve all had to learn (and often, relearn). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pace Yourself</h2> <p>Adopting a simpler and more frugal lifestyle can take a bit of practice. Embrace it by degrees. Diving in and cutting your monthly budget by 50% all at once will only be a shock to your system and leave the entire family feeling pinched and resentful. It takes time to phase out unnecessary expenses and gradually redirect your resources to align with your goals.</p> <h2>2. Understand Your Goals</h2> <p>Saving money in and of itself may be a worthy enough goal. After all, we all know we&rsquo;ll need it &mdash; we just may not yet know when or why. But a smarter, more motivating approach is to understand specifically why you&rsquo;re saving. Is it for an earlier and more comfortable retirement? To start your own business? To finally pay off the mortgage? To just sleep better at night? Having a &ldquo;vision&rdquo; for your financial life will help drive your frugal choices.</p> <h2>3. Get on the Same Page</h2> <p>For couples or families, no financial decision is made in a vacuum. Make sure your significant other is as committed to reinventing your financial life as you are. Reach a common goal or set of goals and understand what changes and sacrifices are needed from each person. Encourage each other and redirect each other when necessary.</p> <h2>4. Sacrifice &mdash; Selectively</h2> <p>Living a frugal lifestyle doesn&rsquo;t mean saying &ldquo;no&rdquo; to everything. Rather, successful frugality means understanding your priorities so that the &ldquo;yeses&rdquo; are aligned with your priorities. It&rsquo;s still okay to indulge from time-to-time,&nbsp; and it&rsquo;s still okay to splurge because those moments are balanced by an overall money management style that is driven by clear boundaries. Feel like a lunch out on a Friday? Go for it. You can because you&rsquo;ve brown-bagged it every other day of the week.</p> <h2>5. Don&rsquo;t Over-Budget</h2> <p>The idea of planning, creating, and sticking to a budget gets a lot of airtime. But categorizing and budgeting every dollar that comes in the door might not be the best strategy. This approach can sometimes give frugality a bad name &mdash; it fosters the idea that frugal living means constant number-crunching and long sleepless nights hunched over a calculator. A far simpler approach is to simply pay yourself first and live off what&rsquo;s left. Determine an assertive savings rate (subject to change as your skill level increases) and have that money funneled into a savings account, retirement account, or money market. The money that&rsquo;s remaining will be stretched and redistributed as-needed to cover expenses &mdash; often without hours and hours of conscious effort.</p> <h2>6. Make Mistakes</h2> <p>Living a more conscious financial life is a lot like dieting. You&rsquo;ll have good days, and you&rsquo;ll have those chocolate cupcake slip-up days. Don&rsquo;t let the little bumps and short-comings along the way derail you. Understand that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes">mistakes</a> and missteps are part of the learning process. They will fade away as your skill level grows and as frugality becomes second nature.</p> <h2>7. Chart and Reward Success</h2> <p>Adults need gold stars too. The most successfully frugal people I know monitor how they&rsquo;re doing from month-to-month and from year-to-year. They become motivated by successes like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">paying off credit cards</a>, paying down mortgages, and watching their bank account balances grow. The rush of seeing their efforts pay off has replaced the high they used to get from spending mindlessly and acquiring more stuff. Financial milestones acknowledged and celebrated as the truly special occasions they are.</p> <p>There you have it &mdash; the seven principles that will lead you to a more frugal lifestyle. More importantly, these ideas will help make frugality a permanent part of your life, instead of something you dive in and out of as your fortunes change. Embrace the success of it. Embrace the failures. Embrace the road that gets you where you want to go.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally">What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Living Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance">Youth and Money: Finding the Frugal Balance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal">A Step-by-Step Guide for When Friends Ask for Help Being Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle beginning frugality compromise how to Fri, 16 Dec 2011 11:36:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 825562 at http://www.wisebread.com The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4179361946_f264d4bcf1_z.jpg" alt="facepalm" title="facepalm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;I've turned over a new leaf in life!&quot; You exclaim from the highest mountain about your newly adopted frugal lifestyle. You've seen the light &mdash; possibly through dire financial necessity &mdash; and you understand that with a few lifestyle changes, you can live frugally with relatively no pain and <em>lots </em>to gain.</p> <p>Living frugally, after all, is <em>en vogue</em>. Brown-bagging is in, sushi is out. Home-brewed coffee in, Starbucks out. Curling up with a good book in, rounds of drinks at the bar out. Macrame Christmas presents are in, shopping at the mall is out. You're full of frugal lifestyle ideas and are excited about getting on this bandwagon. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>Making the Investment to Be Frugal</h3> <p>So you head to the grocery store in preparation for your new frugal lifestyle. Your previously empty fridge will be stocked to the hilt with inspirational ingredients that will fuel your new frugal gourmet life, and you're determined to create works of culinary mastery that will serve up nutritious dinners yielding leftover lunches you'll be excited about the next day.</p> <p>You look forward to bragging to your co-workers about the awesome lunch you'll be toting. They might even become so envious, you'll start cooking up big batches of your soon-to-be-famous dishes and selling them for an extra few bucks on the side. Now <em>that's how you make frugal cool, baby!</em></p> <p>You reel yourself in. For now you just need to learn to cook something good and stock your fridge. But since you had an empty fridge to begin with, this is a frugal investment.</p> <p>Next in your shopping mission to live frugally, you stop at the bookstore. Books provide hours and hours of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend" title="47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend">entertainment</a>, so even though they may cost the same as going to a movie, they last so much longer, and you can enjoy them over and over again.</p> <p>&quot;Wow &mdash; it's been a while since I've read anything,&quot; you think as you browse the bookstore. You're inspired by so many books, you can't seem to choose. So you don't. You buy the lot.</p> <p>The last stop on your frugal shopping spree is Starbucks. If you're going to start bringing coffee from home in the mornings, you need a nice travel mug to tote it in &mdash; and some nice beans to get you started. (Wait a minute &mdash; that's a pretty nice French press coffee maker there. The coffee will taste much better from that, and you're much more likely to be excited about your daily coffee if it's really high quality. This is most certainly a frugal investment worth making &mdash; something that will be paid off with a few weeks of no lattes, anyway).</p> <p>So in the name of getting ready to start living frugally, you've made a hefty investment. But it's all worthwhile, right?</p> <h3>Off and Running...</h3> <p>Now you're ready for your new frugal life. You cook a terrific meal that's so good, you entertain the idea of hosting frugal dinner parties and showing other people how to do it. This is easy! You can't believe you didn't start this whole frugal lifestyle thing earlier.</p> <p>After dinner you curl up to your new book and fall asleep in a state of frugal bliss.</p> <p>The next day your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas" title="25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas">frugal lunch</a> is delicious, and you don't even mind eating it in the company of your coworkers who have ordered their standard sushi lunch. You love sushi too, but frugal <em>tastes </em>better.</p> <p>You think of all the other ways you can live frugally. Inspired by your initial success, you're ready to take your life to frugal extremes.</p> <h3>...But Too&nbsp;Fast?</h3> <p>Maybe you last a week of living with your new frugal choices. Maybe longer. But at some point you wonder how long you need to live like this before you're allowed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way" title="8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way">splurge</a>. You've been so good &mdash; cooking meals at home (it's a lot of work!), brewing your own coffee (which isn't nearly as good as Starbucks), brown-bagging your lunches (which are good, but not sushi), and staying inside reading your books (which are getting a little bit boring).</p> <p>You haven't even reached a break-even point of your &quot;frugal investment,&quot; and you're wondering when you can splurge. The sense of deprivation is starting to kick in. Frugal may be cool, but it's definitely not <em>happening</em>.</p> <h3>The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally</h3> <p>The above examples of adopting a frugal lifestyle are, of course, exaggerated and slightly parodied. Although there are people out there who fit this profile to a &quot;T,&quot; there are also many more who make choices about becoming frugal that don't cost as much money. Either way, these examples demonstrate two major mistakes people often make:</p> <h4>Mistake 1: Spending Too Much Money to Be Frugal</h4> <p>Although in some cases you need to spend a little money to save a lot of money, generally, this is not part of the frugal mentality you need to adopt. Beware of shopping sprees in the name of adopting new frugal habits; until you know the habit is maintainable, it's not worth spending the money. (Besides, there's usually a more moderate or creative approach to the task that costs less.)</p> <h4>Mistake 2: Doing Everything at Once</h4> <p>Turning your life upside down overnight in the name of starting to live frugally is a recipe for disaster. Living frugally isn't about sacrificing everything and depriving yourself; it's about making balanced choices that allow you to live large on a small budget. By swinging from one extreme to another, your ability to strike a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-balance-staying-away-from-financial-extremes" title="Staying Away from Financial Extremes">frugal medium</a> &mdash; one that is actually a maintainable lifestyle &mdash; is remote.</p> <p>Deprivation is not frugal. Although adopting new frugal habits might require some initial compromises, miring yourself in deprivation in the name of living frugally only invites a financial rebellion before you've even made any headway.</p> <h3>How to Really Start Living Frugally</h3> <p>Instead of turning your life upside down in the name of becoming frugal, here are some suggestions for how to start living frugally:</p> <ul> <li>Ease into new frugal habits in a way that's comfortable, not shocking. If you're going to start brown-bagging lunches, for example, and you're used to eating out every day, then start with leftover lunches three days a week. This still gives you a lunch out two days per week to look forward to &mdash; and you're still saving money overall.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Adopt frugal lifestyle ideas one at a time, and incorporate them into the framework of your life. It takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit, so allow yourself this time to weave new frugal habits into your routines. After bringing lunches to work becomes comfortable to maintain, shake up your coffee ritual by only treating yourself to Starbucks on Mondays and Fridays. Let this habit sink in, then tackle another area of your life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Instead of always adopting new frugal habits, try deepening a habit you've started. Leftover lunches going well? Then try cutting down lunches out to one day per week. Liking your home-brewed coffee? Maybe Starbucks can wait for Saturday mornings only. Or maybe Starbucks can become a thing of your past altogether.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>Staying Motivated</h3> <p>If you want to start to live frugally, you'll best get there slowly and methodically &mdash; as unglamorous as it sounds. But in this slow-and-steady approach, it's easy to lose sight of the ball. Remember that you decided to start living frugally for a reason, and that reason is attached to a goal. If you stick to living frugally in a manageable way and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">track your progress</a>, you'll <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goal-setting-getting-out-of-debt-once-and-for-all">reach those goals</a> &mdash; and then some.</p> <p>Your frugal lifestyle is just that &mdash; a lifestyle, not a passing fancy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-easy-ways-to-live-a-happier-life">Flashback Friday: 51 Easy Ways to Live a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">22 Reasons to Write a Letter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks beginning frugality changing habits lifestyle changes Thu, 10 Nov 2011 10:36:30 +0000 Nora Dunn 774840 at http://www.wisebread.com