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Five “Onlys” For Choosing a Frugal Lifestyle

Posted Aug 16 2013 7:00am

Coins in a Glass Jar For many, it’s hard to understand that living frugally can be a choice, regardless of income. We tend to think that being frugal is only something that is done when forced into it, due to a job loss, or other circumstances that require ‘pinching pennies’.

While being frugal may be done out of necessity, it is also a choice for many. For our family, it is a mixture of both. We aren’t wealthy – so there is a bit of necessity, but we also see it as a matter of good stewardship in the world around us and recognizing that we are a part of something much bigger than just having things. It’s part of our .

It’s one thing to be frugal when you have no choice, and it can be pretty straight-forward.

But how do you live frugally when it’s by choice, and the temptation to “buy buy buy” is always knocking?

Five “Onlys” to get you started

It’s pretty simple: if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. But be careful: it’s easy to justify purchases when you confuse a want with a need. A true need is something that is needed for survival: food, shelter, clothing.

And note: “can pay for” does not include using credit cards; we’re talking “with cash”. Not only does paying with cash require you to save up for larger purchases, it makes impulse purchases less likely.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have saved myself big money just by taking the time to compare prices. The internet makes it so easy to do, without having to drive all over town.

For example: I just purchased back to school supplies. My initial thought was that I’d buy in bulk from Amazon and save money (and my sanity). But as I looked at prices and compared them to what I saw in local back-to-school sales, I realized I could save over $100 by heading to our local big box store and purchasing most of them there. Though I may have lost a bit of sanity from having to shop with every other parent in the entire city, it was totally worth it. *grin*

Impulse buys can add up quickly. Not just in your wallet, but also in your home. Always take the time to consider your purchase, especially when it’s a large item. Compare prices, assess if it’s a want or a need, and consider if you actually have a use and place for it in your home.

Comparison is the seed of discontentment and nothing good comes from that. Comparing ourselves to others tends to make us think we have to compete (read: spend more money to keep up.)

There is always going to be someone who you will fall short of, if compared to. The only person who you should compare yourself to is yourself. An honest self-assessment is always beneficial. Take note of the areas you want to improve and make the effort to do so.

Get this in check first, and then go back to the top of this list and work your way down.

Do you live frugally? If it’s by choice, how do you stick with it?

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