In today’s world, saving money can be tough. Many of us aren’t earning as much as we used to and the cost of living has gone up. That means what we can save on a regular basis has decreased. Or has it? I’ve fallen victim to “lifestyle creep” where you spend more when you earn more AND everything you’ve previously owned, just isn’t good enough. You need better! (says the world). This is where frugality comes in. The goal of frugal living can be quite simple – save money.
Saving money is a really broad goal. You can narrow it down to saving money for: financial security, building an emergency fund, preparing for baby, paying down debt, going on a sweet vacation, down payment on a dream home… whatever your money goals are, it can be more quickly achieved with frugal living.
But, shouldn’t there be more to frugal living than just saving money?
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WHY the goal of frugal living is MORE than just money
Money is great and all, but there is more to life than the balance of your bank account. Becoming a frugal person has been a personal transformation.
10 years ago, you couldn’t have paid me to thrift or use a coupon. My mom and I had a good laugh a few weeks ago when she said “Who knew that YOU would be so financially savvy and love to get rid of things!?” And it’s true! I was a very spendy person all the way up until I moved in with my husband. Even then, I still spent money as fast as I earned it.
I was lacking the intentionality that frugality bestows upon you. If I could sum up what frugal living has been like, it would be that I am far more intentional about my everyday expenditures and how I use items.
Sure, minimalism plays a part in my life and being more intentional. But without the frugal living side, my version of minimalism wouldn’t be what it is today.
So when you begin living a more frugal life, you can set goals for yourself and be creative with how you achieve them. Here are some goals of frugal living that can help you along your way!
1) Saving Money
This is the obvious goal of frugal living, right? When you look at all the ways to cut expenses, you save money.
We’ve made some pretty tough cuts to our budget over the years. But now we hardly miss (or remember) the things we no longer spend money on to live more frugally.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to get started saving money by frugal living, here are some great posts for you to read! >>>
- 24 Things We No Longer Spend Money On
- The Best Frugal Living Tips for 2020
- How to Thrive on One Income
- How to Complete a Spending Audit
- Quiet the Voice of Wanting New Things
2) Become More Intentional
Becoming more intentional applies to multiple parts of your life:
– spending money
– saving money
– what items come into your home (and stays)
– how you use items
– how you spend your time
When you’re frugal, the likelihood of maintaining items in your home goes up. Why? You would probably rather pay a little to have the item repaired (or DIY it) than purchasing a new one. You know the value of all the cash you’ve saved and don’t want to spend it! This choice was an intentional one – fix it and don’t spend money or spend money and throw away something that could have been fixed.
3) Learn More About Finances and Put Your Earnings in Perspective
How many hours did you have to work for that brand new shirt you just bought? Or that cup of to-go coffee you’re drinking?
Never thought about it? Me either! That was until my husband did some calculating.
You work so hard to put money in the bank to pay your bills, put food on the table, and have a little leftover for fun. But when you break each purchase down by how many hours you had to work, you might change your mind on what you spend money on.
Example: A new shirt costs $20 on Amazon. You get paid $15 an hour at your job before taxes. 20 divided by 15 = 1.33. That means you had to work an hour and twenty minutes just to buy a shirt you may not even need. I would much rather work 1.33 hours to pay for tickets to the museum or tuck it away into a savings account.
When you take a magnifying glass to your finances, perhaps through a spending audit, you get to see where your paycheck goes and analyze your spending habits. Do those habits align with what your goal is for being frugal?
4) Waste Less
Every resource our planet has is finite. So why do we keep wasting food, water, plastic, and countless other things that are perfectly good?
Part of frugality for me is wasting less. Less food waste and less waste of money, specifically.
Because when you plan your purchases, you are more intentional with what you buy. When you’re intentional with what you buy, you typically want to make that item last as long as possible. Therefore, you aren’t buying crappy products only to replace them with similar crappy items that will all eventually end up in the landfill. You don’t waste your money and you don’t waste resources – it’s a win win!!
5) Make Money Work FOR You
When you save money each month, you should designate where it goes:
– emergency fund
– vacation savings
– Christmas and gift fund
Savings accounts are amazing tools to keep your money safe and away from your regular checking account. But with interest rates so low, you aren’t gaining much.
While bank saving’s rates won’t go up any time soon, the best way to get your money to start working for you is through investing. Investing money is really easy through apps like Acorns or platforms like M1.
PS: you get an extra $5 when you sign up for Acorns HERE!
However, you absolutely should have a fully funded emergency fund before you put money into an investment account. What if the market crashes (again) and you lost half of your money? Not cool!
Investing is for the long term and is very “set it and forget it”. If you have funds automatically go into your investment account each paycheck, it’s an easy way to invest and make your money work harder for you.
So budget appropriately, use a 72 Hour List (free printable), meal plan, and find contentment with what you already own. The goal of frugal living is much more than money!