Frugality, Budgeting and Balance
I’ve always considered myself to be frugal. I save as much as I can, but don’t don’t take it to the extreme. Instead of depriving myself of the things I value, I just cut out the things that aren’t important to me. I still have to make sacrifices, but my budget is smarter as a result of my frugality. The more I learn about personal finance, the more I realize that being frugal is all about priorities and balance. Being frugally responsible means using frugality to achieve your version of financial independence.
Here’s a few “frugal” things I do:
- Keep our heat and air conditioner at a conservative temperature
- Turn the lights off when I leave the room
- Drive old(er), paid off cars
- Eat at home more nights than not
- Limit the amount I spend on new clothes
Here’s a few “frugal” things I don’t do:
- Cut coupons
- Ride my bike everywhere
- Raise chickens (I would love to)
- Never Travel
- Cancel Christmas
In my opinion, not being wasteful is the key. There are some practical things you can do to avoid waste. For example, turn the heat down when you go on vacation or cancel cable if you haven’t turned the tv on in 6 months.
In other cases, it’s not as obvious. Your budget can tell you a lot about what you value.
Budgeting Your Way to Frugality
The ideal budget will have every dollar you earn going exactly where you want it to go. Our budget is balanced in a way that allows us to do the things we value, save for the future, and know we aren’t wasting money on things we don’t really care about. With that, comes peace of mind.
Remember, nobody is perfect! If you think we never splurge or lose sight of what’s important, you’re wrong.
If you don’t have a budget, record all your expenses for 2 weeks. You can keep track in your phone or write it down on a pad of paper. All you need is “item” in one column and “price” in the other. At the end of the 2 weeks, add everything up; you may find you’re spending money on things you don’t realize, and don’t value.
Establish a budget that prioritizes what you value and eliminates the waste. Cutting out the waste allows you to seek out and enjoy what you are passionate about.
Note: A good budget cannot be made in a vacuum. Start with goals, then plan/budget!
A budget helps you find out where to be frugal. More importantly, a budget helps you find out how to spend money on the things you value. In some cases, you may find out you need to re-balance to prioritize what matters most to you.
Ultimately, prioritizing the things you value, whether financially or otherwise, will bring happiness into your life.
Parting words, be frugally responsible!