Frugal Living is a concept that deals with financial restraint. This financial restraint may be imposed by economic circumstances, moral considerations or as a strategy to achieve financial goals.
Externally Imposed Frugality When financial conditions change, such as through job loss, an individual or a family may be forced to find ways to cut costs in order to attempt to maintain an accustomed standard of living.
Frugal Living as a Moral Choice Western society is often criticized for its consumerism. Many people choose to reject rampant consumerism and live a lifestyle that involves a reduction in consumption.
Strategic Frugal Living Often, people adopt many strategies for saving money in an attempt to achieve certain financial goals. These goals may include purchasing a home, putting children through college or becoming debt free.
Though the reasons for living a frugal lifestyle are varied, the methods available to manage spending are the same. First, it's necessary to develop a budget and track where money is being spent. Second, areas of spending are analyzed to see where savings can be made. Third, strategic decisions are made to influence future financial conditions.
Saving on Food Buying food is huge component of discretionary spending for most people. Often, it's very easy to substitute cheaper foods, such as oatmeal or rice, for a large portion of consumption. Additionally, shopping and food preparation strategies can be employed. For example, purchasing private label, as opposed to name brand, products at the grocery store. On Big ticket items its better to call the companies even if they make it very easy to buy online, have you ever tried calling Best Buy online or Amazon (the agents) can offer you discounts of upto 5% or match another retailer go ahead and twist their arm a little. Buying from outside your state can save you a lot on State taxes. Think about calling a retailer in New York if you live in LA. They will ship for free and you will save taxes.
Saving on Home Expenses Household costs such as rent, mortgage payments, heating, cooling and utilities are a significant portion of most household budgets. Often, simple steps can be taken to reduce costs. For example, people may be able to dress warmer in the winter and set the thermostat lower. Also, don't forget cable or satellite tv is not a necessity. One can easily do without and use other options such as free over-the-air tv, and any of the other sources of low cost streaming options. Be carful of any monthly contracts no matter how small they are. These add up to big numbers and you get lazy to challenge them. Online coupons, in store coupons are a great resource. Did you know your local library gets all the newspapers available along with all the coupons available in those newspapers which are just waiting to be grabbed. Make a trip to the library for coupon clipping part of your weekly route.
Alternately, household assets such as a spare room or excess parking space can be rented out in order increase income. Earning a dollar is very similar to saving a dollar in terms of financial impact.
Consider if renting is cheaper than buying or vice-versa. Don't forget to add maintenance expenses.
Monetary Strategies Although a very complex subject, the idea of making strategic decisions to impact financial welfare is widely practiced. For example, most families try to have children attend college because it improves their career and earning prospects.
Other strategic decisions may include using public transit, living close enough to work to not require the use of transit, acquiring education in order to qualify for a higher paying job, purchasing a less expensive vehicle than you may be able to afford and many other choices.
In essence, frugal strategies entail making wise choices in order to influence future financial conditions to the advantage of you or your family.