On Being Thoughtful and Frugal

thoughtful and frugal

When you hear the word “frugal,” you immediately think of the word cheap or being financially poor. People who tell you that they must learn to be more frugal are thought to have no life or they are about to file bankruptcy. These connotations are absolutely false! Many individuals enjoy shopping and they often express their desire to shop all day which seems to bring them happiness and joy. You don't get a trophy for this type of thinking. 

Spending money is fine if you have it to spend. When you don't have the extra money, being frugal will give you less debt and less stress. With the price of everything going up, it matters even more where your valuable dollars go and getting the most bang for your buck should be your financial goal.

Granted that many individuals in this modern technological era believe that it is better to earn more money to get the things you want than to try to save and deprive yourself of what you think you need. There is nothing wrong with earning more in a job or jobs, but this alone will not solve all your problems. The whole idea of saving more is about your life tomorrow, not just in the short term. You may need to take time and look at your spending habits because spending unwisely can easily impact your life in a negative manner. Being frugal to help give you a better financially secure life is a purposeful thought and action where you make sound choices about how to stretch and more wisely spend your money.

Read more: 10 Frugal Ways to Save on Food

Being frugal gives you more freedom to continue to live your best life without making unnecessary sacrifices. There are many publications both online and in book form that gives you practical ideas about how to be more frugal. Examples, include buying store brand products rather than spending a couple of dollars more for name-brands. In addition, setting a budget for spending when you dine out or go shopping, etc. When you are needing to buy a trophy or other awards for your child's team, saving some of the team's money by shopping smart is a great idea. 

While these financially sound tips are good, the thought process behind spending versus savings is a little known enemy called “impulse” buying. Impulse buying is a trap that many people are lured by, from millionaires to the blue collar worker. Buying on impulse is a difficult emotion to curtail, especially when you shop with the kids who want everything they see. Another example is when you go grocery shopping while hungry, then you want everything you see.

Most recently, while watching a morning TV show, they featured a product that was drastically marked down and I just knew that I had to have it, simply because it was a great saving idea. By the time that product arrived at my home, I looked at it and thought to myself, Why did I order it?” It wasn't something that I needed. It was a want that I thought I had to have! Many of us in an impulse state act in the same way and it takes dollars out of our pocket when we could have used the money to pay off a debt or buy something fun. Taking a frugal attitude on spending simply means to become more intentional and prioritizing how you spend your money.

Frugality does not mean surrounding yourself with cheap goods or products. It means that you are thinking wisely on spending your money on quality that will last longer and reducing the thought of spending money on things that are not important and which only gives you a moment of pleasure. For years, the words cheap and frugal were used interchangeably, but they are by no means synonyms. Buying and spending money frugally means that you are choosing items that are quality-made and which saves you more in the long term. Okay, in case you think that you are in a minority in thinking about cutting back and becoming more frugalyou are not!

Did you know that a few wealthy individuals consider themselves frugal? They impart their financial wisdom to the rest of us and when you look at their frugal suggestions, it makes sense even in our income category. For example, Zuckerberg and his wife eat at McDonald's, as does the Gates family. Despite the perception that wealthy individuals are not frugal, they too are just as mindful of how to spend their money in order to better invest their money in the future. Yes, these money-changers suggest that you save where you can. Saving money on certain activities allows you to save enough money to take a nice vacation.

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