by Menka Dimitrovska, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 18th July, 2018
Living a frugal lifestyle means having more money in your pocket, and leading a less stressful life, which I'm sure all of ua would be lucky to have.
The secret that nobody ever tells you is that you can lead a frugal lifestyle even if you're not frugal by nature, and you don't even have to know anything about it to start.
You don't have to be born frugal in order to know how to save money and spend less; it's something that you can easily learn and improve on over the course of time, until you finally perfect your methods and learn how to save up a lot while still enjoying your life to the fullest.
Unlike what some people like to believe, frugal living doesn't mean buying the cheapest clothes and things, depriving ourselves and never treating ourselves to stuff we love, simply because they are too expensive.
Living a frugal lifestyle means being careful and smart about our money and not wasting it on stuff we have no real use for.
Although a lot of people seem to see frugality as being cheap, there is a huge difference between those two terms.
Leading a frugal life doesn't have to mean that you're cheap - you're simply more careful about what you purchase, and in general spend way less than the average consumer.
I'd like to focus more on the benefits of living frugally today, but I still want to share some of the most obvious, yet less practiced ways of saving money.
1. Stop buying things just because they're on sale. Instead really think about whether or not you need to spend money on something, and whether or not you'll have any use for them.
2. Switch to a less expensive cellphone company.
3. Ditch cable, and find a less expensive way to watch all your favorite shows. Share your account with more people (if possible) and pay less at the end of the month.
4. Set a date at the beginning of the month where you send part of your money to your savings account, forcing yourself to live with less, which will make you value your money more, and prevent you from making unnecessary payments.
5. Every time you get a raise at work set 40-50% of it aside to go towards your savings, which will still improve your lifestyle, but will also increase your life savings.
6. Every 6 months try to increase your savings rate by at least 1%. You won't even notice the difference, but you'll be able to see the result over time.
7. Make the switch to energy saving lightbulbs.
8. Lower your electricity bill by installing solar panels and fixing the draughts in your windows and doors.
9. Up-cycle your furniture. Take that desk or dresser that's been sitting in your garage for a decade and turn it into a work of art.
10. Turn a part of your backyard into a garden, which will satisfy your daily vegetable needs, and you can rest assured that you're eating healthy, pesticide-free food.
There are a ton of other things that you can do to make your life easier and save up for the future, without ever compromising your well-being or even your comfort. You'll learn more about them as you embark on your frugal way of living and start learning a lot of new skills that work best for you and your family.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect, once you start living a frugal lifestyle.
With tons of sales year round and shopping centers at every corner it's easy to get ourselves lost in a continual buying and spending loop. If we look around in our homes, most of us will find a ton of things we don't use; even some we haven't gotten out of the packages they came in.
Why is it that we all have this tendency to buy and stock our houses with unnecessary things we don't use?
Most of the times, it's the appealing and irresistible price that pulls us in and tempts us to buy all kinds of stuff that we end up storing in some corner and rarely use.
Living a frugal lifestyle not only saves you from unnecessary purchases, which cost you a lot of money in the long run, but it also keeps your home uncluttered and free of unnecessary things.
Imagine living without any debt, some extra money in the bank and a secure retirement plan. These three things are all fruits of a frugal lifestyle. A lot of people have managed to achieve this feeling of safety and security with a frugal lifestyle, and all without necessarily working as plastic surgeons or CEOs.
Other than achieving safety and security at a younger age, many people have said that the best benefit of frugal living is leading a less stressful life, and worrying a lot less about the future.
Even if you're okay with spending your money and living a lavish life, you might still want to consider frugality as a way of life, since it has benefits that go above saving money and securing your future.
The truth is frugality benefits us as much as it benefits our environment and the planet we live on.
Here are some of the ways it positively impacts our environment and helps us save our planet one piece of plastic at a time.
Americans have a huge problem when it comes to mass production and mass consumption. It has gotten to a point where an average American citizen produces around 4.3 pounds of trash per day, which in my book is horrific and not to mention alarming.
Although we can't expect to solve the main problem solely by leading a frugal life, we can help a lot, and here are a few ways that we can contribute.
Most of us have had the luck of being born in a rich, or developed country where a water or food shortage has never been an issue. We have an abundance of food, water and all other necessities and we never have to worry about being hungry or thirsty, unlike a large percentage of Earth's population, that doesn't even have the bare necessities.
Once you start leading a frugal lifestyle and start looking at things from a different perspective, you'll notice just how much money we spend on unnecessary purchases. We go to the supermarket and buy food like the world's about to end, we stack our fringe until it can't hold any more food, and then we let a huge percentage of it to go to waste because we simply forget we bought it, or didn't particularly feel like eating it, even though we bought it.
It's not the wasted food that's the only tragedy. When you account for the energy and time needed for that food to be produced, you'll realize that it's not just your money or your food that's wasted, but you've wasted valuable resources as well. When you also factor in the plastic packaging and the fuel used to transport the food, you'll realize that our planet is at a huge loss too.
I'm not saying that frugality can save the world from hunger or pollution, but it can play a small part in helping preserve and not waste resources that are already scarce.
The more money you save, the earlier you can achieve your retirement goals and can live off your days in peace and quiet, somewhere near the ocean or in the mountains, whichever you prefer.
If you were tempted by what you read today, I encourage you to start saving right now, and see how big of a difference it can make for you in the long run. You can start small and then try to implement as many of the tips I mentioned today, one by one, so that you can learn what it's like to live a frugal lifestyle and experience all the benefits that come with it.