6 Tips to Keep You Frugal AND Loving it!

People often ask this question: Is it possible for me to live frugal AND happy?  And of course my answer is ABSOLUTELY! It really is a state of mind.  And if you’re even considering living a more frugal lifestyle, then there’s probably a good reason for it and something you may need to embrace.  But if you still think  that letting go of some non-necessities that probably don’t really serve you in the best way anyway, is going to leave you drab and lifeless, then I have some ideas that may be able to help you look forward to a frugal lifestyle with excitement and intentionality.

#1 – Know Your Why

The first thing is to Know your WHY. You may have any number of reasons for considering or being on a frugal journey. It could be that you have a very low income and you don’t have much of a choice other tan to learn how to stretch your money, maybe you have a modest income and you’re learning how to grow it or maybe you’re trying to save up for a large purchase like a house or trying to be ready for retirement.  Whatever the reason for this season, it’s important for you to be clear on the purpose that frugal living it serving in your life because that can help motivate you and show you the value in it.  If you can focus on how frugal living is going to help you meet your goals or stay on top of your most important needs then you’ll be a lot more excited about it.  Years ago, when I started my frugal journey, it was because I was about to turn 30 and had just moved back in with my parents.  I had a lot of debt and was ready to make a change. My goal was to get a home of my own but I knew I had to get rid of the debt first which meant I had to give up some things in order to get to my desired end.   But that desire to have a home of my own was my initial why.  Thankfully, it set me on a path where frugality became my norm.

#2 – Find community

The next thing you can and should do, is Find a community of frugal people. Often, its difficult to stay diligent when people closest to you don’t have the same mindset you do and maybe won’t understand when you decide to say no to a night out on the town.  Having people around you that get what you’re trying to do will serve as an encouragement instead of a hinderance.  And I know this might be easier said than done.  But maybe you want in-person community, your local library or nonprofits in your area are great resources. A lot of times they offer free personal finance workshops and seminars which can be a great place to connect with people who are on a similar journey.   Also, try frequenting thrift stores in your area. I know from going to thrift stores, that you’ll likely run into some of the same people over and over because thrift shoppers know you have to check back often because there’s constantly new merchandise arriving. Or just strike up conversation with the thrift store workers who may know of some frugal groups and resources that you can participate in.   Another way you can connect with some frugal minded people is to pay attention at work – the people who bring their lunch from home everyday are probably money conscious people that you can benefit from.  Just start by asking them where they got their insulated lunch bag or their thermos and go from there.

And if you’re more introverted and it’s hard to make friends that easily, I understand…your community may be online. Places like this channel and others on Youtube can of course offer lots of encouragement and inspiration. But there are also frugal living groups on Facebook, and forums all over the interwebs will help enhance your frugal living knowledge and provide you with valuable insights and tips from others who share your interests.

#3 – Learn a craft

This next one is is an aspect of my frugal life that makes me happy and that’s Crafting.  Start a crafting hobby or at the least, learn how to do things that you usually have to pay for. Making things is not only a way to facilitate your frugality but its also a way to boost your mood and your mental health.  According to some psychologists, the effects of crafting are similar to those of meditation.  Because when you’re engaged in a craft or the act of creating something, you’re so focused on the here and now and in those moments you tend to forget the stressors of the day.  And I know for myself – when I’m trying to put something together just right or I’m crocheting – I almost forget to eat!  Plus, crafting stimulates the production of dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter, that is responsible for pleasure and enjoyment.  And maybe you’re not very crafty or you don’t know what kind of craft you have the patience for – consider boosting your cooking skills, or learning how to bake – get creative in the kitchen by trying to replicate your favorite restaurant meals and maybe you won’t feel the need to eat out as much.  One of my favorite ways to be crafty is through repurposing.  Its creative and its frugal and you can find so many projects online that don’t require a lot of skills and you can do with things you already have at home.

#4 – Turn dread into fun

Now I will admit, there are some aspects of frugal living that I don’t always enjoy like budgeting, or tracking my expenses or meal planning.  However, over time, you work out processes and systems that work for you.  And maybe there’s some other frugal living activities that you don’t look forward to doing.  My suggestion is to Make a fun event out of the aspects you dread the most. If you don’t look forward to budgeting each month, consider experimenting with different budget plans – try a new one each month.  It could keep the process fresh for you until you find a process that feel less burdensome. You can also try using a budgeting app like Fortune City which turns your bookkeeping process into a game.  For me, when I have to sit and do my least favorite tasks, I get up early in the morning, I make a big hot cup of French vanilla coffee, toast up a cinnamon raising bagel with cream cheese, put on a playlist of some of my favorite music to get me in a happy mood and I just get it done.

#5 – Spend Money

Another piece of advice I have for how to be happy AND frugal at the same time is Don’t be afraid to spend money.   When you create your budget for the month and you’ve designated money for your bills and primary responsibilities and you’ve put 10% in a savings account – if you have it – whatever is left over, I say spend it if you want.  But when you do, try to spend it only on things you know you or your family really needs or really loves.  The Budgetnista Tiffany Aliche offers this method of asking yourself 4 questions before making a purchase – Do I Need it? Love it? Like it? Or Want it? Needs are food, water, shelter, clothing, some kind of heat so you don’t freeze to death – anything you need in order to sustain life.

A lot of times we spend money on things we just like or want because they tend to cost less and take less time and patience to acquire.  But usually they bring only temporary satisfaction or don’t really line up with what you’re long term goals are. Whereas, Loves, would be those things that you’re willing to save up for, that create a lasting memory or those things that actually improve the quality of your life.  When you have some preestablished guidelines for your spending, you don’t have to be afraid to spend because you know its all still lining up with your values and how you want to move forward in your life.

#6 – Take Your Time

The next thing to remember is you can Take your time. Don’t feel like you have to change everything all at once or be frugal in every area of your life right away. If it’s new to you, just start with one or two changes.  Unless you’re an adventurous type of person,  you don’t have to sell your house and car and go live in a trailer. Just start by scaling back on your clothing spending if that’s something you know is out of control. Put away what you might normally spend on non-necessities into a savings account and let what builds in savings motivate you make the next change.  Unrealistic expectations that are constantly unmet, can discourage and demotivate you making you feel like being frugal is too hard and depressing.  You should challenge yourself to do better than you have been, but also set realistic expectations that you can adhere to.  If you remember that it’s all a work in progress and make the decision to keep doing better, keeping your eyes on your Why, then you’re going to find that frugal living is both enjoyable and rewarding.

Now you might be asking, what kinds of everyday things can I do to start living frugal?  You can check out this post –> 60 Frugal Living Tips to Help you Save Money and start putting them into action today!

Posted in Frugal Mindset, Recent.

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