Living frugally is a wonderful and, unless you’re a gazillionaire, necessary thing. But in the initial flush of excitement, there can be some pretty big rookie errors. If you’re just about to jump on the bandwagon, have a lookie here first to know what not to do. Inspired by Nora Dunn at Wise Bread.
Something new is always going to be exciting. Hell, I looked forward to school starting back and these days all I can think about is what a six week holiday would feel like. I’ve done my fair share of over the top ‘new me’ plans. The health plan is always the most obvious, which will go fine until I pull a muscle or eat my weight in dark chocolate. The organised routine is quite similar, I have little stickers and notes, and give up as soon as anything has to change. The financial revolution is also a top contender. I get motivated, I set up automatic deductions which will pay off my credit card in a matter of seconds. I resolve to not eat out, not buy clothes, stick to one coffee a day. And three weeks later, I find myself ordering coffee number three at my favourite restaurant wearing a brand new dress.
One of the easiest mistakes to make is to believe that once you’re on the right path, there’s no turning back. It’s a misguided approach; if these plans were easy, every one would be sticking to it. Kicking off your new frugal lifestyle needs to be done with a dose of reality. You’re going to mess it up occasionally, every one does. You’re going to accidentally spend money you shouldn’t, forget to budget for a certain expense and take a long time to repay your debt. There are going to be some nights you order in pizza. Letting the whole frugal lifestyle go because of a lapse isn’t necessary. Maybe it’s an indicator you’re holding on too tight and need to relax the plan a little, make the goals a little further in the distance and give yourself time to achieve them sustainably.
Doing It All
No one should ever kick start a fitness regime by doing a three hour run, followed by a weights session, and the same goes for finances. Don’t cut every thing out, choose 5 things you won’t miss like a three pm chocolate bar, and start there. Take lunch to work three days a week, or buy a new CD once a month, not once a week. Small changes gradually introduced into your life will be far easier to maintain. The better you feel, the more your finances reflect the changes, the easier it will be to deepen them and start living frugally.
Investing In Frugality
You don’t need a book to tell you how to live frugally, you just need to spend less money. You don’t need gourmet ingredients to make a meal at home instead of eating out, you just need to think about food you really enjoy and can cook. It’s easy, in the first flush of excitement, to spend money on your new venture, but it’s completely unnecessary and will mean all your hard work will take longer to be reflected in your bank balance. You can start living frugally any second of any day.