Living a frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean just making a budget, doing your best to stick to it, and calling it a day. There are many different components to living life on a budget and today I bring you my top six ways to save in 2017!
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Mind Your ‘Motions
Have to put down $300 in car repairs? Bet that makes your stomach churn.
Are you someone who LOVES to buy Christmas presents for others? Does just the thought make you giddy?
Perhaps you’re like me and you’re okay with not having cable…until The Walking Dead starts and you want to cry because you already cut the cord.
Spending money, no matter the amount, is always an emotional process to some degree, so be mindful of that whenever it comes time to make a purchase – big or small. With big purchases, though…
Maintain the 24-Hour Rule
Making a big purchase is a big decision; for my family, a big purchase is anything over $100, for your family that range may vary. Regardless, whenever considering a big purchase or investment, ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS!!) wait at least 24-hours (not doing so is how I made a $2,200 mistake!) While scarcity is sometimes a genuine factor in purchasing, it’s more often than not a sales tactic above all else. And speaking of sales tactics…
A Sale is Still Spending Money
Black Friday/Cyber Monday is coming and while there are certain great opportunities to be had to save money (especially if you shop online as much as I do!), there are also innumerable opportunities to spend money you wouldn’t otherwise. Don’t waste time scouring the ads and allow yourself to be sucked into all the “amazing” sales. Use this as motivation to declutter your house and take stock of what you actually need versus what you want. Make a list and STICK TO IT.
Cash Only Rule
Another thing to stick to is a “cash only” rule. It quickly becomes SO easy to swipe your card and forget you have a budget to follow.
For example, a friend of mine recently signed up for a Discover It Card and if you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that I’m actually a HUGE fan of Discover and the perks they offer, but only if you use it properly. Well…she didn’t. She got lost in the idea of them offering “double cash back” and ohmygoodness yay “extra” money. Then she got her first bill and realized she’d spent nearly TWICE what she normally does on groceries. Eeks!!
So if you’re like her and struggle to maintain a budget when using plastic, switch to cash only. Not only will it help to ensure you stick to your budget, but the physical act of having to hand over cash will make you think twice about whether or not you actually want to spend it.
Want vs. Need
At this moment, I want a warm piece of buttery toast (can you hear my stomach growling from there?) However, what I need is to win my HealthyWage challenge next month and get nearly $1,600 for losing 60lbs in 6 months.
Ok, so maybe you don’t have quite that drastic of comparison when it comes to weighing something as being a want or a need (though clearly you don’t quite understand my love for bread…)
Regardless, if you train yourself to consider all options as being wants vs needs, you’ll quickly learn to keep yourself from spending money frivolously. A “want” is something that will fulfill your desire for instant gratification; a “need” is something that will ensure you have the ability to go about your daily life.
And honestly, sometimes wants can become needs, provided you’re factoring in other components, such as your time…
Make Cents of Time
No, that’s not a misspelling (I was an English major, I promise I usually know how to spell ;-))
I truly mean making CENTS of time. Now we all know that time is money, money is time, but how often do you REALLY take into consideration what your time is worth?
For example, when I first saw this hair straightener for sale, I was hesitant – I didn’t NEED a hair straightener, but if it could save me 30+ minutes any time I wanted to fix my hair, was it worth it? (Heh the answer was YES!! Yes yes yes! Have you read about it yet?)
Some other examples:
Is saving $.05/gallon on gas REALLY worth driving 20 minutes across town to get it? (Probably not.)
Is spending an hour each evening making money online versus watching TV worth it? (Probably so.)
Is hosting a lovely Thanksgiving Day get together for family worth the stress of a crowded, messy house? (Ehhh, maybe if you follow this “cheatsheet”…)
Now I’m not saying that every action you take requires you to stop and think “Is this worth my time?” But again, the better you make this a habit, the easier it’ll be to evaluate.
Lastly, circling back to emotions now, it’s also important to factor in influences beyond time when it comes to money – will this bring you joy? Or stress? What are giving up or gaining by taking this action?
Living a frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean just minding your cash flow. There are many factors that come into play when you’re living life on a budget and in the end, time always trumps dollars. Heh that’s why I choose to only work 3 days/week 😉
Would you rather – work three 8-hr days/week and make $5k/month OR work five 10-hr days/week and make $15k/month?