Friday, January 16, 2009

Start Living Frugally: The Frugal Lifestyle Part 1

Frugal: "economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful" -

Learning to live frugally is an important aspect of any plan to get out of debt. It's also important to look for ways to increase your income, but increasing your income can be dependent on factors beyond your control. So a person with wisdom, as I hope you are, would find it prudent to have power over the factor most easily controlled: spending. Most people think that the expenditures they have are necessary. If you think all the money you spend is truly neccesary for your survival you are either one of the most frugal people ever to live, or you are in denial. If I were a betting man, I would wager that you are in denial.

It is more important than ever to live frugally in a time that is increasingly unstable, with rising cost of living, stagnant wages, corporate layoofs, compounding personal debt, and high medical bills on the rise in most american families, it would do for nearly any person reading this to start applying more frugality to their lives.

Mastering the art of living frugally makes it much easier to save money and meet financial goals. If you learn the many tricks of the trade you will also increase your income and financial freedom in prosperous times.

Living frugally is not about scarcity or fear. It is not about being a cheapskate. It's about being knowledegable about how to make your money go further than usual, controlling your impulses to buy indulgences you only want in the moment, and lowering your monthly expenses by purchasing according to value and neccessity.

You must learn the fine art of bargain hunting as well as the discipline and awareness to avoid junk that will break quickly. Do not purchase things just because they are cheap either! Many people go nuts when they see something for a low price and purchase it even if they have absolutely no use for it whatsoever because they are in a scaricity mindset. They are afraid to pass up a good sale because it might not come around again. This mindset is the reason the marketing tactic "Buy now I might raise the price at any time" is always effective. Even if you think your too smart to fall for that, you probably fall for it all the time, you just don't notice it.

Instead of simply spending all the money you make each week and making a meager unfocus attempt to pay off any debts you may have, it would be much more productive to start to PLAN a more frugal lifestyle. Do you have clothes, furniture, cars, restaurant meals etc. only because you have maxxed out credit cards? It's time to acknowledge your lack of planning and preperation instead of trying to maintain an illusion of financial prosperity.

Do not think to yourself, "I am a free man/woman, I earn my money and I have the right to spend it how i'd like to enjoy the fruits of my labor!". This sort of thinking is delusional. You are listening to the clamoring of your unconcious "monkey mind" to get whatever it desires right now, cost be damned! You rationalize your unconcious behavior with concious thought without ever fully acknowledging to yourself what you are really doing, even though you clearly do know the cost of your actions. By living without any financial plan and not learning to life frugally you not only deprive yourself of the things you TRULY want and NEED to satisfy impulse, but you fortify the bars of your financial prison. Learning to live frugally starts with a budget plan. Following your budget plan is to start to plan your escape from financial prison. By building a budget plan you are digging a tunnel out of the cold confinces of your cell of debt and check-to-check living, and moving toward the shining light of financial freedom.
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