What does it mean to be frugal? To live frugally? For some, it means limitations. For others, it means freedom. Freedom from debt, from clutter, from having to “keep up” with everyone else. It’s freedom from the consumerism that eventually consumes ourselves.
Daisy Luther’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living is a good start on the journey to living a more frugal life. Although some of the lessons in the book are things we’re already doing (or not doing) while in lockdown-limbo, it’s still important to keep in mind for when things go back to normal-ish (for the love of everything good and pure in this world please let us have some kind of normal again soon). Luther starts off with 7 steps to becoming more frugal:
1) Be grateful
2) Be creative
4) Spend your money where it really matters
5) Less need equals more time
6) Hang out with like-minded people
7) Turn off the TV
The most helpful suggestions are related to daily spending – the type of spending that adds up over time without even realizing it. The daily coffee, the lunch, the drinks, the take-outs etc. With a little planning and prep, a well thought out weekly grocery shop can eliminate a lot of our needless spending.
If debt is your issue, then there are some interesting and useful methods on how best to pay down debt. From spending freezes to the snowball method.
Although some of her methods are not for everyone (even she admits this) there is a lot of sound advice on paying off debt and staying debt free. Luther provides a good step-by-step guide on how to create a budget as well. Outlining fixed expenses, variable expenses and debt. She gives you the tools needed to create a budget that suits your lifestyle, while working towards your financial goals. She uses her own personal stories of financial ups and downs to really hit her message home. That being frugal is the way to achieving financial and personal freedom.
It’s important to realize that being frugal isn’t an all or nothing undertaking – do a little or a lot. It’s up to you. For example, last week, using some embroidery thread I darned a pair of my favourite wool socks. The feeling of accomplishment was better than any purchase of new socks! I watched a couple YouTube videos and now I have a new and very useful skill! Take that consumerism!
This year I will be improving upon my very sad vegetable garden – perhaps incorporating some new vegetables and spending more time outdoors as well. Ultimately, living frugally requires a mental shift but once there you’ll wonder how you ever lived any other way. Here’s to living your best life!
— Shaye R.