Learning To Be Frugal
If you choose to embrace a frugal lifestyle, there are many benefits that will come your way. However first it is important to clear up some common misconceptions about frugality. Some people think that being frugal is equal to sacrificing pleasurable things and living in poverty. This does not have to be the case -- it is entirely possible to enjoy a higher quality of life while adopting the principles of frugality and applying them to your life in a practical and personalized way.
What counts as frugal for one person may not be the same for another so it is important to get an accurate portrait of your finances before making any modifications.
Get a notebook or spreadsheet devoted to finances only, and record for ideally one month how much money is coming in and going out of your household. Keep a small note pad with you so you can jot down spending on the go. Painstakingly tracking your incoming and outgoing cash flow is extremely important before you can master your finances. Once you have an accurate picture of what you're earning and what you're spending in a month, you can devise a frugality plan that suits your needs without making you miserable.
For example, if you discover you are paying $15 per week for gourmet coffeehouse beverages, save money by brewing your own at home and toting it in a travel mug. Maybe you love magazines. This is one of my personal frugality issues and it really adds up. Rather than dropping $2.99 here and $3.50 there for the latest gossip tabloid or women's magazine, find the information you need online for free. Many magazines have online editions, not to mention the plethora of blogs and ezines Internet users can enjoy for free. You'll save paper, which is good for the environment while saving money.
There may be some larger areas of your life where being frugal can help you. If you are struggling in credit card debt, consider consolidating all your debt onto one card, paying it faithfully each month until it is paid off and halting credit spending if possible. Some people only spend cash and refuse to use credit cards. While this may affect your credit rating because you're not accumulating a positive credit history it is better than being mired in debt and obtaining a low credit score. As you can see, there are a variety of ways to stay frugal and this article is just the tip of the iceberg. There are loads of books, websites and other resources that can help you develop a money saving plan that meets your personal financial needs.
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