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For some, the word ‘frugal’ can have negative connotations. When I was young I heard it associated with being cheap or stingy. This is because money is a taboo topic and can be hard to discuss.
But what does the word ‘frugal’ mean?
According to Google:
“sparing or economical with regard to money or food.”
OR “simple and plain costing a little”
When I first discovered the world of personal finance, I was introduced to many podcasters and writers. These people were telling stories that resonated with me. I dreamed of the progress and journeys they talked about.
On an episode of Martini’s and Your Money, Liz, from frugalwoods.com, said,
“The less money you need to live, the less money you need to make.”
That simple sentence explained frugality in a beautiful way. It’s helped shape my mindset around money. I don’t live in scarcity, I only need what I need.
Personal finance is personal and frugality looks different for everyone.
In many circles, being frugal is spending money on things you value and getting creative to save in the areas you don’t. This could mean using a video to DIY small repairs, doing a pantry-only cooking challenge, or walking to work. These are all great examples of frugality.
Lessening expenses can only get you so far. You can’t frugal all the way to being rich, but it can be a tool in your toolbelt and is one of my personal favorites.
Spend money on what brings you value.
Spend money intentionally.
It’s about mindfulness.
THERE IS A SPECTRUM OF FRUGALITY
In researching frugal blogs, books, and podcasts, there was no shortage of people sharing tips! You will find people who complete ‘No-Spend’ months or YEARS, cut their own hair, meal prep for dollars per serving, and get creative with side hustles. The community is inspiring.
You don’t have to be the frugal-ist frugal person. Certainly don’t let ‘frugal guilt’ keep you from getting started. A small habit that saves money will compound over time.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
When setting goals or intentions, be honest about what you want to achieve and take actionable steps to get there. Try a few ‘No-Spend’ days before joining a month-long challenge. You don’t turn your entire life upside down if that doesn’t work for you.
WHERE IS THE MONEY
It is very common in America to be living paycheck to paycheck. Most are unable to cover a $1,000 emergency in cash. Until I started working with The Financial Gym in 2019, I was part of that staggering percentage. I let debt keep me from saving and my habits were not sustainable.
I knew drastic change was necessary for me, so I printed out one year’s worth of bank and credit card statements. I went in with pens and fun highlighters to help soothe the findings of this investigation. I was working 80 hour weeks but had so little money.
After adding up all the numbers, it was time to reflect. There was a huge gap between what I was earning and spending. The most surprising part? There was a lot of spending in areas that upon thinking, really did not bring me value.
This exercise helped me see the opportunities in my spending, but that wasn’t the only area. I became determined to increase my income (and still am!).
FRUGAL - ISH
Being frugal doesn’t mean giving up everything in my life that brings joy. It frees up money for me to spend on the things that add value to my life. For me, it’s small things like walking to work or taking the bus when I’m tempted to hail a car. I make coffee at home on my days off and my partner and I cook together. He usually picks up the bill when we go out and I leave the cash tip. My trainer sets a weekly spend in the plan, and I try to save half of that each week.
SPENDING MONEY CAN BE FRUGALWorking with a Financial Trainer is the best money I spend each month. I struggled with financial anxiety for most of my life and working with the gym has been healing. Not only has there been tangible growth in my net worth, the gym has given me so much more.
I now have the confidence to not worry about the amount of money I have, but how to use what I have to create the life I want to live. A membership with the gym also comes with so much opportunity for financial literacy, growth and community. If you want to work with a trainer, schedule a free call using MY LINK!
If you aren’t quite ready to make the leap, there are many FREE resources and experts out there. Many have written books, blogs, or recorded entire podcasts all about the subject of frugality. Use what works for you and start crafting your own tool belt!
Let me know in the comments some of your favorite ways to be frugal.