Have you ever been at the point where you really didn’t know how you were going to pay the bills? It’s an experience you don’t forget. I’ve been there in the past in college, and my parents still talk about how hard it was to pay the bills when my twin sister and I were babies.
When money is tight and you’re choosing a thrifty option because you can’t afford anything else, it feels terrible. Choosing a frugal option feels like a punishment for a past decision.
Now, I still make the same frugal choices. But instead of resenting a frugal lifestyle, I embrace it. After all, frugality doesn’t necessarily mean sacrifice. It just means being economical with your money. That’s something you can do regardless of what financial position you’re in. Let me share with you five reasons why I now am loving my frugal ways:
5) Mastering New Skills
One of the reasons why I now enjoy the process of frugality is that I’ve learned numerous skills by looking for creative ways to make the most of my money. I’ve learned how to be a more efficient cook, and I’ve learned how to travel across the world on very little money. There are many more, but let me just highlight one of my favorites:
One of the best skills I’ve practiced in my frugal lifestyle is negotiation. Every single time I buy or sell on Craigslist, I get to practice my negotiation skills. Negotiation is an incredibly important. A starting salary just $5,000 higher can be worth over $600,000 over the course of your career. You can also earn a significant amount more over your lifetime by negotiating above average raises. You’ll save thousands when buying a big purchase like a car or a house if you know how to negotiate. These things can make a huge difference in your financial life.
When my husband and I began to make more frugal money decisions, we took a hard look at how much time, money, and energy we spent taking care of all of our stuff. It takes effort to buy, maintain, and get rid of possessions. When you look at it that way, it makes a great deal of sense to be as selective and economical as possible when buying new things.
One of the best frugal moves we made was to downsize from a large two bedroom apartment to a one bedroom that was within walking distance to my husband’s work. It was incredibly freeing to get rid of most of our extra things. We downsized from two cars to one. We donated our extra sets of dishes. What were we doing with twelve sets of dishes anyways? Not only did we bring in extra money from selling our stuff, we also drastically lowered our monthly expenses. And even better, we spend much less time cleaning and maintaining our stuff.
One of the best parts of a frugal lifestyle is feeling a greater sense of financial security. Because of our frugal lifestyle, my husband and I have been able to save up an emergency fund and contribute to retirement accounts. Considering that a baby boomer will experience an average of over five periods of unemployment over a lifetime, it’s wise to be prepared for job loss. It’s a great feeling to know you have a plan in case you’re laid off or get sick.
Even if you’re not to a place where you’ve been able to save a healthy emergency fund, frugality still helps. Every little bit of credit card debt or student loan debt you’ve paid off is less to worry about and less to accumulate interest. Not only that, since you have so many frugality skills, you’re more capable of controlling your current money situation. The fact that you have more money management skills adds to a sense of security.
Part of a living a frugal lifestyle is realizing when you have enough. There’s no need to buy another blanket; you already have three. There’s no need to buy more kitchen gadgets. You already have two mixing spoons, and you usually just use your favorite anyways. Since you weigh each purchase carefully, you know that the things you do get you’ll truly appreciate and enjoy. And for the rest of the things you don’t think you’ll get value out of, you say no. You have enough.
When you know what enough is, then all of a sudden, life feels abundant. You realize how many things are extra. It’s when you have eight pots and pans, and you only use two. It’s when you own a car and could drive everywhere — but instead you choose to walk. It’s when you now have a little extra in your budget that you can send toward making a better future for yourself when there used to be no wiggle room. It’s a good place to be when life feels abundant.
1) More Freedom
One of the biggest benefits from being frugal is that my husband and I have drastically lowered the amount we need to live on, and we’ve increased how much we have in the bank. That has allowed us an incredible amount of freedom in how we live our daily lives.
Last year, my husband and I saved up a huge pile of money in the bank. I then used that extra money to take a backpacking trip around Europe and start my own writing business. These were things I had been dreaming of for years. When your expenses are in control and you have money in the bank, the world is full of possibilities. To me, there’s nothing more powerful than the ability to choose how you’d like to spend your time.
How do you feel about frugality? How has it benefited your life?
This post has been written by our amazingly talented staff writer Jenna who hails from http://pftwins.com.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.