Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Perfectly Practical #92 - So, You Want to Be Frugal...

It's a new year and you want to make a few changes in your financial life. Is it because you've watched a few too many extreme couponing shows? Do you want to simplify your life? Or after the fleeting gratification of opening them, are you left with months to pay off gifts that may be outgrown or broken by the time you actually own them?

Whatever the reason, it is good that you recognize being frugal is a positive lifestyle choice. And that's exactly what it is - a choice.

There is no big secret or talent to being frugal. It doesn't take "a certain type of person" and it doesn't mean you need to go all Green Acres and leave Park Avenue for a homestead plot in the country. In fact, I believe frugality is firmly founded on one principle:  have a mindset to be intentional.

That's it. Sounds easy, right? In some ways it is, in others, not so much.

You may remember the shoe box parts 1 & 2 or the whole chicken posts. They are good examples of being intentional. It's all about taking a moment to think how to use a product or situation to take the fullest advantage of it.

For instance, if you need to go to the library, bank, and post office this week, instead of running those errands on separate days, do them all on one day. Alternatively, while you are already out grocery shopping or taking a child to piano lessons, run your errands then. You will use less gas (saving money) and effort (saving time) by combining the trips. That's an easy way to start saving a little money that takes almost no extra effort on your part.

If you would like to see how a few ladies are being frugal and intentional in the kitchen this month, you can check out, or better yet, join in the pantry challenge.

Any change starts with the first step; the first step towards being frugal is changing your mindset to thinking intentionally.  My friend Thrifty Texas Penny talks about fiscal "band-aids" - those little cover-ups that help to see short term progress but don't plug the hemorrhaging gash.  Changing your mindset to a frugal one will start the healing process of your financial wound. 

This is the first in a series about becoming frugal. Here are some myths about frugality that will be covered through this series:
  • Frugal means cheap
  • Simple means easy
  • Thrifty means settling for less

This is part of Works for Me Wednesday.


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