During these financially challenging times we need to continue to be conscious of ways that we can be frugal. Then make being fugal a part of your life that becomes a habit.
Moneyning.com has provided 7 Habits of Highly Frugal People and I wanted to share them with you:
Habit One: Be Proactive
The first habits of highly effective people is to take responsibility for your life, there is no one else to blame but yourself. Regardless of how you were raised or how you were treated at school you are able to choose your behavior now. Being proactive means understanding that you are in control of the direction your life takes and in control of your day to day interactions. Whereas a reactive person is often affected by their environment and will find external sources to blame for their behavior, for example if the weather is good they are in a good mood but if the weather is bad it affects their attitude and so the weather is to blame for their bad mood.
However what most people forget is that between the stimulus and your response is your freedom to choose your response, and one of the most important things you choose are your words. The language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself and if you use proactive language such as ‘I can’ or ‘I will’ you are starting with a more positive attitude than a reactive person who uses language like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I have to’ or ‘if only…’
How to be proactive for effective frugality:
- Take the first step. You cannot take control of your finances until you make the commitment to do so because the more you ignore the situation the worse it will get. Instead take a long hard look at your finances and your budget, your debts, income and expenses and understand where your money is going and where you can budget better.
- Tell people. Using proactive language to vocalize your goal of being more frugal and more financially responsible not only helps you crystallize your goal but can also help you avoid the peer pressure which can make budgeting and frugality hard. If you explain to your friends and family how you are trying to live a more frugal lifestyle then they are less likely to pressure you into one more round of drinks at the pub or dinner out, again.
- Listen. Listen to yourself and listen to the reasons you give each time you make a purchase outside of your budget or decide not to put those spare funds into your savings account. Taking the time to stop and listen to the reasons you give yourself for spending more than you earn will give you the opportunity to hear just how shallow many of those reasons are, and can stop you from making purchases which can impede your goal of effective frugality.
Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind
Those who are effective in achieving their goals are able to envisage their end result despite the obstacles. Highly effective people adhere to this habit based on the principle that all things are created twice, there is the first mental creation and then the second physical creation, and the physical creation follows the mental creation in the same way as the building follows its blueprints.
If you don’t visualize what you want out of life then you are at risk of other people and external circumstances influencing your life because you are not influencing it yourself. Instead begin every day and every task with a clear vision of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there and make that vision a reality with your proactive skills from habit one.
How to visualize effective frugality:
- Define your goal. There are many ways to live a frugal lifestyle and you need to decide on how frugal you want to be. Do you want to be debt free, do you want to build a savings account balance of a certain value or do you want to be able to live on one income in a two income household?
- Decide how you’re going to get there. This will again draw on your budget, but you also need to be aware of the obstacles which are standing in your way. These may be literal obstacles such as credit card debts, or they may be obstacles you have identified in your behavior; for example are you spending $10 every day on junk food on your way home from work because you’re starving when you could be packing a two dollar muesli bar or a low GI lunch to keep you going until dinner. Or do you find that when you go shopping with your sister she always helps you justify a frivolous purchase when you could leave your credit card at home.
Habit Three: Put First Things First
Knowing why you are doing something is an effective motivator in helping you take the mental creation and transform that into an actual physical creation of your goal. Therefore ask yourself which are the things you find most valuable and worthy to you. When you put these things first you will be organizing and managing your time around your personal priorities to make them a reality.
However for many people it is hard to say no but this is exactly the skill you have to learn to be able to keep your goals as your first priority. While we have all of these time-saving devices and we are told we can have it all if we just achieve that elusive work-life balance in reality having it all is really about prioritizing which it is most important to you to have, and then doing that properly.
How to put effective frugality first:
- Recognize the effects of your finances. You may not dedicate as much time as you should to managing your finances and practicing frugal principles because you feel there is always something more important to be doing, whether it is work, taking the kids to soccer practice or getting ready for dinner with the girls. However if your finances are not under control and you are regularly spending more than you earn then this is having a negative impact on every other aspect of your life from your work to your family to your friends. Therefore you need to recognize that being frugal is your first priority.
- Just say no. It is easy to spend more than your budgeted amount each month when you are worried about missing out on a dinner with friends, feel as though you have to cater a birthday party for your son and 50 of his closest friends or you can’t possibly wear the same suit you wore last year to a work conference. However if you recognize that you don’t have to take on everything and that it is all right to say no then you will find you are more in control of your spending and your budget.