Frugality and Budgeting

6 Ways to Embrace a Minimal Lifestyle

Embracing the Frugal Lifestyle

By Mariam Khawer

Frugality is spending as little as possible to get the most benefit you can. Simply put, it is being thrifty! But, “frugality” has always had a bad rep being associated with extremity. People assume being frugal means making radical sacrifices to build your savings.  But, as more and more people opt for a less wasteful lifestyle, living a frugal life is becoming the new smart norm. 

Frugality (aka ‘Personal financial Prudence’) is simply handling your finances smartly and making carefully planned purchases. It is not being cheap but rather a conscious effort to reduce the amount of money being spent.  You are financially prudent if you make sure to research before purchasing anything. You would ensure that you receive the best deal on items you need, without compromising on product/service quality and your budget.

As frugality creates more financial freedom, a growing number of people are turning to ‘Minimalism’ to fast-track the achievement of their financial goals.

‘Less is more’- The minimalist approach💸

At its core, ‘Minimalism’ is a philosophy of living an improved quality of life with ‘less’. This includes less clutter, less spending, fewer financial obligations- less of any such mess! Strict adherents to this lifestyle focus on cutting all unnecessary expenses. A minimalist always asks the question- “Is this the best use of my money?”. This way, you prioritize on getting the most value for money. 

‘FIRE’ movement is another such lifestyle that has been catching fire amongst a growing number of millennials and Gen Z’ers, who aim for long-term financial freedom through frugality.

F.I.R.E’ stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”. 🔥

The logic behind this principle is quite straight-forward. As a FIRE movement enthusiast, you work on aggressively boosting your savings by cutting down expenses and finding ways to improve your income. Being an ardent adherent of this movement means saving up to 70-80% of your annual income! Strict followers to this principle can achieve sustainable and quick financial independence and retire early to a life of freedom, with fewer financial obligations. 

‘Minimalist’ and ‘FIRE’ movements may seem challenging for less-ardent believers and beginners. So, here are a few tips to ease you into the process of accepting the Frugal Life!

#1 Never pay full price:

Avoid paying full price for anything unless you absolutely have to. Buy your winter/summer wardrobe during off-season sales and always keep an eye out for discounted items. The beauty of thrift is gaining knowledge of how to score discounts on almost everything. It’s all about knowing when to stop and when not to!

#2 Avoid Eating-Out frequently:

Going out for a delicious meal is a pleasure that no one should have to sacrifice. However, dining out frequently, even at reasonably priced restaurants, is a guaranteed way to spend a lot on food. Most thrifty households keep dining out for special activities and cook at home more frequently than they eat out.

#3 Curb & Control

The most effective way to control your spending is to plan out all or most of your purchases. Budget for regular expenses like groceries and do your research before buying large items, like new appliances. Frugality doesn’t mean you never spend money, it simply means that when you do drop some cash, you always get the best bargain.

#4 Reuse and Recycle

Reusing and recycling or upcycling old items can extend to numerous aspects of your life. Be it old furniture, clothes, or even electronics. Look around your house the next time you plan to make a purchase, find items that you can reupholster or fix and reuse instead of purchasing something brand new. A few examples of this could be using empty glass jars to store your things, reusing your plastic grocery bags as lunch bags etc

#5 Take One Step At A Time

There are two kinds of expenses, fixed and variable. Try and reduce your fixed expenses and then take measures to either eliminate or reduce your variable expenses. This also the first step to Minimalist budgeting.

It can be difficult to practice frugality in all aspects of life; it can make for a very restricted lifestyle. It takes effort to turn practice into a habit. So when you try out new ways to be frugal, give yourself some time, and then decide whether you’ll stick with it in the long run. With time it should become increasingly easier for you to instill frugality in your daily life.

Embracing frugalism does not mean that you must sacrifice your luxury or degrade your standard of living. It simply implies that a balance must be created. It is not about pushing yourself too far or burning out. The key to embracing a more thrifty lifestyle is recognizing the areas where you may need to cut back and choosing the areas where you feel you can expend a little, within reason.

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