So, you are interested in living more frugally or you are trying to live more frugally, but are struggling. We have all been there! It is really difficult to go from living one way and then changing things around. It takes conscious thought, planning and some self-control. When my husband and I got married, he was used to not being as thoughtful and frugal with his budget as I was accustomed to. We had both decided to go back to school and move to the beach right after our wedding. With these changes, our finances were going to be particularly tight. So, it was really important to get him into a frugal mindset. Learning how to make frugal decisions is really important. If you don’t learn how to do this, you will likely have failure on your path to living frugally.
I learned quickly that just saying, “oh, we can only spend X dollars for this all month” didn’t really have a big impact on my husband at first. But when I discovered that it was because he just wasn’t accustomed to knowing how to make frugal decisions, it was SO much easier for us to work together and meet our budgeting and frugal living goals.
One of the most important things about getting into the frugal mindset is to acknowledge WHY you are making the choice to live more frugally. This will be different for everyone. Perhaps you are into minimalism. Maybe you need to cut significant dollars out of your budget. You could have the desire to save towards a goal.
Whatever your reason for wanting to live more frugally, make sure that you are CLEAR with yourself (and anyone else that will help make or break your frugal living success). If this means writing your goals out on paper, telling friends and family for accountability, creating a tracker so you can see your progress then do it!
Once you have a clear, defined acknowledgment of why you are wanting to live more frugally, this will help you to make frugal decisions because you will know what your end goal is and why it is important to make the frugal choices.
Figuring out HOW to make frugal decisions becomes easy when you have clear set goals.
Next, know where you are willing to and where you are not willing to live more frugally. It will be a give and take. You probably won’t be able to buy new clothes every month, go out to eat every night and go on expensive trips often.
So, learn to WEIGH each situation against your goals.
For example, Does this trip taking a chunk out of your budget seem WORTH it against not putting savings into your retirement? If it does, and it fits into your budget then go for it! But, if it doesn’t, then learn how to say no.
Learning how to make frugal decisions all boils down to weighing out pros and cons in each situation. The answer may be different for different people in different situations. So, there is no clear cut “right” or “wrong”. But you must know and accept that living with a frugal mindset will mean not always going with the first whim. It may mean creating a savings plan and waiting to buy or do certain things.
You also want to make sure that you are not making ONLY FRUGAL DECISIONS.
If you never splurge once in a while, life won’t be too much fun and you will likely fall off of your frugal living plan at some point.
The last component of learning how to make frugal decisions is knowing that you will need to plan things. This means spur of the moment buys are not usually on the table. Having a good budget tracking system is important because then you will have planned and clearly know what “extra” you have to work with.
Planning also helps with making frugal decisions because it can mean being prepared and not being forced to spend when you don’t want or need to. For example, if you are taking a road trip, making sure you are prepared for eating cheap while you travel takes some time and planning, but can be a significant money saver.
These tips should help you stick with your frugal mindset and successfully learn how to make frugal decisions!