Thursday, February 25, 2016

Are You Frugal?

Many people claim to be frugal. 

Many people are frugal. 

Many people don't have a clue how to be frugal. 

Most people don't realize what it takes to be frugal.

Frugal is defined as being economical with what you have, not wasting anything, and being careful with your money. Being frugal means you do not throw away something that could have use down the road. Being frugal means you do not waste a refrigerator full of food or let the leftovers go to waste. Being frugal means you do not foolishly throw away your money on a cool new fancy car when a good sturdy used car will suit your needs perfectly.

A lot of people believe that they can not be frugal because it doesn't come naturally to them. Being frugal doesn't necessarily come naturally. Many ideas and processes come into place to be frugal. Some people are born with the "frugal gene" and are good at being frugal. Many people have had to learn to be frugal either by upbringing or trial by fire.

Some believe that all you need to be frugal is to shop the sales and use coupons. Being frugal is so much more than that. Being frugal means buying at the right time and only buying the things you need now or in the future. For example, buying good quality kids' clothes at a garage sale even though the kids might not be able to wear them for a year or two is being frugal. You are anticipating a need, saving money now by buying the clothes, and will have them on hand when needed instead of buying new and in a hurry potentially costing more money.

Being frugal takes time. Many people are brought up to be frugal by parents or grandparents who didn't have a choice but to be frugal. Otherwise, they wouldn't know how to get by. Frugal habits take time to learn and practice. You don't just wake up and know how to be frugal. You learn by watching others, reading about frugality, and putting those things into practice. Soon you will not even have to think too hard about being frugal because you have practiced frugal habits. 

Some times being frugal take time due to research. Buying a vehicle or even tires for a vehicle takes time. You want to be sure to get the best price for the quality you are looking for. That takes online research, phone calls, taking to the salesperson, and making a calculated decision. You are frugal and don't want to throw away your money on a lemon or bad tires. This part of being frugal can be tedious, but so worth it. 

While many of these things are not taught in schools anymore, kids (and adults) need to learn vital skills to be frugal. Learning to budget, to check your bank balance, how to figure the unit price of an item, and learning how to save money are some of the skills people need to know today to save money. Also, people need to learn how to cook, make basic repairs, sew and mend, and do their own work. Many of these things were taught in high school under the names of Home Economics, Shop, Life Skills, and Basic Living Class. Rarely are these classes taught beyond junior high when they should be taught and mandatory for high school students.

Everyone who is frugal has made mistakes and they learn from those mistakes. Many frugal people could tell you about the one time they thought something was a great deal so they bought without doing thorough research. Then they got home and found out it wasn't such a great deal. They learned and they moved on. Or they returned the item if they could and got their money back. These things happen and that is how you become more frugal. Mistakes can be the best teacher for frugal habits.

However, being frugal is much more than money. Being frugal means planning and thinking ahead. It means planning ahead for the needs of your family whether that means planning meals for the home, lunch for school or work, making bread on the weekends for the week, etc. It means remembering to bring your lunch every day so you don't spend money eating out, remembering to pay bills on time to avoid late fees, and saving money for potential repairs. 

Being frugal is mending a shirt to get more life out of the shirt, accepting some free clothes from a friend, and fixing your own headlight. Being frugal means using last night's leftover pork roast for pulled pork sandwiches today. It means starting your own tomato plants from seed instead of buying the plants at the store for your garden. It means letting your livestock graze on grass a bit instead of buying more feed. It means eating eggs and toast for breakfast at home instead of getting breakfast pizza at the convenience store. 

Being frugal means a lot of things, but it can be easy to be frugal with time, practice, and careful planning. You can be frugal by making a decision every day to do so. Everyone makes mistakes, but you will learn and not make that mistake again. 

You can be frugal. I know you can. 

Thanks for reading,


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