When I first started this blog I knew the basics about frugality, but I also knew there was plenty of room for improvement. I started reading blogs such as Like Merchant Ships and Wise Bread, and I felt overwhelmed. Every idea I read seemed like a good idea…a good idea I was not yet practicing.
I wanted to implement the new ideas, and I wanted to implement them all at once. At first that’s what I tried. And I failed. Miserably. I’d do OK for a week, and then I’d spend a lot of money, because I was tired of feeling restricted by my new budget.
Sadly, my story is not unique. It’s the beginning of the year, and many people have set the goal of saving more money through frugality. And many people will fail, because their new frugal life will feel too restricting.
To help make sure you’re not one of the people destined to toss frugality aside because it’s too hard, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned that have helped me enjoy being frugal.
Baby Steps are the Key to Being Frugal
You can’t change in a day. Frugality isn’t something you just decide to do. Frugal living is a process. A year and a half into my new frugal lifestyle, I still have a lot to learn. At this point I enjoy looking for new ways to be frugal, but it wasn’t always that way.
If you’re new to frugality, pick one area of your life where you want to save money. And then pick one thing you can change to save money in that area. Let’s say you want to save money on food. Resolve to take your lunch to work every day, instead of buying lunch. If that’s too much, shoot for 4 times a week, and treat yourself to lunch out on Fridays.
At first it will take a lot of work, but after a while, packing your lunch will become routine. When you find that packing your lunch has become easy and almost automatic, pick a different area to work on.
Once your frugal changes become habits, you won’t see them as work anymore. But in order to make a new habit, you have to start small.
Being Frugal is a Learning Process
I don’t think there is any one person out there who has mastered everything there is to know about being frugal. If there is, I’d love to meet that person!
No matter how frugal a person is, there is always more to learn. Frugality is a lifelong process, and you never stop growing. That’s what’s so exciting about it! I love finding new ways to save money! And I love trying new tips that other people give me!
Being Frugal is a Group Effort
It’s hard to go at it alone. It’s important to have support. The best support comes from the people who live around you, but if you don’t know any frugal people in your area, online support can work, too.
It’s important to know other people who are frugal and happy being that way. If you’re surrounded by people who are constantly spending money and who look at you funny when you mention you’re trying to save, it’s going to be hard not to second guess yourself.
But if you get to know people who are content and even excited about their frugal lifestyle, it’s much easier to get excited about your own journey into frugal living!
If you want to know more about how to start being frugal, be sure to listen to Frugal Coast2Coast tonight as Jenn and I discuss that very subject. And if you have a question, feel free to call in. And as usual, if you can’t make it tonight at 8:30 EST/ 5:30 PST, I’ll post the archived show in my sidebar, so you can listen later.
Do you have any tips for people who don’t know where to begin becoming more frugal?
Photo by stopnlook.