The reality is being frugal has nothing to do with living in poverty while hoarding bags of money. It is not really about sacrificing — although sacrifice is usually required to some degree — and it is not about starving yourself or constantly living under forced deprivation. Instead, it’s really about managing your financial resources.
When you think of someone who is frugal, a coupon-clipper may come to mind. Coupons are one of many tools of frugality, but the coupon itself is not frugal. It is just a method to utilize resources and engage in smart money management. Anyone can clip coupons and find things on sale, but what good is that approach if everything you’re buying has no apparent need? In other words, you’re simply buying the item to use the coupons. Savvy coupon clippers make a list of the essentials they need to purchase. They then apply the coupons to these items, reducing the cost of their groceries. People who use coupons can save countless dollars; money that can be put towards paying off debt or deposited into a savings account.
Frugality goes beyond weekly visits to the grocery store. The key to smart money and resource management is to recognize and accept that there are some things you can afford and others that you can’t. Acknowledging your financial limitations can help prevent you from overspending and sinking deep into debt.
While smart spending encompasses one part of frugality, the other element involves managing personal expenses. Watching your expenses closely can be misinterpreted as deprivation, yet those who are frugal understand it’s a matter of redirecting limited resources to higher priorities. You can’t have everything you want. The frugal person chooses to spend money on items that matter the most, such as a mortgage payment, groceries, and braces for their kids. When they spend money, they spend it where it will do the most good.
Living a frugal life style is a smart choice for people in today’s challenging economy. Consumers who ignore frugality instead usually opt for massive debt and years spent paying it off. Frugality takes an incredible amount of maturity to stay focused on your goals without getting sidetracked.