You know the saying: Spend less than you earn. To achieve this, either increase your income or reduce your expenses, or both.
Frugality might be up there with budgeting as far as unsavory personal finance words go. For a lot of people, images of rice and beans every night for dinner and wearing 8 sweaters around the house to avoid turning the heat on come to mind.
I agree that finding ways to increase your income can go a long way in improving your finances. But how fast and how far it goes is still dependent on how much of it you spend.
Picture a boat. The boat is your income – a bigger and faster boat = a bigger income. Boats have anchors, too. The anchor is your expenses. How much your lifestyle costs. A small boat with a big anchor isn’t going anywhere – it’s literally treading water. A small boat with a small anchor isn’t going to go 70mph, but it WILL make progress.
It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Frugal
This means two things.
- Being frugal (having a smaller anchor) can only help your boat go faster. There are some no-brainer ways to save money out there. Downvoting anything involving frugality, not being willing to objectively look at your expenses, and only being satisfied with the most recognized, popular, or longstanding brand/version/type of whatever you buy sounds more deprived than having the freedom of choice. Is there a more efficient option out there? It can’t hurt to look!
- Doing things like air drying clothes (they last longer and save on energy costs), driving a smaller, slightly older car, living in a smaller place, making batch lunches at home instead of going out at work are all more frugal alternatives than their counterparts. There’s a million more out there. When you are willing to look at your expenses and realize that It Can’t Hurt To Look, there’s a good chance you’ll find some place in your life to save money with as little effort as you want. Use a cash back credit card, get email reminders for grocery sales, automate whatever you want. There are plenty of ways to save money that don’t hurt.
It’s easy to get intimidated. When searching for frugal tips, you’re probably going to read about people who eat, live, and breathe frugality (that’s why their blog is the first result you clicked on, duh!). If you don’t want to be that extreme, that’s fine. But don’t hamstring yourself into thinking that there are no ways to save money that aren’t as easy as increasing your income.
There are plenty. And since this is a post about easy answers and avoiding pain, here’s one more tip. Spending the time and energy to build a bigger boat just to accommodate a bigger anchor is probably going to be more painful than wearing a hoodie instead of a t-shirt around the house in December.
Image by Nanhatai8 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net