3 Tips for Maintaining a Frugal Mindset
Being frugal over a long period of time is not always easy, especially in today’s world where there seems to be spending temptations around every corner. As with any other sustained effort, having a certain mindset from the beginning can help you stay consistent. Being frugal is about more than just being cheap and trying to find the best deals on everything you buy. Frugality is a lifestyle choice more than anything, and once you learn to treat it like a way of thinking rather than a way of spending you’ll be on the right track to living a more financially stable and fulfilling life. With that said, here are 3 tips you can use to help maintain a frugal mindset:
1. Focus What You Need, Not What You Want
Oftentimes, we catch ourselves looking at bargains on outfits, gadgets, or other items that aren’t necessities. When you let your desires dictate how you spend your money, you’re putting yourself in a position to fail. Before making any purchase, ask yourself “do I really need this item, or do I just want it?” Learn to be happy without the things you want as long as you have the things you need. I learned from Rutgers school of social work that having a strong sense of priority and independence from personal luxuries are two of the most important aspects of developing a frugal mindset that will last.
2. Keep Your Goals in Mind
Another thing that I learned when getting my masters in social work was that there are two types of savers – people who save money just to save, and people who save money with a very specific financial goal in mind. You need to find a balance between the two, leaning more towards saving with a purpose. When you’re able to remind yourself of the reasons for being frugal it’s much easier to convince yourself to continue course. Visualizing your financial goals regularly can help you stay conscious of your reason for being frugal during times when you might otherwise ignore your responsible side.
3. Remember that Saving a Percentage is Not the Same as Not Spending
How many times have you been lured in by a sale and once you’re finished buying your items the cashier says to you “you’ve saved a total of ___ on this transaction.” Did you really save money, or did you spend a little less than you would have? Just because you see the opportunity to take advantage of a great deal doesn’t mean you should. Don’t let promises of 50% off and other discounts trick you into spending money when you would’ve otherwise never made the purchase. A discount should never be a reason to justify unnecessary spending.
Understand that Saving Starts with Psychology
Being frugal is all about having enough discipline and self-control to adhere to a strict budget even when there are opportunities to splurge. By heeding the above tips you can help foster such a mindset so that positive spending traits become learned habits in the long-term.