If you find yourself in a difficult time financially, you might want to downsize your life to lead a more frugal existence. Whether you are a money-waster or a bit too free with your cash, you are here because you’ve run into some difficulties. As difficult as it might sound, it’s worth remembering that a lot of people live on very little and find a way to do it. So, you can get through it, too, whether it’s something you want to try as a way to save money or because you have absolutely no choice but to cut your spending.
The average person is guilty of spending too much on useless things, whether it’s ordering food, coffee shops, vending machines, nail polish, or an endless list of subscription services. Living more frugally doesn’t mean your life has to be meaningless or boring – it will allow you to focus on your goals and find enjoyment in other ways.
1| Understand Wants & Needs
A lot of people struggle to differentiate between wants and needs. For example, you need water. It’s a basic need, but that has evolved into the want of bottled water, caffeine, soft drinks, etc. Food is a basic need, but it becomes a want when it revolves around eating out or eating specific snacks. Shelter is a basic need, but it can become an overspending want when you convince yourself you need a house in a specific neighborhood or a specific size. Clothing is a basic need, but luxury brands are a want.
You need those basics to survive, but the wants they evolve into are needless. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve nice things, but it does mean you are prone to wasting money on things you view as a need despite it being a want.
Decluttering is one of the key “symptoms” of being a frugal person. There are a lot of great reasons to declutter and downsize. Firstly, if you can downsize your home (or vehicle), then you will likely save money in terms of mortgage/rent/payments, insurance, utility bills, maintenance, and how much stuff you hold onto.
If you can’t downsize, you can declutter to clear out and sell what you no longer use or need.
There are so many streaming platforms it’s impossible to pay for all of them. Consider paying for none of them. As useful as some of them are, the rising cost might be one you can’t justify as you attempt to live more frugally. You can pick up puzzles, DVDs, and sports gear on the cheap at thrift stores and enjoy its entertainment regularly.
That doesn’t mean you have to cut everything out but be ruthless when you review your spending. If you constantly use one specific streaming service, then keep it and cut the rest.
If you love having movie nights and you make a big trip to the theater with the kids, consider renting it at home. It will save you a small fortune, and still let you have that special time. You might want to consider ditching cable too because that’s a rising bill that most people could do without. And ditching cable might let you keep a couple of streaming services instead.
This is a big one, and it’s going to be a bitter pill to swallow for a lot of people. One of the biggest motivators behind spending is keeping up with or impressing others. It’s what drives people to overextend themselves on mortgages and cars.
It’s often what motivates people to buy luxury brand clothing. It might be what pushes you to drink a specific alcohol brand. Reassess everything – what do you enjoy? Because spending your money as a means to impress others is not going to make you happy.