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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Adopting Frugality into Your Personal Philosophy

Maybe you want to finally go on that tropical vacation? Or maybe you just want to pay off those credit cards and student loans? No matter what your goal, chances are you've got to start saving. But can pinching pennies really get you there? The answer: yes and no. Penny pinching alone rarely gets you to Jamaica or dissolves debt, but it can lead to larger lifestyle changes that bring you closer to your dreams.

Get Serious about Saving

For many people, saving money is a lot like dieting - a New Year's resolution that doesn't make it to see February. Like many other worthy goals, efforts to save money get abandoned in their infancy because people lack commitment and support. There's no avoiding it, just like dieting, saving money takes effort. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. In fact, it's probably a lot easier than you think. The trick is to get serious about saving. Getting serious means setting attainable goals and assessing your progress towards achieving those goals. Too often we get discouraged because we feel like we aren't making any progress. Either this is because we haven't found a way to assess our progress, or we've set unrealistic goals. Don't set yourself up to fail.

Frugality as Lifestyle

Instead, set small goals that aim to change your everyday habits so that frugality becomes a lifestyle rather than a "solution." Just like doctors and other health professionals stress "healthy eating habits" and a "healthy lifestyle" over "dieting", you should avoid thinking of saving as a temporary solution. Most financial goals aren't met overnight so it doesn't make sense to think that a few weeks of saving will do the trick. Rather, plan to change your spending habits permanently. This will make it easier to continue them in spite of slow progress, make you more receptive to the progress you are making, and help you continue to avoid financial crises throughout your life.

Living frugally is an accomplishment in itself and if you adopt it as a lifestyle you'll often find that the pride you feel in finding a good deal or meeting your financial goals can be just as rewarding as the money you save.

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