5 Tips to Be More Frugal

Frugality is living simple and below your means or income.

Being frugal is not my nature. Being frugal is what I want to become and live by. Being frugal is not an easy journey for me since I was exposed to being materialistic.

Knowing the struggle, I undestand why many shopaholic wish to change and be more frugal, but they find it hard to change. I’m creating this article especially for them.

Like many, I am attracted to material things. But over the years, I’m practicing a simple, less materialistic and more frugal lifestyle.

My attraction to material things rooted back when I was little kid. Growing up, my mother used to bring us along to her office work in the City.

In the city, I saw how well dressed the people are. From their hair, make up, clothes, shoes, bags and many other nice things. They all look rich and successful. 

At a young age such visit to my mom’s office influenced my decision to take up accountancy. Because somehow I wanted to be that well dressed corporate woman like those in the city .

So I studied hard to pass and become a Certified Public Accountant. Finally, one day, it happened. In early 2000, I was a young CPA working as an auditor in the city where my mom used to work. I was well dressed, had my make up on and I had nice bags and shoes. I looked rich and successful. 

Aside from giving allowance at home, most of my income I spent shopping for those material things. So I was living from paycheck to paycheck where I’ll earn then spend it all. Then work to earn again just to spend it all again. It was a cycle.

A turning point happened when my mom gave me a credit card. Things got to worse, now I can spend even if I don’t have my earnings yet. So now I have to also include payment of credit card loan in my paycheck budget.

Frustrated with my finances and my shopping addiction, I felt I looked rich and successful but in reality I was actually broke. Like an answered prayer, a book showed up and caught my attention. It was entitled “Confession of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella”. That booked helped me realized and admitted my shopping problem. It started my journey to fight my shopping addiction and my materialistic nature.

Since then I made it my mission to fight the urge to be materialistic, and be more frugal. And it wasn’t an easy journey because old habits are indeed hard to break. But what helped me were my efforts to continuously read books on money management, investing and joining clubs like the Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Club. By reading books and attending seminars, I have learned these few tips on how to be more frugal.

1. List down your daily spendings or expenses

The first step to being frugal is to track or monitor your expenses. When you know where your money goes, the better you can manage or monitor it. You cannot manage or monitor something you don’t know.

2. Ask yourself: Do I need it or do I want it?

Once you already know your expenses or where your money goes, the next way to reduce your shopping addiction is to ask yourself this question: do I need it or do I want it?

  • Need – are basic necessities to live and survive such as food, shelter, transportation etc
  • Want – are anything in excess of the basic need I categorize as wants such as expensive dining, excessive shopping of clothes, etc

If you want to improve your finances and cure your shopping addiction, only spend on need and eliminate or minimize wants.

3. You either cutback on your expenses or earn more, or do both

Once you already know your expenses and has resist buying on wants, the next way to reduce your shopping addiction is to reflect which method you want to practice: to reduce expense or to earn more.

The easiest is to cut back on expenses, to live and spend within your income. But it’s hard to do because it requires self-discipline.

The second option is to find ways to earn more.

But if you’d ask me, do both. Cut back expenses and earn more.

4. Look at your things and let go of the excess

Another way to cure shopping addiction is to be minimalist. Minimalism is keeping only few necessary things in your life. The rest you dispose or let go.

When you let go, try to sell it. You’ll be amazed how much you can earn with all your excess things.

Once you let go, remove the temptation to buy again. Instead try to live within the few things you have.

5. Avoid going to shopping centres such as malls

Last but not the least, to be frugal, avoid the temptation to spend and be materialistic by avoiding shopping centers such as malls.

If you cannot totally avoid the malls, make sure you don’t go around window shopping. Instead, bring a list of the things you need to buy, and strictly buy only those in the list then leave.

I hope this article has been helpful for you. Being frugal is a discipline of being happy with simple and less. If you want to become frugal, it can happen, but you just need determination, discipline and guidance. Similar to bathing, make it a daily habit and commitment to improve your personal finances. In time being frugal will become part of you.

For a final note, remember this saying:

The secret to happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. ~ Socrates

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