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Thinking about the comment “living with less” often translates into stripping down the things you have in your home, selling them off and having a mattress on a floor, with one lamp and very little in the way of buying capability or flexibility.
In actuality, you can look at living with less as a way to justify saving money, not that you need to do that.
Saving money and living with less aren’t necessarily a bad thing depending on perspective and how you define both. We all know saving money is paramount, but you can’t overlook the hows when you think about setting aside cash for anything from that proverbial rainy day to retirement.
Living with less just means that you have what you want, need and still can enjoy life when it comes to spending but perhaps just modifying how you spend so saving is truly possible.
Those of us who have a substantial savings account and are saving for retirement feel relief and don’t mind living below our means or cutting from our expenses without actually losing out on services or products.
They simply adapt.
Take your cable television for instance.
You can cut that $200 per month bill and not sit in front of a blank television or computer. You can look into much cheaper streaming services and get your news from the internet, since you’ll need that service for streaming. All in all, you can save 50 percent off your total monthly bill for television and entertainment, minus completely blacking out that service.
Clothing is another source of fun for most, but when you think about shopping, some would argue that is a habit or a trend that is bad for business, your business specifically of trying to save money.
Remember that used clothing isn’t taboo or stores that sell designer or brand names for less aren’t about your dreams of shopping off the rack but instead simply means you’ll have to work a little harder for your clothing line to be as you would have hoped, minus the high end price tags that are tearing into your budget.
The most important part of living with less is realizing that it isn’t a bad thing, nor does it mean you have to miss out on the finer things in life. Instead, it’s about adjustments and taking hold of your financial future and not being driven by possession but rather possessing the find of assets in the form of money saved that matters most.
The term “cheap” gets misused in quite a negative way. You think when someone is cheap that they simply hoard money and refuse to spend in any way possible, even if it is for something that would be deemed a necessity.
Being cheap isn’t about not spending but rather an eye on how to save, spend smartly and having the ability to do what more than 50 percent of the population doesn’t do: put money aside in a savings account.
When you live cheaply or, better put, frugally, you are well aware of two main elements of your spending: how much you make and how much you spend, and the former is always larger than the latter.
The frugal lifestyle is all about budgeting and paying close attention to your money. Those people are always adept at knowing any spots they can save, whether that’s curbing their daytime lunch visits to a fast food place or skipping the shopping spree and upping their 401K contribution with every raise they get at their place of business.
The trick to is to figure out how to live comfortably, and that isn’t code word for a pool, vacationing twice per year and having two or three cars when one will do. Living comfortably means taking what you make and going 20 to 30 percent below that number so that you’re able to save without sacrificing. That might include buying a $150,000 house instead of $200,000 (even if you’re approved for the latter number).
You might buy a used car and save thousands on one that is new. The adaptability is paramount because you’re not giving up but rather modifying what you need with something that hardly would be considered average or just serviceable.
Finally, you have to remember that being frugal and cheap aren’t the same. People who live within their means and are frugal still purchase quality over a product or service that is inexpensive. The inexpensive part means that they aren’t going to buy cheap shoes, when a more expensive pair that costs a hundred dollars is going to last five years versus buying $20 shoes twice a year for that same time period (roughly double the amount of that sole pair).
So go ahead, be frugal and feel fine doing so because in the end you’ll have money leftover to be able to save, budget and still not miss out on what you need to live the right way with money in the bank on your mind.