PostAn Essential, Frugal New Year

As with everything in life the small details can make all the difference.

Living an essential, simplified life doesn’t have to be Spartan and bleak. In fact, done right it can be very fulfilling and joyful.

But one of the keys to a simplified life is living frugally and doing more with less.

As we like to say around here. Less but better…

Here are 6 tips to help you keep more of those hard earned frog pelts in 2017…

  • Consider DYI projects when you can…

This one can get a little tricky because similar to what we’ll discuss in number 4 below, many times, it’s better to spend a little more to get a job done properly by a professional than it is to attempt it ourselves and screw it up. Having said that, If and when you can, you’ll save you a ton of money if you can do a repair job or remodel yourself. If you don’t feel like you have the expertise to pull it off, consider having someone else who knows what they’re doing help you do the project. It can be cheaper that way and then next time you’ll know how to do it yourself…

  • Practice delayed gratification…

Never buy ANYTHING on impulse… If you really have to have that Blouse, Couch, Car …or whatever…Then waiting a day or two is not going to make a huge difference. It’s best to go home and sleep on it for at least a day and let the surge of emotion pass. Once you can think about it clearly and you decide that the purchase is truly going to bring you joy or add to your productivity then great, go make the purchase. It’s a good idea to practice imagining yourself in three or six months down the road with the item. If it’s possible you could be tired of it or not have a use for it in that space of time? Then the purchase is probably not a good idea.

  • Buy food in bulk and prepare meals ahead of time…

This is something my wife Jeannie is very good at. She will buy several pounds of ground turkey, beans and everything else… (Stay tuned because I’ve got her working on writing down recipes and we’ll have them in this space very soon…) And make up a huge pot of Goulash. We will then portion it out into plastic containers and freeze them. At dinner time I go to the freezer grab a container and throw it in the microwave. Add a little crusty bread and a quick salad and POOF! I have a delicious dinner for pennies on the dollar. Sure it’s a little more work but the savings is tremendous and its way healthier to boot! Also, instead of going to the store and buying a pre-cooked chicken full of grease and who knows what preservatives. We go and buy a whole raw chicken. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and about an hour to cook and we’ll have left overs for two or three days. Again, pennies on the dollar from what it costs to buy pre made…

  • Spend a little more for quality items up front…

Depending on the item you are considering purchasing. It might make sense to go ahead and pay a little more now than try and go cheap and have to scrap the item and re-buy in a short amount of time. These are things that you will purchase and use for a long stretch of time, like a bed or a car or a couch. If you can get multiple extra years of use out of something by paying just a little more now, if can make a big difference in the long run.

  • Only use credit cards for emergencies.

You should endeavor to have zero revolving credit card debt! Consumer debt is a huge problem in our western culture. Get into the habit of only purchasing what you have the money for. In other words pay cash for pretty much everything you buy. (When I say cash I’m including debit card transactions) This will save you literally thousands of dollars over the next few years. If you have credit card debt. Make it your number one priority to pay it off as soon as you can…

And finally…

  • Want what you already have…

If you can master this skill, most of the rest of it will take care of itself. There is a quote from a guy named Will Rogers (He was a political satirist in the 1930’s, look him up) He said. “Too many people spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like…”

It’s something that most of us have felt at one point in time or another. Wanting that “Thing” because it would make us feel important or give us status. Needing to own the Prada hand bag because your best friend got one. Lusting over the latest BMW model because the guy at work got one…

It may take a little practice, but the way to simplicity and joy lies through being in the moment. There’s a big difference between “settling for” and actually “wanting” the things you have. It’s a huge paradigm shift that will have far reaching implications for your serenity as well as your pocket book…

Talk soon

Cary David Richards