Two Things You Can Do Today to Start Living Frugally

Ever feel overwhelmed at the thought of living frugally. Sometimes we are living on tight budgets, paycheck to paycheck and things can seem daunting. Sometimes we say we are too busy, we don’t have enough cash flow to make any changes. Ever talked yourself out of making a change? If you ever wished you were more frugal, today is the day to start. There are two things you can do to start this journey today.

Learn to Prioritize

It’s great that you want to save money. Really, it is but it does take effort. If you want to start living frugally you must be committed to a lifestyle shift.  Please realize I do not spend oodles of time each day thinking of ways to save money every day. After a while, it does become automatic but first, you have to learn to say no, you have to learn how to prioritize. Yes, you will need to cut some things. When I cut the cable, it seemed like I would have nothing to watch but I have found ways to watch great shows while maintaining my budget. You will learn you need to cut the fluff to make room for things that are actually important like planning for the long term, thinking of family vacations, that major purchase you have dreamed of making, retirement and the like.

Set Realistic Goals

Have you made the commitment to live a more frugal life? That is great! Let’s build on that commitment, by setting realistic goals. Let’s get cozy. Sit down with your spouse or family and have a real talk about what is important to you as a family. What are the things you love? What is important to you? Knowing what is really important to you as a family moving forward will help you set realistic goals. You will know your why.  Pick two or three.

Start with two or three long-term goals, if you choose more you may get overwhelmed. For instance, if you set the goal of being debt free, taking a trip, planning for retirement, planning for an emergency fund all at once you may feel overwhelmed. It is okay to take baby steps but you have to get started and the best way to do that is by making two or three realistic goals. Once you have those goals in place, you can chunk it down it to smaller goals.

Here is an example:

You want a new car and you plan on saving so you can pay cash for that car. Your car budget is $10,000 and you would like to purchase that car in the next two years.

You have to save $5,000 a year or 416.00 per month or 96.00 every week.

When you lay out your goals, know where the money is coming from, if you have cut from one area you can move that money to your savings. Are you going to also sell things to help get you there? Are you going to look for extra work? Part of realistic goal setting is knowing how it can be achieved. Make a plan, the work the plan.

Yes, making goals takes time but it is time well spent. Once you have started working on your goals, you will want to track your progress as this will keep you motivated.

By learning to prioritize and making goals you are starting to take baby steps to a frugal rewarding life. If you were just starting on a frugal lifestyle what tips or tricks have worked for you?

 

How I Learned to Live on a Budget

commoncentsmom

When I was younger, I always envisioned myself happily married raising kids and being a stay at home mom while my husband was the bread winner. Call me an old fashioned gal okay! I know what was I thinking!

Back in 1997, I had that. I was a newly married step mom to three children under the age of 8. I loved my life, we lived in rural New Mexico on the edge of Carlsbad, owned a small property management company and well were happy or so I thought at the time. I was pregnant with Roo and life was good. I was always busy between family responsibilities, helping my husband with the business and church responsibilities I was always on the go.

Then came that dreadful day and my life changed in an instant, my dream became my nightmare. I had been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sealed in the temple, serving in the ward and community and my life changed radically and quickly. The night my life changed was the same night Princess Diana died. I felt like I wept as the world was weeping.

By January 1998, I was a homeless mom of a newborn daughter. Picking up the pieces after a shattered dream. I found I needed family close by so I chose to move home to Toronto, my birth place, and home to my dad and grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. We arrived back in Canada in August of 1998.

Now it was time to get real and address what needed addressing; I found us a cute little apartment. I went back to school and then when Roo was 18 months old I finally returned to the world of work. Quickly, I found out that well that living off one income in Toronto was going to force me to get creative and learn all I could about living on a budget. I decided that living in the big city was too expensive and ended up in Hamilton for awhile (3 years).

Then on June 24th, 2004, the unthinkable happened. There was a deadly fire. At 3 am we were woken by firemen at our door. Our apartment building was on fire; the fire was originating from a unit very close to ours. We watched as the adjoining building burnt to the ground, and a young woman died just feet from where Roo’s bed was. After the fire, we were allowed to move back in but to honest, after the fire, it simply was not a place I wanted to be. At the same time, my dear daughter Roo was starting to have medical problems that were on brought to a head by all that we were going through.

I decided to come back to Toronto as the supports I would need in raising Roo were here, so I quickly had learned to live on the cheap. Budgeting was a must. For over two years I could not work as I was seeing that Roo got diagnosed, and saw that she was getting the best treatment and therapies that we could get. I am thankful this period in my life taught me that I can be self-reliant on little. Not to say I haven’t had help from family, friends, and even strangers along the way but I have learned to live on less. I know that I don’t have to wear the latest fashion, eat out much, buy the newest toy, or buy into all the material things that consume so many….I have taken a step back and am now a frugal money smart mom, and even though some days it is challenging I am blessed cause I now know that I can and will forever be a frugal mom no matter how my life might change in the days and years ahead.