Saving money and living a more frugal life isn’t so much about how well you can budget, it is about changing your habits. You can set up the most solid budget in the world and still find that your bank account is leaking money due to your everyday spending habits. By changing these spending habits, little by little each day, even the most compulsive shopper can find that living frugally becomes second nature.
Analyze Your Life
One of the best ways to start a frugal life is to start adding up all those small expenses. If you stop at Starbucks maybe once or twice a week, that’s about $15-$20 dollars. A daily trip to the vending machine could be another $10 a week. This may sound like chump change on a week-by-week basis, but it adds up on a monthly or even yearly scale. Sometimes all it takes is to do the math to discover that you really do have a spending habit.
Tackle One Habit at a Time
Say it’s the beginning of the month after hammering out your new frugal life. You’re all gung-ho and want to start saving money by bringing your own work lunches, making your own coffee, avoiding the vending machine that accepts credit cards, and no longer taking hour-long showers. There is no possible way that you won’t save money with all that, right? Well, that’s true, right up until you get burned out from trying to drastically quit everything you love.
Some things just make you happy, but by taking everything that you are used to out of your life at the same time, you will break quickly. Focus on one bad spending habit at a time, and you will find the adjustment period is much more bearable.
Replace Triggers With Positive Habits
After a bad day at work, your first impulse may be to go do a little shopping to cheer yourself up. Work can be a serious trigger for many people to go out and try to buy their way into feeling better. However, instead of spending some serious cash, instead try to find a positive action that could replace all those spending triggers. Perhaps spend some time on a hobby, exercise, or go meet up with a friend. The positive action doesn’t need completely free at first either, so long as you are spending less than you otherwise would out shopping.