Those that know me well can vouch for the fact that I am a frugal person. I feel that there is much that is virtuous about living a frugal life. Learning about delayed gratification and the important limits to set upon our role in a consumption based economy is a great path to happiness and peace. The famous economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill once said, “I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than attempting to satisfy them.” This simple phrase rings true to me. This is especially evident as you stand witness to the constant bombardment of consumerism in our media and markets. Take stock of what you have and the blessings of life and you might not fall prey to the treadmill of consumption that will always be tempting you.
Top 10 rules to a frugal life:
- Budget – know where your money goes.
- Be guarded against lifestyle inflation; try to keep income growing faster than expense growth.
- Don’t be wasteful. Consider gently used items when buying cars, and other depreciating assets.
- Find discounts whenever possible.
- Trips and vacations are about experiences, not necessarily lavish accommodations.
- Frugal people rarely eat out, preferring to prepare their own food. I find it better and healthier, not to mention less costly.
- While there are many worthwhile private schools, there is a great value to be found in many of our public schools as well. Consider whether public schools, for both young children and college, may be right for your family.
- Frugal people care less about fads and trends; keeping up does not matter to them.
- Know the value of a dollar, if there is a lower interest rate find it.
- Don’t be cheap, stay generous. It is ok to part with money to help others.
Richard Manske, CFP® Managing Partner