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Frugal Living In A Not So Frugal World

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Social Issues
Many people have never had a desire or need to live frugally, however modern circumstances are forcing a lot of people to think about tightening their belts and slimming down their budgets.

With gas prices dancing around the 3.00 mark, driving expenses have doubled for many people. With the housing market gone crazy, the affordable fixer upper can still be 300,000 or even 500,000 in some areas.

It takes two salaries just to get by for many people. Even professional workers feel the ever-tightening budget constraints being forced upon them.

What is the answer? It is different for everyone but there are basic things you can do to make your paycheck go a little farther each week or month.

First you need to know where your money goes. Yes, you know the rent or house payment is a fixed amount. You know that you put 40 a week in the car for gas. You are aware of most of your month recurring bills, but do you ever think about all the little things you spend money on and never even give it a second thought.

It is often the small daily expenses that add up and can really surprise people. How much is that fancy morning or noon coffee you buy? 2.50 or more? Lets say you buy one 2.50 coffee a day, that is 12.50 a week (5 days) and totals 54.13 a month (4.33 weeks per month).

Do you realize that if you saved that money each week and put it in a coffee can, at the end of one year you would have 649.50.

Did you say your latte is 3.50 a day or your Frappuccino run 4.75? Start doing the math and you can see where you can keep your current lifestyle, cut back and save quite a bit of money. Or start living frugally by giving up some luxuries.

What other little pleasures in your life are eating into your pocketbook? Each of us has our own expenditures that could easily be cut back on or even eliminated. We all have some areas in our budget where we can cut back.

If a daily Frappuccino represents 1235 a year (do the math), can you see where you just might be able to adjust your spending to gain an upper hand on your finances? Would an extra 1235 a year paid on a credit card or car payment help you out?

As you can see, small sacrifices can add up over the course of a year. What if you did not have the morning roll at break time? Could you cut buying lunch everyday and save even more in a years time?

What about some of your must do habits such as smoking. Cigarettes are getting more and more expensive. Could you create a campaign to cut back by 1/4 or 1/3 what you currently smoke? Although it would be good, I am not saying to quit smoking, just cut back. Cutting back 1/3 should save you over 1.00 a day. That is 365 dollars a year to add to your growing savings.

So, you too can live frugally and no one may ever know you are doing it. Small changes can create big results.