Thriving on Less – Tools for a Frugal Life

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” – Confucius

With any undertaking, it’s important to have the right tools. The same is true when you simplify, scale back, live more frugally and sustainably, and make room in your life for things you love.

We’ve already discussed several key tools. The Short List:

  1. Determining your essentials and eliminating the rest.
  2. A “thriving” mindset where you focus on what you love, not what you don’t have.
  3. An “enough” mindset, where you realize you already have enough, and stop wanting more.
  4. A plan to reduce expenses, both small and large.
  5. Sound financial habits.
  6. Debt-elimination strategies.

Thriving on Less – A Guide to Getting Out of Debt

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Debt is the worst poverty.” – Thomas Fuller

It was only a few years ago when I was overloaded with debt – so much so that I couldn’t make all my payments and I had numerous debts sent to several collection agencies. I had creditors calling me for late payments, and I was juggling them, constantly stressed about how I was going to make my car payment and make rent. It’s hard to imagine those days now – the unbearable burden of that debt – because as of this year, I am debt free!

It’s an amazingly liberating feeling to be free of debt. Your money is your own, and you have breathing room in your budget for saving, investing, and buying what you need.

Thriving on Less – Changing Your Spending Habits

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

While you can cut costs here and there, the real, lasting changes won’t come until you change your habits. If you currently give in to impulse purchases on a regular basis, for example, you’ll still spend a lot of money despite making numerous cuts in other areas.

An important long-term strategy is to create new, sound financial habits, one at a time. See The Power of Less for more on creating new habits. Use the effective habit-change techniques in the book to change one habit at a time. Here are some important habits to form:

Thriving on Less – Make Small Financial Changes First

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

“Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.” – Saul Bellow

While it’s important, when scaling back, to try to eliminate non-essential expenses as much as possible, you can’t change everything all at once. And even if you tried, you’d be less likely to be successful – drastic changes don’t stick as well as small ones do.

So start small when you start changing your financial habits. Want to save money? Cut back on eating out a bit – if you currently eat out 5 times a week, for example, try doing it only 2-3 times and save the difference. That’s a great way to start.