If you want to stop spending and want to embrace frugality, the process to switch on over to the frugal side of life isn’t as complicated as one might think.
After all, spending habits, much like eating habits, really come down to the amount of self-control you have, which is something we all can work on incrementally over time. For the record, no one expects a recovering spender to switch cold turkey into never buying anything fun ever again, but there are ways to embrace frugality one step at a time.
Following are some tips for recovering spenders who want to become frugal.
Get a Tribe
If you’re on the path to financial wellness and you want to embrace frugal living, it’s very important to take an inventory of the people you spend time with. It might sound a bit harsh, but if you’re constantly surrounded by people who love to shop and aren’t frugal, it’s going to be hard for you to resist temptation.
Just this morning, my mother-in-law brought me doughnuts from the most amazing doughnut shop in the world, and as I’m sure you can imagine, this is not something I could resist. If I wanted to lose weight, visiting Louisiana for a few weeks like I’m doing right now would probably not be the best idea. I went off on a bit of a tangent, but I just wanted to give an example. Essentially, again, it’s quite similar to dieting. When you’re around people who eat fast food and doughnuts all the time, it’s going to be harder to say no to the foods you aren’t supposed to eat. Similarly, if you’re around spenders, it will be hard not to spend.
So, get a tribe. Join Facebook groups that share tips on frugality. Start a personal finance blog. Meet up with other college students or moms or people in your church who are trying to improve their finances. It’s hard to embrace frugality on your own but with a tribe, you gain the support you need to get there.
Many people know it if they are a spender, but most of the time, they don’t know exactly where their money goes. The next step to being a recovering spender is to be informed.
Whether you use an online tool like Personal Capital or simply write it down on a piece of paper, tracking your spending is essential to getting an accurate assessment of your financial situation and the knowledge you need to make positive changes. Once you have a better idea of where your money is going each month, you can know where you need to cut back.
For most people, they overspend on food and shopping. Sometimes, avoiding going to the mall or skipping Starbucks is just the habit change they need to really stop spending excessively once and for all.
Once you get a tribe and you track your spending, something happens to a recovering spender. Essentially, you start to feel empowered and even excited. Most people don’t realize what a rush it is to have control over your money. We all like to feel accomplished and successful. Tracking your spending and cutting back on it is a great way to build confidence in your financial abilities and really change your life.
Even if you start small, it’s the little steps like paying off small credit card balances or passing up buying a 3:00 snack that can leave you feeling successful and empowered in your financial journey. People who were former spenders start to get excited about the amount of money in their savings account and the fact that their credit card debt is decreasing.
Essentially, once you start down this path and you have an amazing tribe to keep you accountable, there’s no turning back. Frugality is addicting, and the feeling of accomplishment you get from being financially fit is like nothing else you’ve experienced.
Ultimately, anyone who is a recovering spender can absolutely become someone who loves being frugal because frugality is much more than cutting coupons or shopping around for the best deal. It’s a way of life where you’re simply satisfied with less.
You won’t require name brands, large, expensive homes or pricey meals out to be happy. Instead, over time, as you embrace frugality more and more, you get simply more content with your life.
So, if you’re considering becoming frugal after developing some spend-y habits, I say go for it. After all, you really have nothing to lose.
Are you a recovering spender? Did you embrace frugality later in life? What does ‘frugal’ mean to you? What items do you allow yourself to splurge on?