Rising prices and increasing inflation have both contributed to the popularity of frugality. However, maybe you feel like you’ve tried to cut expenses and learn the “ways of the thrifty force” and wound up feeling like it just wasn’t worth the time, trouble, and effort.
When it comes to living beneath your means and saving money for future expenses, there are some simple reasons why frugality isn’t working for you.
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1. You’re looking at the wrong numbers.
When it comes to lowering your bills, do you have target numbers which you’d like to reach? Are these numbers low enough to result in a reduction in the amount you owe at the end of the month?
If you are looking at the wrong numbers, you may be frustrated with the fact that your actual bill is not less than it was the month before.
A great example is your utility bill. Since the rate which is being charged for electricity is rising rapidly, you may find that although you are using less energy, your bill is still rising. So, the target number you need to hit in order to lower the monthly gas and electric bill will be more than you had originally thought.
It could also be that you’re focusing closely enough on habits which will allow you to save small amounts of energy. Here’s the truth: If you do twenty things every month, each of which saves you $3 a month, then you have just pocketed over $700 a year.
Small changes, which save small amounts of money do add up over time.
2. You haven’t given it enough time.
There’s a certain amount of trial and error in the frugal lifestyle. I suggest waiting a minimum of three months after you institute new spending habits in a specific budget category, before evaluating how effective the changes have been.
3. You’re trying to do too much too fast.
People often underestimate the level of commitment and diligence which it takes to learn the skills of spending less and saving more. However, you may find that a few simple changes in the way you are approaching frugality make all the difference.
Don’t forget: “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day”. You didn’t get into this position overnight and you won’t get out of it overnight.
Just like the classic Aesop fable, low and steady wins the race.
4. Your goals are too big.
You aren’t setting reachable goals
If you cut your grocery budget in half, your family will mutiny by “Day four” of your amazing new plan.
But… if you cut it by 10 or 15 percent, you’ll not only be far more successful, the next month you can cut it back by another 10 percent. Soon, you’ll work your way down to the amount you really wanted to be spending in the first place, but it will be far less painful.
Your expectations must be realistic.
Try setting smaller goals so you aren’t biting off more than you can chew
5. You are inconsistent.
You can’t wait until an emergency strikes to come up with a plan for your finances. You need to take the time to craft a budget and then track your expenses to find out if your plan is actually working for you.
Frugality is doing the same things over and over again – and then analyzing whether it worked to the degree you wanted it to or not.
It’s not magic – it’s day in and day out consistency that wins the race
6. You’re convinced frugality doesn’t work.
What you believe in your heart often comes to pass. If you are constantly telling yourself that it doesn’t matter what you do, you won’t be able to save any money – then you won’t.
Our self-talk is important. It’s what ultimately drives our actions.
Post reminders on sticky notes within easy sight throughout your home. These can be encouraging quotes or even your reasons for wanting to live a thrifty lifestyle.
You’ll soon find that you follow through on your intentions toward money with far greater consistency.
7. You are overanalyzing your plan.
Perfection is a huge tendency in most of our lives. However, it can also be a crutch or an excuse for not even starting on a path of frugality.
It’s a mistake to feel that you have to be “perfect” or you can’t get started. You don’t need to figure out all the angles and options before starting.
You only need the first three or four steps written down. Then, track your daily habits to see if they line up with your ultimate goals.
Evaluate your progress every three months, setting new goals where necessary.
8. You think having more money will solve all your problems.
If you’re looking for a “silver bullet”, frugal living will only help if you are willing to evaluate and change your mindset. Otherwise, you’ll be like the lady who takes off pounds for a special occasion by starving herself. After she has reached her goal, unless she has learned healthy ways to view and consume food, she will put the weight back on.
As you are saving money toward a goal, track your progress and you’ll reach your those goals a far greater percentage of the time.
9. You are ignoring small habits which continue to cost you money.
Contrary to popular opinion, the extra nickels and dimes which you spend each month really do add up to real money. Tracking the ways and reasons you spend money can mean you’re able to save money and reach goals in record time.
Grab a copy of our free personal finance goal trackers.