Today’s money hack is about becoming debt free by adopting a frugal philosophy.
Money is one of the biggest concerns of life yet many philosophers say that amassing it will not directly lead to happiness. Earning more will indeed put more money in the bank, but if you continue to overspend you’ll continue to be in debt (that’s the definition for lifestyle inflation).
One way you can avoid lifestyle inflation and debt is to adopt a frugal philosophy, which espouses frugal living. You may have wondered what a frugal lifestyle actually entails or what it is, and here are some basic concepts to get your started:
- A frugal philosophy allows you to determine the things you truly need in life to be happy and strip away the excess. You get a chance to be genuinely grateful for what you have and praise yourself for saving money, every step of the way.
- Frugality encourages you to spend money on ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’ to build good memories. Experiences need not be expensive (such a picnic or going on a hike, or simply visiting a park or zoo with your family, and compared to ‘physical products’, experiences help nurture relationships.
- Frugal living supports the idea of ‘value for money’ when shopping around, instead of ‘what’s the hottest new trend?’ Although the report by Department for International Development talks about ‘value for money’ principles from a donor agency’s perspective, the principles can be loosely applied to consumer behavior as well, so consider reading that too.
Being frugal also requires two more shifts in perception:
- Throw consumerism out of the window, which means you do not let marketing campaigns sway your buying priorities or determine what you need or want. The link points to an interesting article titled, How Advertisements Seduce Your Brain by Live Science.
- Forget about keeping up with the Joneses and focus on your own life because your standard for success should be determined by you alone, and not the society.
I take a compelling line from Baz Luhrman’s song, Sunscreen,
“…sometimes you’re ahead,
sometimes you’re behind;
the race is long,
and in the end,
it’s only with yourself.”
Back to the topic on hand, being frugal by choice often leads to genuine, pleasurable satisfaction with your current possessions and so you do not always feel the urge to buy things, Plus, any additions to your belongings will naturally be greatly appreciated by you, imparting more happiness and contentment.
You can’t fool yourself in this process – it’s just not possible.