frugality

frugality
budgeting tips
Image by skampy
kiehl’s eye creams run anywhere from – for a small tub. while i
love their products, i also love stretching my dollars. kiehl’s is
smart and gives away 3 sample sizes of your choice with purchase, so i
always opt for the eye creams since a sample size of that goes much
farther than the body or face moiturizers. to keep the eye cream
fresh, i transfer it from the sample pouch into an empty eye cream
container and voilà! frugality at it’s finest!

Why frugality contributes to your well-being

Why frugality contributes to your well-being

Anxiety and depression, the undesirable companions of modern times, are spreading their nets over growing segments of the population. If those problems have not been solved yet, we can certainly not blame it on the lack of trying:

Unfortunately, from the many pharmaceuticals in the market against this predicament, none has proven universally effective, it is unclear to what extent therapy helps and which sort is best, and furthermore, special diets and exercise often consume the little energy that people have left.

Like for any other problem, treating the symptoms without correcting the cause brings about little improvement. Smoking or eating chocolate might improve your mood for a while, but in the long run, those approaches are unsustainable for your health.

If we look around these days, we can not fail to notice how psychological problems aggravate in times of recession. When the economy was growing, have we not all witnessed how optimism rendered people happier? Should we not conclude that there is a direct link between economic security and mental well-being?

You will find many books that argue that the best way to face difficulties is to change your thoughts. Those books will tell you that you can become positive and motivated by means of repetition and suggestion, even though the reality around you sucks like a vacuum.

Although the cheerful approach does work for some people, for many others, groundless optimism shows little success as a method of improving their life. Luckily, there is an alternative method for those who prefer more down-to-earth solutions.

The theory is that we can be happier if we improve the level of economic security in our lives, since that would eliminate a good part of the reasons for anxiety and depression. Irrespective of any positive thinking, people who are able to cover their living expenses for the next months tend to worry much less when they lose their job.

Can anyone accumulate enough savings to achieve a reasonable level of economic security? Is there a way for all of us to reach the peace of mind and well-being that come from feeling in control of our own life? Yes, this is indeed possible, whatever your personal situation. The guaranteed way to achieve economic security is to live modestly.

If you make little money, you should spend even less, so that every month you can save some. If you make a lot, you should spend with caution and regularly put aside part of it. Rainy days don’t bring the blues to those who are depression-proof, so forget about psychological tricks and focus on the facts of reality.

It is up to you to adopt a lifestyle that will allow you to accumulate sufficient savings and enjoy the self-confidence that goes with them. Living frugally might not make you popular, but it will sure make you wiser.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living and is the author of the books “When everything fails, try this” and “Rationality is the way to happiness.” He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance and self-reliance. See http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com a blog about rational living.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living and is the author of the books “When everything fails, try this” and “Rationality is the way to happiness.” He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance and self-reliance. See John Vespasian’s blog about rational living.

http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

In defence of frugality

In defence of frugality

Defending poverty as virtue lacks credibility unless the preacher himself is destitute, healthy, and happy. That phenomenon is so rare that few men attempt to imitate it. Monks living in monasteries in Italy or France do live in relative poverty, although their situation cannot be compared to the extreme indigence of the population in some African countries.

While poverty seems an unattractive lifestyle to most individuals, frugality is increasingly gaining ground. The idea of making more with less resources appeals to those concerned with ethical questions. The personal freedom that ensues from thoughtful consumption possesses the charms of a sound philosophy and the practicality of immediate benefits.

It is unfortunate that the issue of cost reduction does not cross the mind of most people when times are good. Frugality, as a lifestyle choice, generates its greatest advantages precisely during favourable periods when saving seems superfluous, worry unnecessary, and modesty redundant.

Indeed, one should ask, what is the point of being frugal? Why should you waste any opportunity to enjoy yourself to the maximum extent? A man only lives once. Does he not owe to himself to have as much fun as he can?

Should you not devote all your resources to pleasurable activities? As long as you can afford it, why should you not savour your days travelling around the world and staying at the best hotels? What is the purpose of making money if you cannot spend it on doing what you love?

Those questions are, to an important extent, unfair and unrealistic. A man who complains about not being able to exhaust his possibilities lacks proper perspective. Every choice implies renunciation to an infinite number of alternatives. Every expenditure consumes resources that can be employed otherwise.

The cult of uncompromising and immediate pleasure rests on three mistaken beliefs. If you choose to think only short-term, these three convictions possess irresistible appeal.

However, if you expand your range of vision, you will easily discover the dark side of an easy life. Watch out, since the following three ideas may wipe out your career, health, and material resources:

* The delusion of stability: the belief that the future will be similar to the present and that little change is to be expected.

* The delusion of invulnerability: the conviction that a man can cover all his risks through insurance and social security.

* The delusion of moral neutrality: the idea that all lifestyle choices are fundamentally equal, that there are no superior or inferior ethical values, and that anything you may decide is perfectly fine.

Those three deceptions have induced the exaggerated consumption that is burying thousands of men under heavy debts that could have easily been avoided. Those dangerous ideas permeate our culture and dominate our conversations. The time has come to face them with courage and assert the truth.

[1] The delusion of stability: If you still have some decades to live, chances are that your complete existence will go through a major upheaval. Such disruption might be of a nature that you cannot imagine at present. New technology may render your job obsolete. Global competition could devalue your education. A major economic shift might put you out of business.

Reducing your present cost of living can be achieved in many ways, for example, by spending less money on food, lodging, transportation, energy, travel, entertainment, or insurance. The resulting subtraction from your present enjoyment will be more than compensated by gains in long-term security. Commit yourself to save regularly in order to create a margin of safety. Accumulated resources will allow you to face calmly any disaster that the future may bring.

A man who feels confident and serene makes more of his days than an anxious short-term thinker. Too many are those who live under the threat of a mounting pile of debt. They are paying a high price for giving away their independence in exchange for momentary pleasure.

Do not fall prey to the delusion of stability. Reduce your current cost of living and create a financial reserve for difficult times because, sooner or later, they will come. If you are undecided about what expenditures to cut, make a linear reduction of 5% in all your budgets and take it from there.

[2] The delusion of invulnerability: no matter how good your health insurance is, its coverage won’t be universal. Similarly, your protection in the field of liability indemnity might be less than you think. What would happen if, due to some unfortunate event, you were to lose your protection altogether? Do you have a back-up plan?

Overspending is frequently caused by overconfidence. People feel sure that nothing bad can happen to them. They overestimate their strengths and underestimate their risks. They place their future at jeopardy in order to enjoy transient advantages that will be quickly forgotten.

You will be better off if you reduce your current costs. Aim at creating an emergency fund to which you can resort in times of need. Even a modest financial reserve can do wonders to alleviate misfortune or adversity. Discard the delusion of invulnerability and assess your risks objectively. Make the commitment to save at least 5% of your net income every month.

[3] The delusion of moral neutrality: do you believe that all ethical decisions are equally valid? Are individuals who save to buy a home morally equivalent to those who gamble away their salary? Would you take a loan to finance your medical studies in the same spirit as you would borrow cash to purchase a recreational boat?

Rational values align decisions with reality, leading man to certainty and prosperity. In contrast, relativism wears man down by trying to justify arbitrary choices. Happiness needs to be sustained by facts, not by excuses. Personal well-being cannot be maintained by means of inconsistent behaviour.

Frugality goes hand in hand with logic and realism. You will enjoy life more if you reduce your living costs and create financial safety for yourself. Pick up pen and paper and make a list of ten items of expenditure that you can cut without any negative impact on your lifestyle.

Make more with less by adopting an entrepreneurial approach to life. If you are committed to search for better alternatives, you will find them. If you remain alert to better opportunities, you will seize them. Give priority to safety over short-term pleasure. Serenity and self-confidence will be the result. Reduce your costs and enjoy life more.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living and is the author of the books “When everything fails, try this” and “Rationality is the way to happiness.” He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance and self-reliance. See http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com a blog about rational living.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living and is the author of the books “When everything fails, try this” and “Rationality is the way to happiness.” He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance and self-reliance. See John Vespasian’s blog about rational living.

http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Four Psychological Advantages of Frugality

Four Psychological Advantages of Frugality

Poverty has few benefits other than awakening personal ambitions and making people realistic about how the world works. Those are things, of course, that can be learned in many different ways without having to experience deprivation.

On the other hand, whatever your level of income, frugality constitutes a choice of permanent value. Contemporary society does not promote temperance and thrift. The story is seldom told of how present prosperity is the consequence of previous savings and investment.

The law of cause and effect governs supreme the affairs of the world. Nothing escapes its reach, no one circumvents its application. The same principle that brings perspective to centuries shapes the microcosm of daily life. What you do today builds tomorrow’s structure and level of pay.

In addition to economic returns, frugality brings about substantial psychological advantages to the individual. Stress and anxiety remain foreign to the parsimonious. Discouragement and fear stay away from the house of the austere. If you live this way, these are some blessings to expect:

1.- PEACE OF MIND. Worries do not keep awake at night those who live their days with measure. Leading a simple life spares man the effort of following the latest fashions. By quickly dismissing artificial alternatives as inappropriate, we are left with the fundamental. Serenity is the result of simplification.

2.- FAST AND CONSISTENT DECISIONS. Trusting your own judgment more than external opinion allows your skills to grow through success and mistakes. Stable values and sharp priorities are the prerequisite of frugality. Decisiveness is the will to recognize and reject the drawbacks of inconsistency.

3.- RISK REDUCTION. A judicious man should protect himself when at risk, but is it not wiser to avoid danger in the first place? The tension of making daily complex choices can wear out the most balanced mind. Adopting simple ways of doing things reduces errors of oversight. Shunning unnecessary costs keeps exposure to chaos low.

4.- MORE ENJOYMENT OF LIFE. Ignoring the noise of the world liberates time and other resources. Priorities lose their meaning in overgrown agendas. Frugality enables man to breathe free of encumbrances and focus his efforts on the basics. Happiness is not the result of cumulating random tasks, but of concentration on projects that make a difference.

Leading a simple life allows man to accumulate wealth and the peace of mind that comes with it. The material advantages of frugality go hand in hand with its psychological benefits. Discarding the unnecessary lets individuals pay attention to the crucial elements of a good life. Making wise choices starts with the realization that most things don’t count.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian’s blog about rational living.

http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com/

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian’s blog about rational living at http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com/

Avoid Waste and Embrace Frugality

Avoid Waste and Embrace Frugality

Publishers love biographies because they usually sell well for many years. People enjoy reading about the shattering mistakes made by illustrious individuals, such as a great actor who accepts a role in a trash film that ruins his career, a successful investment manager who makes a bad decision and suffers enormous losses, or a millionaire who marries the wrong woman and ends up in devastating divorce.

Biographies provide details about how eminent persons waste opportunities and turn themselves into fools. On some occasions, errors are made out of insufficient knowledge, but frequently, vanity and greed play a major role in self-destruction. What readers of biographies seek to learn above all is how to overcome feelings of sadness and guilt after having made a gigantic blunder.

As soon as we realize the full extent of a major mistake, emotional misery arises from comparing our present to a parallel universe that would have existed if we had not wasted our opportunities. Such negative reactions overlook that errors and waste are the result of the knowledge available to a person at a certain moment. In essence, what an individual knows and feels are the only relevant factors in his decisions.

A man should strive to discard waste as matter of principle, but after making a dreadful mistake and suffering major losses, he should avoid comparing himself with someone else. It makes little sense to lament how well you could be doing if you had made wiser choices. The only thing you can do is to learn from the situation so that you can perform better next time.

Each human being is born in different circumstances, each life is unique. Individuals grow at their own pace and learn their own lessons. Errors and waste provide us with painful but irreplaceable experience.

Do not linger on illogical comparisons that bring nothing but misery. Stand up and look ahead. Your next achievement will bring you farther. Mistakes will make you a better human being and show you the way to happiness if you acquire rational habits. When it comes to avoiding waste, no other habit is as powerful as frugality.

Suffering a major loss has few benefits other than rekindling personal ambition and making people realistic about how the world works. Whatever your level of income, frugality constitutes a significant virtue. Even if contemporary society rarely promotes temperance and thrift, individual prosperity is the consequence of savings and investment.

The law of cause and effect governs the world. Nothing escapes its reach, no one can circumvent its application. What you do today determines the level of tomorrow’s pay. In addition to economic advantages, frugality also brings psychological benefits. Stress, anxiety, discouragement, and fear will not haunt the house of the austere.

Discarding waste and embracing frugality lead to peace of mind. Worries won’t keep awake at night those who live with measure. Leading a rational life spares man the effort of following the latest fashion. When we dismiss artificial alternatives, we are left with the fundamental. Serenity is the result of simplification.

Choosing frugality instead of waste will allow you to make fast and consistent decisions. When you trust your own judgement more than external opinion, you learn from mistakes and develop your skills. Frugality, which is based on stable values, leads to decisiveness. A man who possesses clear priorities can reject inconsistency without need of long discussions.

A prudent conduct brings the added benefit of risk reduction. A judicious man protects himself when at risk and tries to avert threats whenever possible. The tension of complex choices can wear out even the most balanced mind. On the other hand, a straightforward and consistent approach reduces errors of oversight. Shunning unnecessary cost keeps risk exposure low.

Resisting the allure of short-sighted decisions leads to more enjoyment of life. Ignoring the noise of false opinions liberates resources. Frugality enables man to breathe free of encumbrances and focus his efforts on what really counts. Happiness is not the result of cumulating tasks, but of a few essential activities that make a difference.

Discarding waste brings man wealth, but the material advantages of frugality go hand in hand with its psychological benefits. Disregard the unnecessary and pay attention to the crucial elements of a good life. Realizing that most things possess little relevance is what enables man to make wise choices.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living and is the author of the novel “When Everything Fails, Try This.” He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance and self-reliance. See John Vespasian’s blog about rational living.

http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com/

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living and is the author of the novel ”When everything fails, try this.” He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance and self-reliance. See John Vespasian’s blog about rational living.

http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

You Too Can Live on Very Little Income by Learning the Techniques of Frugality

You Too Can Live on Very Little Income by Learning the Techniques of Frugality

It’s really difficult to survive today, especially when you make your home in the developed countries. It seems like you have to have a fortune just to exist. Well, I’m here to explain it will not require all that cash to live. You can enjoy a wonderful life without going bankrupt. Take heed to the following guidelines and you can start to learn the techniques of frugality.

One thing to consider is if you have problems making it on your current income, you probably need an alteration to your living standards. In the old days, I was told that we work towards a high living standard. As you gain experience and higher pay, your standard of living gets better. Today, it appears most individuals have learned you must have a really high standard of living immediately after you graduate. That’s how many individuals get into debt, because they have to have everything right away. You should lower your living standard to something you can afford. Then improve your standard as you progress in your career.

You should do a lot of your shopping on the Internet. Believe it or not, there are some great sales on some of the merchandise sites. Some of them will ship your purchases for free or at a very low cost. Another great benefit of shopping online is you can stay home (avoid crowded stores and you save gas money, too).

Almost every city and town in the country has several free things you may do. The local libraries are full of books and media you can check out for free. You can go to a park and enjoy a family picnic or arrange a fun sports activity. Check your city paper and find out what activities are planned. You might be amazed by what there is to do. When you are able to do something at no cost, you are using the techniques of frugality to the maximum degree.

One vital thing you have to do is decrease waste. We are all guilty of wastefulness at times in our lives. The techniques of frugality involve determining where the waste is coming from and fixing it. You should find out what all of your expenses are, and then audit them. You can discover how you can diminish payments by downgrading services or eliminating them completely. Some ideas are: get rid of your gym membership, you can exercise elsewhere; reduce your Cable TV package; check for cheaper deals on internet service, phone, insurance, etc. In addition to those ideas, you can also stop wasting energy. Do your best to avoid wasting water and electricity by being attentive to the details. Turn off electrical items when not in use. Use power saving appliances as much as possible. Fix water leaks and take short showers rather than full baths.

Don’t buy brand name items just for the brand. Most of the time, you can locate fine quality items that are generic or unknown brands. An important aspect of frugality is the ability to find pertinent data about products so you will get the best return for your hard-earned dollar. I’m not declaring you should go out and buy the cheapest product you find. In some cases, the brand name product IS the right choice. You need to ‘do your homework’ to determine the best choice to make.

Try your best to escape paying interest. Everyone knows that a lot of debt is not a good thing. Actually, the main reason debt is bad is because of interest. You end up paying more for items than they are worth. So, you shouldn’t buy what you can’t afford. If you have major debt, you need to decrease it steadily until it is gone completely. When practicing the art of frugality, interest is your number one foe.

In the above paragraphs, I provided some general ideas that you may follow to live a less expensive lifestyle. For some more specific tips on improving your budget, you should visit my blog where you can study the techniques of frugality.

To learn more about managing debt and credit, read my two part article Managing Debt. If you want to live a great lifestyle on a lower budget, you should visit Cheap Living and pick up some tips and tricks to save you lots of money.