13 December 2016

Thrifty Living: When to Save, Scrimp, Spend or Splurge

If you’re new to thrifting, it can seem a little daunting. You want to make sure that you’re doing it right, saving money in the right places and not being too harsh on yourself. Well, hopefully the beginner's guide to being thrifty helped you with that. Now, it’s time to take your learning up a notch.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to figure out how you can apply them to all areas of your life. It’s not always easy to know when to save and when to spend, because yes, you can allow yourself to spend when you lead a thrifty life. It’s just about knowing how to be efficient with your money, rather than frivolous. This can apply to all areas of your life.


First up, we’re going to think about the ways in which we can cut back. When you’re living a thrifty lifestyle, saving money focuses on the areas that you don’t need to spend on if you don’t have too. You can make significant savings by adjusting the areas where you’d usually spend your money.


When you don’t have the energy to cook on a weekday, or you feel like treating yourself when the weekend comes around, takeout is often the answer. Sometimes, we can even eat more takeout than we care to admit. So, it’s time to think about this decision from a thrifty perspective. Are you throwing money away week after week? Are the meals you get that great that you want to allocate a part of your budget on them? If not, then why not make the same meals at home? There are tons of recipes that you can use to recreate your favorite meals, and you might even cut what you’re spending by half or more.


Due to the way that the modern world works, it’s likely that you’ll have a subscription or two. These could be a specialty, such as a niche magazine or even to a rare cheese box, but, they could also be quite familiar, too. Perhaps you subscribe to Netflix every month. Do you use it to warrant the cost? It’s not a lot, but it can add up over the year, especially if you have cable TV, too. It’s time to work out if you need both. Maybe the cable TV can go, and Netflix will do. Or, perhaps you could share a subscription with friends or family and drastically cut the amount you pay out each year.


Most of the time, we head to the store or our favorite websites when we need to buy or replace something. But, that could mean that we’re spending more than is necessary. So, why not start buying used? You can find bargains on eBay and in flea markets. Some things are even brand new but are being sold super cheap when people have clear-outs. You can save yourself a lot of money when you stop buying brand new.


When we think about saving in a thrifty lifestyle, it’s less about restricting yourself but about being careful with how you allocate your money. It’s time to start thinking about where your money goes and how you can cut back to make every cent count.


One of the biggest areas of our lives that we can save money is with our groceries. A lot of the time, we spend more than we need to. We buy things we waste, and we buy on a whim. But, there are ways that we can make significant savings. If you buy things automatically, try to make your purchase patterns count. Think about what you’re putting into your shopping cart and how you can make things stretch instead. If you buy brands, do you need to? You can find cheaper alternatives that are just as good. The next time you head to the store, think about how you can buy more for less.


Couponing is a huge part of living a thrifty lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be carried out religiously or excessively. You can coupon until your heart's content if that is how you like to live, or you can just cut out the ones that apply to you. When you start to get used to couponing, why not let the promotions decide what you purchase that week? You can even plan your meals around what’s being offered at a cheaper rate or 2-4-1. But, it’s important to remember only to do it if it saves you money. If you’re starting to spend more because it looks like a good idea, then you need to cut back on your couponing.


First things first, when it comes to buying clothing, you need to ask yourself a crucial question. Do you need it? We’re trying to think about spending money wisely from now on, so it’s important that all of your purchases count. If you need to replace old and worn out clothing for work, then think about what it is you’re buying as a substitute. If you head straight to designer brands, think about cheaper alternative or duplicate styles that you can find elsewhere.


Now, this is the section where you’re going to want to prioritize your money. If you’ve set a budget, it’s okay to allow a little more for these areas. Being thrifty is about being smart with your money, not a scrooge.


We all know how important good health is. Not many people would refuse to spend money on their health. But, just because it’s a common priority, doesn’t mean it’s that easy to pay for. When you’re cutting back on other areas of your life, you should then be able to start allocating more money for your healthcare costs. Say you need an important test, or your child needs help with eczema, don’t think twice about spending the money if it’s a huge concern. Your health is an area where it’s important to invest in quality, rather than scrimp.


Life's for living. Yes, we need to make money and pay bills, but without a little enjoyment, life can be plain boring. So, remember to allocate some money for the things that improve your quality of life. How much you allocate will depend on you, but if you’re saving in other areas, you can up the amount you spend on this one. If you or your children have an activity in your lives that gives you purpose or even benefits their education, like ballet or lacrosse lessons, then spend. You have to be able to have some sort of outlet in life.


Your car is an area that you can choose to invest in or not. But, if you do, there’s no reason that you should feel guilty for doing it. You can save on areas like gas, by shopping around or using coupons or keeping it clean by doing that yourself. But there are also areas of owning a car that it’s not such a good idea to try and scrimp on. You need to make sure that your vehicle is properly serviced, taken care of and is running right. If you try to save too much, you might find that your car becomes completely unreliable - which is never good if you actually rely on it!


Then there are the areas in life where you should be able to invest. You can feel like it’s okay to treat yourself occasionally, but doing so with a thrifty mind. You’ve worked so hard on saving money; it’s only fair that you splurge a little too.

Special Occasions--

Marking an occasion with an experience or present can be fun. Not everyone will want to do this, but if you love celebrating anniversaries, special birthdays or even your kid’s graduation, then do it. Whatever is important to you, will be substantial enough to spend your money on if you want to. So far, you’ve managed to save a lot of money on things that you don’t overly care about, and now you can invest in the things that you do care about. When you're thrifty in life, you can even find that you’ve saved so much that those savings even pay for your splurge!


If you work hard and thrift hard, you might want to treat yourself to well-deserved break every year or every few years. Do you know what, that’s completely okay! You never need to feel guilty about giving yourself a break. If you’ve been extra careful about where your money goes, you can choose your vacation with a peace of mind knowing that you’ve done your bit to cut back.


Your home is also another area of life that you can splurge on without feeling remorse. If you’re saving up for your dream house or building a home for your kids to grow up in, why should you? You need to make sure that you get the main things right. If you scrimp on them, you might only regret it. You can cut back on some areas, like a value paint rather than pay over the earth for it, but if you do the same with your kitchen, you might never love it the way you thought you would. Or worse, start to see things go wrong as the quality was poor in the first place!

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