Frugal Life

Frugal Life Tips: Be Aware Of How You Get Influenced

The modern American mass advertising industry is a very powerful machine. It is well lubricated by a lot of cash and technology. Make no mistake about it. There’s a lot of science, psychology in particular, that is involved in modern advertising. There is no such thing as an accident when it comes to advertising campaigns. Most modern advertising campaigns are finely tuned and finely engineered pieces of messaging designed to send you as many influences as possible.

You have to understand that in most cases, if people shut out media from their lives, their needs would be very basic and their lives would be very simple. They wouldn’t feel that they need certain things because these ideas weren’t planted in their minds. Their conception of what they need and what they want flows from their daily experience with their working or living world. In other words, depending on the circles of friends you gather around, you only get a fixed set of ideas. These ideas tend to be the same and remain static. This is your simple world.

However, when you turn on the media, all sorts of ideas come in and guess what? You might like to think you are an independent thinking person, that you are your own person, but guess what? You subconsciously absorb all those ideas, and they influence you. As a result, you end up buying stuff that you don’t really need. You end up thinking stuff that you don’t really believe in, and you start looking at the world in a very different way. That’s the power of media.

One of the reasons they are able to do this is because they use idea viruses. One of the best frugal life tips you can follow is to be aware of how you get influenced. Keep in mind that these frugal life tips don’t say you shouldn’t be influenced. These frugal life tips don’t say you have to resist influence. All they say is that you need to be aware because there might be some influences that you would welcome. However, by being aware, you can be selective about the influences that you let into your lives. A key part of this is to understand how idea viruses work.

Frugal Life

What Are Idea Viruses?

The human mind is a very complicated machine. However, it must be able to make sense of all the data that it is gathering. The human mind is a very complicated data gathering device that pulls up information from many different sources. If you did not have a means to organize all these pieces of information, you would basically be insane. You would get data and one picture comes after the other. There’s really no rhyme, no reason, no memories, no form, but you don’t know why. It’s going to be a very confusing and crazy world. This is why human beings are rational and sane.

Human beings think in terms of stories. We have these narratives. One common narrative is, “Who am I?” We then pick and choose the different data that we get from our outside world, and we plug it into this picture that we frame in our mind as our identities. We also have memory, history, etc. These are narratives that use a story form. Advertisers know this. This is why they create idea viruses to infiltrate how we process information, and a lot of these idea viruses become part of our narrative.

For example, when you see a nicely produced car advertisement that shows a very successful young man moving up in the world, and at the end of the sequence, the person is driving a Mercedes. You subconsciously pick apart these messages, and then you put it in your narrative. You then begin to subconsciously evaluate your definition of success with elements from that advertisement. Most people don’t understand this.

They are unaware of it. In most cases, most people are in denial. People would like to think that they are not stupid to follow up an ad. However, people are. That ad has idea viruses, and you might think that you didn’t consciously pick something up, but write down your goals, dreams, and aspirations, and you would be surprised as to how many strands of DNA from idea viruses are present in your goals and dreams. One of the most powerful, frugal life tips that you can adopt is to be aware of how you get influenced.

These frugal life tips allow you to pick apart the idea viruses that have entered your consciousness and unlearn harmful idea viruses that lead to a lot of debt and financial tightness. Keep in mind that frugal life tips don’t intend for you to stop being influenced. That is just impossible. Instead, frugal life tips focus on the right influence.

Power of Tithing

Little-Known Saving Technique: The Power of Tithing

Tithing is when you give a portion of your income, either gross or net, to your church or religious organization. Tithing is nothing new. In the Christian religion, tithing has been around for thousands of years thanks to its origin in Jewish tradition. Other cultures have tithing traditions as well. Whether you’re religious or not, there is a benefit that you get if you are trying to save.

Believe it or not, if you’re looking for a powerful saving technique, tithing is it. Depending on your religious conviction, whether you’re religious or not, you can use the power of tithing. If you’re not a religious person, you can tithe a certain percentage of your income and donate it to the charity of your choice. Regardless, there is power to tithing. This is a very powerful saving technique if you know how it works. Keep reading below.

Power of Tithing

It Develops a Powerful Savings Habit

The interesting thing about tithing is that it is not giving. You don’t give a tithe. You return a tithe. The whole conception of tithing is that what you earn, what you have, what you generate is actually on loan to you. It’s part of the blessings that you get for existing. It’s a part of the blessing that you get from God. Since the blessing comes from God, when you give this money, you are actually returning blessings back to God.

That is why people say returning a tithe instead of paying a tithe. The difference in the wording reflects a difference in the attitude. You return a tithe, you don’t give it. If you think of tithes as giving a tithe, then you have it wrong. If you want to tap the power of this powerful saving technique, you need to think of it in terms of returning a tithe. This helps you develop a powerful savings habit.

When You Set Money Aside You Are Pushed To Find More Money

The power of tithing as a saving technique lies in the fact that if you are pushed to set aside a certain percentage of your income every month, you are pushed to compensate for that income. You either work to increase your income, you look for side income, or you save money with your other expenses and liabilities.

This is where the power of tithing really takes off as a saving technique. It pushes you to be more creative regarding your finances. In other words, it pushes you to be more responsible with your finances.

The Richest Men Tithed

If you are looking for a motivation regarding tithing just remember this, some of the most richest men throughout history tithed. People like Rockefeller, Kraft, Colgate, and many other spectacularly rich men throughout history all tithed. If you ever used a Kraft product, keep in mind that the man behind that company, the man who found that company, tithed. If you use Colgate toothpaste, the man behind that company tithed. They became very rich. They keep saying that when they tithed, their blessings came back many times over.

This is of course psychological. When you tithed, you become more creative with the finances that’s left. Instead of trying to live on crumbs, your mind goes into a hyper drive, and you are able to save more and earn more. If you are looking for a powerful saving technique, consider the power of tithing. It has worked in the past. It’s working now, and it will probably work in the future if you put your mind to it.

Personal Happiness

The Secret to Low Cost Living Is To Stop Keeping Up with the Joneses

One of the oldest American traditions is keeping up with the Joneses. Keeping up with the Joneses is all about competing with your neighbors. American culture is all about competition. After all, competition is what made our economy the best in the world. Competition and the need to keep up with others drives our industries. It drives advertising. In a way, keeping up with the Joneses helps explain the great American success story.

This is all well and good, up to a point. The problem is, there is always a tipping point with any good thing. Consumption is good only up to a point. Materialism and consumerism are great, only up to a point. If you look at statistics of American debt, credit cards, student loans, mortgages and other forms of debt, it paints a very depressing picture.

Add to that the other troubling statistics that the top prescribed medication in the United States, for several years running now, are either anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressant medication. You can see that there is something fundamentally wrong with the American dream. The reality is that, keeping up with the Joneses has become a lie.

It may have worked in the past, but the way we are doing it now really just drives us further into debt, and does not make us any happier. If you want to increase the amount of personal discipline and empowerment in your life, you have to understand this reality. You have to understand that keeping up with the Joneses has become a big lie. As the old saying goes, the truth shall set you free.

Instead of feeling let down, that keeping up with your neighbors is actually not going to lead anywhere; it should actually make you feel free. It should actually liberate you, and strengthen and encourage your efforts at cultivating self discipline. It is also good news for people looking to take back control over their lives. Keep reading below to understand why keeping up with the Joneses does not lead to anywhere good.

Low Cost Living

The False Equation of Material Wealth and Personal Happiness

You only need to turn on the television or the internet to see a very common lie repeated. There is a common fallacy that the more money you have, the more things you have, the more possessions you have, the happier you will be. Many immigrants to the United States find this out the hard way.

They consume lot so things, they whip out the credit cards, apply for credit cards to buy all sorts of stuff, they fill their houses with stuff, they move into homes that they can barely afford, then they rack up debt that they can barely pay off, and it only takes a lay off, it only takes a bad economy for them to realize that they are trying to fill an emotional hole with material things. Material wealth does not equate to personal happiness.

It never did in the past, it does not now, and it probably never will in the future. Material wealth enables you to feel happier, it provides the material basis for happiness, but it is not the actual source of happiness. Do you see the difference here?

This logical fallacy is what confuses many people. They think that wealth causes happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth. America is the richest nation on earth, but it has the highest number of people who are depressed, it has the highest number of people who are clinically diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

There is something wrong with this picture. By breaking the link between these two, you can achieve a higher level of happiness. I am not advocating that you give away all your possessions. I am not advocating that you quit your job and not worry about money. What I am advocating is that you need to break the chain between thinking that the more you have, the happier you will get. These are not connected to each other.

In many cases, the amount of money you need to achieve a high level of personal happiness and a sense of personal completion and empowerment is very little. In many cases, it is the situation or the context of your life that provides the happiness. Not so much the amount of money you have in the bank or the price tag of the clothes you are wearing, or the car that you are driving.

Personal Happiness

Social Status Is Just One Part of Self Esteem

You really have to hand it to marketers of luxury vehicles like BMW and Mercedes. They really have social status marketing down to a science. They know that hard wired into the human brain is the idea of levels. You have to remember, our brains evolved from thousands of years of living as hunters and gatherers.

In these primitive societies, we all ranked each other based on levels, and our survival depended on it. The higher up you are in the value chain, the more resources you control. This exploded when humanity developed agriculture. Social status is crucial to producing the next generation, it is crucial to passing on your genes.

It is no wonder then that we tend to always measure ourselves against other people. We always tend to think is he making more money than me, does he live in a better neighborhood than me, does he drive a better car than me. Luxury goods marketers zero in on this need for social status. They know that our self esteem often places a disproportionate amount of value on social status.

The reality is that, social status is just part of self esteem. I am not saying that social status should not play a role in our self esteem. It is just a part of it. If you understand the proper placement of social validation and social status, then you will be a little bit happier, because you have a lot more control over how you value yourself than you give yourself credit for.

The more you fall for the idea of keeping up with the Joneses and social status, the more control you give up in terms of your self esteem. It is not uncommon for Americans to live in houses that they can barely afford, and to buy stuff that they do not really need, just to try and please people they do not really care for.

In many cases, you might hate your neighbors, you might really despise them but you waste all these money, these efforts, just to try to impress them. That is the big lie of keeping up with the Joneses. This mentality prevents you from achieving low cost living.

The good news is that, there is a lot you can do to really get off this treadmill called keeping up with the Joneses. You can ask yourself key questions. You can ask yourself if you really chose what you aspire for. You can look for alternatives to material status. You have to understand that people also give you status if you are a good writer, or if you are a good actor, or if you are a creative person, or if you are a good conversationalist.

You have to understand that in many cases, material status is lower on the totem pole than emotional, or spiritual, or artistic status. Why? Material status can easily be bought. If by luck or by will, you are able to come up with the money to buy external indicators of status, then you bought your social status. You have kept up with the Joneses.

On the other hand, being creative, being a good conversationalist, being a good friend, being a compassionate and caring person, this actually takes character. At the end of the day, character is worth more than the stuff that you can buy with a credit card or a loan. Understanding this is the key to low cost living.

How I Save Money

How I Save Money: Using the 30-Day Rule to Defuse “Needs”

Believe it or not, a lot of the stuff that you spend money on are not the stuff you need. This is probably not a big revelation to you. This is probably not a big surprise. However, you might be rolling your eyes. You also understand that, sure, these items that I am spending a lot of money on may not be needs but they feel like them.

In other words, when you determine that you need to buy something, it is very hard to stand up to the emotional rush of buying those items. If you feel this way, you are hardly alone.

This is the reason why many Americans are struggling with credit card debt. This is why many people face a very common situation where the more money they earn, the more debt they find themselves in. In other words, the higher their income, the higher their “needs”.

If you are struggling with constantly buying that you feel that you need, here is a very important tip. Use the thirty day rule. This plays a key part in how I save money and I suspect it will help you save money as well.

How I Save Money

The Power of Artificial Scarcity

One of the biggest reasons why Americans find themselves rushing into buying stuff that they think they need is the power of scarcity. Marketers have mastered the illusion of artificial scarcity. They always throw out terms like “while supplies last”, “limited stocks”, or “for a limited time only”.

All these emotional triggers basically force you to make a decision immediately. They know that once you make buying decision, it is very hard to stop that buying decision. That is how the human mind works.

The good news is, when you use the thirty-day rule which is to give yourself thirty days to buy anything, the power of artificial scarcity evaporates immediately.

There is no emotional rush to buy right now. You do not feel like you will be losing out on anything because you have imposed a thirty-day rule on yourself. This is a crucial tactic that I employ. This is how I save money. I suspect that it will work as effectively for you.

Urgency Urges People to Buy Stuff They Regret Later On

There are also ways to build a sense of urgency in the minds of the buyer. This all part of the modern science of marketing. If you feel that you need to buy something, you might want to step back and critique why you feel that need. You might see that all these emotional impulses are just rooted in certain tricks used by marketers.

You can short circuit all of that by using the thirty-day rule. Now this is a very important trick because by putting that huge block of time in front of you, it gives you the time and the space you need to fully understand what it is that you really need to buy. Most importantly, the thirty-day rule helps you prioritize what is important.

This is a crucial part of how I save money because it helps me make a mental map of the things that are important, the things that are crucial, the things that are necessary, and the things that can wait another day. By using the thirty-day rule, you basically give yourself a time out. Instead of you being all heated up and emotionally engaged you can start looking at the things that you want to buy with the proper perspective.

Once again, this is an important part of how I save money. I give myself the time and the space to properly decide. You should do the same thing to. I suspect that you will save quite a lot of money if you use the thirty-day rule. Things that appear to be crucial and necessary might turn out to be what they really are: luxuries.

Living On the Cheap

Learn How to Maximize Value and Start Living On the Cheap

It is easy to think of value in theoretical terms. It is easy to think of value and pricing in terms of ideas. However, coming up with these ideas and seeing their value, does not necessarily translate to actual actions. The reason for this is sometimes we do not look at value in terms of practical terms. We look at value as something purely separate from what we do on a day to day basis.

As a result, we make instant buying decisions that might not necessarily be wise, because our idea of value tends to be floating in the air, and not really reduced into how we think on a practical level. It is not uncommon for us to fail to get maximum value from our purchases. If you are serious about developing a practical frugal mind set, you need to know how to maximize value in practical terms.

This guide will step you through the process of making that happen.

Living On the Cheap

Always Remember That There Are Alternative Routes to the Same Results

The main reason people buy stuff, is because they are looking for solutions. They have problems, they have needs and they are looking for solutions. Products and services exist to provide solutions, they are there to solve problems. However, it is too easy to think that just because a specific solution is advertised the most, and you are most familiar with that solution, that you are stuck with that solution.

That is right. It is too easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to solutions. This is part of commercial brainwashing that people go through. At the worst extreme, they start thinking in terms of brands. If they are looking to duplicate a piece of printed material, they think in terms of Xerox. If they are looking to take out spots on a white shirt, they think in terms of chlorox. You see what is wrong with this picture? When you think in terms of brands, you have by definition start avoiding alternatives.

A key hallmark of a frugal mind set is to always understand that there are alternative routes out there. There are different ways to solve the problem. These different ways may be wise solutions, depending on the situation. These different ways have different price tags. Always keep this in mind. This helps you maximize value in very practical terms.

Why? Taking alternative routes is easily doable. People do it all the time, you just have to always look for getting the most value out of the many different alternative ways you can solve a problem.

Focus on the Result and Figure out the Cost and Benefit of the Alternatives

Regardless of whatever you are doing, whether you are washing a shirt or buying furniture or looking for a television, you are looking for certain results. By focusing on the results and understanding that there are different alternative ways to get to that result, you can then make the right decisions. You can make decisions that will maximize your value for every hard earned dollar that you spend. It is too easy to think in terms of brands. It is too easy to think in terms of single solutions.

The problem is, if you start thinking this way, you are going to lose money. That is the bottom line. Why? There are always cheaper alternatives out there. There alternatives out there that cost less and provide better value. You have to weigh the costs and benefits of these different alternatives, so you can make the proper decision. Of course, this is probably worth your time if you are going to be spending a lot of money. If you are only going to be spending a few bucks, this might not be worth your time.

However, if you are going to be spending a few bucks, but you are going to be doing it again and again over a long period of time, then it might be a good idea to look at alternatives now, weigh the costs and benefits and then switch to a better alternative. Why? This alternative can save you a lot of money down the road. That is practical frugal thinking.

Compare Getting the Same Brand from Different Sources

If you are sure that the best way to solve a particular problem is to go with a particular brand, do not feel stuck. Do not think that you only have one vendor and you only have one source for that brand. Chances are high that there are other vendors that sell that same brand. Consider these different alternatives.

Also, you might want to go with the same brand but maybe try a different model. Maybe there is a cheaper model out there that produces the same results and provides the same value. Pair these two together and you might achieve really solid results in terms of savings. How? Find a cheaper vendor that sells the cheaper model of the same brand that provides the same value at a lower price.

Compare New Versus Used

Another key aspect of maximizing value in practical terms is to compare new and used versions of the model that you are interested in. Never underestimate the power of saving money by buying used. Do not think that you only have to buy new.

Of course, you have to, again, weigh this decision based on how much money you are going to spend. If you are going to be buying a car, it is always a good idea to compare new versus used, but factor in the maintenance costs of the used vehicle.

Focus On Lifetime Usage and Value over Time

Many people totally forget about this, they totally overlook this analysis. However, if you want to maximize value in practical terms, from all the product and services that you buy, focus on this factor. When you buy a product, it has a lifetime usage, you then have to make a rough guess as to the amount of value you will get from the lifetime of that particular product.

Of course, different products have different durability levels, they also have different costs. By making a rough guess regarding the amount of usage you will get out of something and the probability that you will be using that product over an extended period of time, and the probability of heavy use of that product over an extended period of time, you might be able to come up with numbers that you can compare.

Always Factor in Intangibles

It may be easy to look at the different product options based on price. However, you have to also factor in convenience, comfort, status, peace of mind and other intangible benefits. Once you factor all these in together, if the numbers are somewhat similar, then it is probably better to pay a little bit extra for extra convenience, extra comfort, extra status and other benefits.

If you wish to maximize the value of anything you buy, whether it is a product or a service, you need to apply the tips above. They are very practical tips that will enable you to always make the right decision. Always get the most value for every red cent you spend.

Frugal Living

Frugal Living Starts With an Emphasis on Self-Control

It’s very easy to think that all you need to do for frugal living is to stick to a checklist. It’s very tempting to reduce frugal living to a simple set of steps that you need to do on a sustained and regular basis for you to achieve savings and get the most value out of every dollar that you spend. While there’s a lot of truth to these ideas, they miss one crucial element. Frugal living cannot be possible if you don’t have self-control.

Unfortunately, self-control, just like common sense, is not very common nowadays. In many cases, people look at the idea of self-control as something that their grandparents had, but don’t really apply now. This is not surprising; after all, when you turn on any type of advertising, you are always encouraged to buy right now while supplies last.

All sorts of sales and promotions try to get you to rip out your credit card, and reap the benefits of buying a product or service right now. It seems that throughout the years, our collective sense of self-control has just been eroded with time.

It would be safe to say that in this day and age, we basically don’t have much self-control. This is too bad. If you want to enjoy the benefits of frugal living, you have to focus on self-control. Keep reading below to understand why this is the case.

Frugal Living

Most People Feel That They Have No Control over Their Lives

Interestingly enough, much of the advertising messages we get are premised on the concept of freedom. It’s very subconscious and subtle, but it’s always there. The script is, if you buy something, you will get freedom if you enjoy your freedom by doing this or doing that. Interestingly, if you live your life this way, you don’t really feel that you are in control.

Why? When your credit card bill comes at the end of the month, you don’t feel like you are in financial control. If you have impulse problems because you just throw money at them, eventually, they will impact your relationships. They will impact your personal psychology and your enjoyment of life. Frugal living is the antidote to all of that.

Frugal living is all about maximizing value, being patient, and being focused on the long term. Frugal living is all about looking at the big picture. The glue that holds frugal living together, however, is self-control. You have to master that value. One of the first steps to do that is to live by principle.

Living by Feelings vs. Living by Principle

It’s very easy to live with our feelings. If we live based on our feelings, we are driven by impulse. We are driven by what is convenient, what is in front of us, and what is expedient. However, in many cases, they lead to suffering, regret, and other bad situations.

Frugal living is based on living by principle. You know that certain things are bad for you. You know that certain things will produce value. You just need to wait for it. It’s all about focusing on the future, and maintaining control in the here and now.

If you are able to understand that and how self-control plays into all of that, then you are well on your way to effectively get the most out of frugal living.

Debt-Free Lifestyle

Debt-Free Lifestyle Tip: Just Because Others Are Doing It Doesn’t Mean You Should Too

One of the main reasons why people get into all sorts of problems with finances is because they feel that they need to keep up with their friends and family. If somebody posts a new car on Facebook, guess what? The thought is formed by people looking at that post that they need to get that new car. At the very least, the thought is formed in the minds of that person’s friends that they at least need to keep up. That’s just part of human nature. You have to understand our brains evolved thousands of years ago where we had to keep up with our hunter-gatherer friends, or else we left the gene pool. It was that simple. Herd mentality worked back then.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply now. Thanks to technology and to our modern way of living, we don’t have to subscribe to herd technology. We have the technology, the economy, and the infrastructure for everybody to explore their own possibilities and to go their own individual way. Unfortunately, the modern advertising industry will lose money if people thought this way. This is why the herd mentality is just emphasized again and again in mass media.

If you want to live a debt-free lifestyle, here’s a tip. Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean you should do it too. If you keep repeating this and you live out this principle, you will be able to live a debt-free lifestyle. You have to understand, keeping up with everybody else involves a lot of debt. It may seem that your neighbors and friends are all happy trying to compete with each other with bigger and bigger cars, bigger and bigger homes, and fancier vacations, but at the end of the day, the bill has to be paid. You don’t want to get stuck with a huge bill trying to play a game that is really designed for you to lose.

Debt-Free Lifestyle

What’s Best For Others Isn’t Necessarily Best For You

A key principle that you should pay attention to is the fact that just because everybody else is doing it doesn’t mean that it should apply to you. Put in other terms, what’s best for others isn’t necessarily best for you. You have to understand that modern advertising works by influence. They use influential people whom many other people look up to, and get that person to buy stuff, to wear stuff, and so on and so forth. This influence then reaches everybody else, and they try to copy.

If you can copy in a frugal way that doesn’t really impact you financially, that’s fine. However, if it is going to set you back financially, you might want to think twice. You might want to remember that what’s best for others isn’t necessarily best for you.

Popular Options Often Involve the Lowest Common Denominator

There’s a problem with mob mentality. The moment everybody else starts doing something, you need to stop and pay attention. You need to look at the big picture. In many cases, when people do certain things, it’s always the lowest common denominator.

In other words, different people have different levels of mentality and maturity, and different ways of looking at the world, but all that goes down the toilet once mob mentality kicks in and just the lowest common denominator prevails. This is especially true when it comes to consumer goods. You would see people driving around nice cars and wearing nice clothes, but the reason they do that is because they have personal reasons.

However, once everybody starts jumping on the bandwagon, it becomes the lowest common denominator. What’s the lowest common denominator? I’m a better person than you because I have more money than you. I’m a better person than you because I can afford this stuff, etc., etc. You don’t want to get on that bandwagon because it isn’t true, and because you don’t subscribe to the lowest common denominator. Do you realize how ridiculous that is? If you want to live a debt-free lifestyle, you need to think beyond the lowest common denominator.

Living Frugal

Living Frugal and Happy Means Doing More With Less

There’s an old Zen Buddhist saying, “Less is more.” Well, a lot of Americans might roll their eyes on this saying and thinking that it’s just another Buddhist spiritual mumble jumble. There’s actually a lot going on for this phrase. In fact, if you are able to do more with less, you are, by definition, saving quite a bit of money and most importantly, saving your most valuable asset: your time. There is an art to doing more with less. It’s not a science that you can just reduce into a checklist or distill into a spreadsheet. Doing more with less takes a lot of effort. It also takes a lot of patience. It’s not something that you can do overnight.

However, once you have developed an eye for it, it can easily become a habit that will help you save more money and build a bigger nest egg many years down the road. Here are some key strategies that you can employ so you can do more with less. You have to remember that you have to tweak these different tips so that they apply to your specific situation. The problem with many financial self-help books, blogs, and other online resources out there is that they tend to give you a bottom down or a cookie-cutter approach.

Since every person comes from different backgrounds and has different ways of doing things and approaching things, we’d rather give you some broad framework so that you can then tweak for your particular situation. Our framework involves the central idea that living frugal and happy means doing more with less.

Living Frugal

Use Products Sparingly For Maximum Value

Interestingly enough in the United States, we are forced to consume in huge amounts. It’s almost deemed as some sort of personal insult or some sort of personal deprivation if you don’t blow through a huge bottle of shampoo in a week. The same goes with food. The same goes with clothing. Part of this is due to just advertising culture that tells you in so many ways and repeatedly every single day that you’re less of a person if you don’t consume a product fully and quickly. Don’t fall for this lie.

The reality is that only a drop of shampoo is enough to lather your head to take a bath or take a shower. The same goes with clothing. There’s really no law that forces you to replace your wardrobe every few months. You have to deprogram yourself in terms of the amount of product usage that you should allow yourself to do. You can fully enjoy a product without having to use up that product. The moment you realize this and apply it to your particular situation, you can use products sparingly for maximum value and really stretch those recession-era dollars.

Use Products for Maximum Life

In addition to maximum portions of products, products also have maximum lives. I am, of course, talking about appliances, gadgets, and other items that are not consumable. You have to use whatever products that you have with their maximum life in mind. Thanks to modern marvels of manufacturing technology, long gone are the days of products that you use only once and you throw away after a short period of time.

While America did pioneer the concept of program obsolescence, more and more consumers are waking up to the fact that modern manufactured products actually have a longer useful life than advertised. Make this fact to your favor. Resist the urge to throw away gadgets just because you fully used it. Extend it for its maximum useful life.

Use Products in Different Settings

Another way modern American culture programs people to be basically consumption robots is the concept of “one item, one use.” When you turn on the TV and you turn on the shopping channel, you get infomercials hyping up the latest product and for the most part, this product has a very fixed range of uses.

The subtext and assumption is that you’re only going to use this product within this fixed range of uses. When you are a bit more creative and imaginative regarding the use of the products that you own, you would realize that you can use them in many different settings.

Of course, I’m not advocating that you use them in a very unsafe way, but there’s many ways you can use a particular product in different types of settings with different uses and still preserve the life of the product.

Don’t Assume That If You’re Using Less, You’re Denying Yourself

Again, to reiterate my earlier point, don’t fall into the modern advertising mindset that just because you’re using less of a product, you’re basically suffering; that you’re not living life to the fullest. You have to remember that modern products are sold to sell a lifestyle.

Unfortunately, that lifestyle doesn’t work to your advantage. It’s only worth dollars into the pockets of advertisers and the bankers who finance them. Don’t fall for the hype. Focus instead on what you’re getting out of the product and whether you exercise a lot of control over your own life. That’s the real victory.

Don’t Assume That Denying Yourself Is a Bad Thing

Another underlying philosophy in modern Western consumer mentality is that if you deny yourself, it’s a bad thing. In other words, you need to have your cake you needed too. Worst of all, you need to eat dessert before dinner. In other words, you need to eat your dessert before the main meal. The reason this type of mentality is so prevalent in the Western world is because it fuels the consumption. It fuels the economy. It fuels finance capitalism. The problem is it really turns people into organisms that define their happiness based on the product they consume.

If you take this to its logical limit, you would see why anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication are consistently at the top three medications prescribed in the United States and other advanced economies. People have forgotten the art of being happy. They’ve forgotten the art of doing without. In fact, when you deny yourself that gadget that you wanted or that sugary snack that you wanted, it actually feels great because you reiterate control over your life. You re-establish some sort of voice in how you decide things and this can be a source of strength. Most importantly, it can be a source of savings.

You’re Not Being Cheap; You’re Being Wise with Your Resources

Another lie that is pretty common in American mass media is that if you’re always looking to save money, you’re being cheap. It’s as if being cheap is like a bad thing. It’s like some sort of a black mark. The reality is that there is a big difference between being cheap and being frugal. A cheap person will always just look at the price. A cheap person doesn’t really care about the value, quality, or total cost of ownership. It’s all about the price. A person who is being wise with his/her resources or a frugal person is a person who’s looking to maximize value.

In other words, this person is not afraid of paying a little bit more for a particular item as long as that item has maximum value over the life of the item compared to alternatives. That’s the big difference between being cheap and frugal. Make no mistake about. If your idea of saving is just to be cheap, you’re playing a losing game. You’re going to lose out on quality and you’re going to lose out on product life. You have to strike a balance between value and cost. They are two totally different things.

Adapting the mindset of “doing more with less” takes a bit of work and just like with any character-building experience, your character only grows with each new experience. With each savings victory and your ability to control yourself, you become a better person. You have to look at savings as one aspect of self-control and self-development. Don’t go with the flow. Don’t do what everybody else is doing. Otherwise, you will end up with more of the bad savings results that you have been getting up until this point in time.

Save Money Monthly

Save Money Monthly: You Don’t Spend What You Can’t See

One of the fundamental rules in adopting a healthy savings lifestyle is to use automatic deductions. Why? The typical human mindset is if you it, you will spend it. This is why many Americans spend more as they earn more. The more money they make, the more they spend.

If you want to get off that treadmill, you only need to do one thing. You only need to adopt a system where you can save monthly. How do you do this? By zeroing in on the concept that you don’t spend what you can’t see.

When We See Our Income, We Assume Ownership Of All Of It

The reason why Americans find themselves in so much debt is when they look at their monthly statements and there is a lot of money there they feel that they are entitled to all of it. As a result, not only do they spend the full amount, but they spend over it. This, of course, leads to debt. It is not surprising that consumer debt in the United States is in trillions of dollars.

That is right! Trillions with a capital T. If you don’t want to be a part of that sad and sorry statistic, you need to save money monthly through automatic deductions. You need to tap into the principle of not spending something because you cannot see it.

Save Money Monthly

If You Do Not Assume Ownership, You Do Not Feel Entitled To Spend It

When you set up automatic deductions for your monthly pay, you do not see your full pay. When you do not see your full pay, you don’t assume ownership over it. You don’t feel entitled to it. You don’t feel like rewarding yourself by spending it.

Automatic deductions are very powerful tools because they put money off the table and deposit it into a savings account or an investment account. That way, we do not feel entitled. We do not feel cheated. We do not feel deprived if we look at a full amount and we can’t spend all of it.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

Using automated monthly deductions, our savings are out of sight and out of mind. If we don’t see the full amount of money, we don’t feel the need to spend all of it. We can save money monthly effectively by making sure that a large chunk of our income is invisible. When you look at your take home pay, you feel entitled to use all of it.

After all, you worked hard for it. However, if you only see a fraction of it because you have automatically deposited large chunks into your investment or savings accounts, you only get to use a small portion.

The smaller the portion, the better. This also forces you to be more creative regarding your expenses. This also forces you to make do without the expenses that you do not really need and focus on the stuff that really matters. If you are able to do this, then you are adopting a savings lifestyle that will pay off in the future.

Save money monthly through automatic deductions. Once you master the ability to save money monthly, your financial future opens up.

Living Frugal

Living Frugal and Happy: Decreasing Costs While Maximizing Enjoyment

In this series on achieving a savings lifestyle, you have to understand that you have a lot more choices than you give yourself credit for. There are a lot of products and services on the market. There is a wide selection of the stuff that you can buy and the services you can rent or lease. You have to understand that given this selection, you have a lot of power as to maximizing the value that you enjoy while saving a lot of money.

The great thing about having a choice is that you can compare different options so that you can select the value that makes the most sense to you. Unfortunately, if you are just going to let your television run your life or you are just going to pay attention to advertising messages that you are being bombarded with, you will essentially lose this choice. You feel that you are not really enjoying the kind of lifestyle you should be enjoying. Unless you buy a certain brand, unless you buy a certain package or service package, you are really missing out.

If you catch yourself subconsciously thinking this way, you are hardly alone. People subconsciously incorporate advertising messages which rob them of their choice. Once you regain that choice and you are aware that you have regained that choice, you can then start adopting a savings lifestyle that allows you to enjoy low-impact prizes while getting maximum enjoyment from the goods and services you save money on.

Make no mistake about it, the savings lifestyle is not about being miserable. The savings lifestyle is not about denying yourself or missing out on life. A properly adopted savings lifestyle actually increases your enjoyment while decreasing your costs. Living frugal and happy is not just desirable, it is also doable.

Living Frugal

The Best Things in Life Are Not Material

To truly understand high-impact enjoyment while making sure that your costs have as low an impact on your finances as possible, you have to start with the basic assumption that the best things in life are not material. That is right. The best things in life, the things that are worth having, and the things that are worth chasing after are not things that you can buy. These are not things that you can touch, feel, smell, or see. A living frugal lifestyle flows from this basic realization.

The best things in life are feelings that you get with your friends. It is a sense of satisfaction that you have achieved a certain level in your life. It is a feeling of accomplishment. If you study the victories in your life, you would notice that these victories are paid for, not by money per se. Instead, they are paid for by time. They are paid for by striving, by effort, and by ambition. Keep this in mind. This should put everything in perspective. Living frugal and happy doesn’t focus on the possessions you have but the enjoyment you get from life.

You Cannot Put a Price on People

A key element in establishing a savings mindset which is a part of a savings lifestyle is that you cannot put a price on people. This is fairly straight forward if it involves your just weighing of your relationship with your friends. This makes it very easy to see that you should still be friends with people that make less money, than other friends who make a lot of money. Why? Some of your friends who are less well-off actually have a better sense of humor. Some of your friends with less education and lower-level careers are actually more fun to hang around with.

See how this works? You probably would agree that this is the case. If you agree, then take it a step higher and apply it to yourself. Just because you do not spend so much money on goods and services does not mean that you are less of a person. Unfortunately, this is exactly how many people think. This is what pushes them to buy stuff that they cannot afford. If you are able to keep a balanced mind among your friends, why can’t you keep a balanced mind when it comes to your estimation of yourself?

You Cannot Put a Price on Memories

The things that really matter in life are actually valuable not because they cost us money, but because they make us feel a certain way. The best example of this concept are memories with friends and relatives. When you think back about a fun time you had with your friends, you do not think about the money you spent. You think about the laughs you had, the great feelings and the enjoyment you felt in their company. You think about the things that do not come with a price tag. You do not think about memories in terms of dollars and cents.

If you agree with this and if you totally appreciate it, then why do you go about buying stuff, thinking that they will make you feel a certain way? You have to understand that the human mind is one of the most powerful organic machines ever created. Our minds can make happiness happen and unhappiness happen. And guess what? Money usually has nothing to do with the equation. By wrapping your mind around this concept, you can then start divorcing the feeling of satisfaction you get when you buy stuff. Keep in mind that the things that matter most do not have a price tag.

Sense of Possibility Does Not Have To Come With a Price Tag

If you are going to do a survey of most Americans, the biggest concern that they have is that they do not have any control over their lives. They are living in fear. This is the biggest form of oppression – when you feel that you are not in control.

When you feel like your life is out of control, that you are really not in the driver’s seat of your life, anything can happen and basically the only thing that can happen are bad things. This is why a lot of Americans would like to regain a sense of control. However, you cannot get that sense of control if you do not have a sense of possibility. When you feel that you do not have any choice; that there is only one option in every type of situation, you do not have a sense of possibility. The outcome is a foregone conclusion.

Make no mistake about it, regaining or gaining a sense of possibility is the best thing that you can do for your life. It is the best thing that can put the maximum amount of power in your life. The good news is that it does not necessarily have to come with a price tag. In fact, in most cases, it does not come with a price tag at all. This sense of possibility often happens when you decide to do something about your life.

For example, if you have been putting on pounds and you want to lose weight and you decide to do something about it, you gain a little sense of possibility. However, you gain a larger sense of possibility when you actually take action on that decision. The more action you take on a day-to-day basis expands your sense of possibility. Once you regain this sense of possibility, you can feel that things are doable in your life. You can take even more action. Eventually this gives you such a strong sense of control that you no longer feel lost. You no longer feel directionless.

Sadly, this is the main reason why many Americans buy lots of stuff that they do not really need. They feel that their life is out of control and stuff will fill that hole. Talk about a huge mistake! Talk about setting yourself up for a massive disappointment. Nothing is more tragic than racking up your credit card bills and at the end of the day still feel miserable and lousy. Things will not fill up your soul. A sense of possibility will. Keep These Two Separate.

To maximize enjoyment out of the things you enjoy while minimizing your costs you, need to adopt the proper mind frame.

Keep the tips above in mind. They are simpler to adopt than you think. Getting off the pointless treadmill of consumerism is easier than you think. You just need to decide and take action today.

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