Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Have Luxuries While Being Frugal

Wanting to have luxuries and wanting to be frugal aren't mutually exclusive. You can actually have them both at the same time and all it takes is a little thought combined with some common sense.

One of the most important factors to achieving some balance between the two concepts is the art of prioritizing. Back in the day when I was single living and working a bazillion hours every week, I still managed to pay for cable. It was one of the most expensive things in my budget but I hung on to it for dear life.  I didn't have the financial ability to spend every weekend and Ladies Night at the local night spots and I wasn't spending any money at restaurants. I worked tons of hours so a day off watching a great movie seemed like a little slice of heaven. I pretty much traded some little luxuries I wasn't interested in for the one luxury I did want. The same thing happened with my work clothes. I was required to dress very nicely and I had to look polished. I always had a full closet that made me feel like a million dollars and I barely paid anything.  During my lunch hour, I would look through the nearby stores searching the clearance racks and search  for sales. That patience paid off time and time again.

It also makes sense to make sure the luxuries are simple. If you cannot give up your muffin-latte habit, you don't have to. Just try buying the muffin one day (make your own java) and the latte the next.  I love to crochet and it's important to me because it's very relaxing. Nothing makes me happier than a crisp fall day, a great cup of coffee, and an apple scented candle. Throw in the yarn and I'm so very content. So while it's summer, I'm slowly accumulating some high quality yarn (with half off coupons!) and when the time is right, I'll have what I need for a perfect afternoon.

Sometimes your luxury may require a little delayed gratification. Let's say you want a very chic but insanely expensive piece of electronic equipment. You could go out and buy it right this minute and end up being in a financial pinch for quite some time. Or, you could surf the net looking for sales and competitive prices.  Another option would be to wait a few months until the newest revision is available. Now the one you want is going to be marked down while customers clamor to get the upgrade. If your luxury is travel, consider waiting until off-peak season. You would be surprised how much prices fall if you're willing to wait a month or two. That also gives you a little longer to save up.

It doesn't matter if your luxuries are big or small. A weekend trip is just as important as that delightful French pastry from the corner bakery you want every Saturday afternoon. There is so many ways to get those luxuries while being frugal. It's all about cutting out the spending on things you don't care about in order to spend on what you do care about.

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