Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Exercise in Frugality

There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means. – Calvin Coolidge
Frugality. It means a lot of things to different people. It looks different for everyone. Some people just don't practice it.

I am a newcomer to this world. So please keep that in mind as I start to talk about my experience with saving money and living within a real budget. Not just the vague idea I had when I first started.

For me frugality means living well below my means. I have always lived within my means and I've always said that "I should not be able to afford the way I live." Basically, I should be saving more and be less spendy on every other aspect of my life. I am a young adult, I should not be able to spend money like I make big bucks.

I am viewing this process of becoming a more frugal woman as taking small steps of change in hopes that they will stick much better (and so far they have) than one grand change. It's like going on a diet. If I cut everything bad for me out all at once and started exercising like mad every day for a couple hours, I would get exhausted and would quickly run out of motivational steam.

Anyways, that's a lot of information me being the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. On to the juicy stuff. I've been reading a hodge podge of various personal finance books. And they are challenging me to expand my thinking on the subject. For example, budgets can change monthly. Say what?!? And finding the right budget balance for you and your family, can take months, as I am not so quickly discovering...

Now, can I just put it out there that I don't like to (or very easily) admit when my dad is right on things. I want to do it my way. (Just busted out in the Frank Sinatra song; I will let you envision that for a minute.) So I am publicly admitting that my father convinced me to try out Quicken 2013. I love it!! I am by no means master at its use, but it does allow me to break all my costs down into the categories I want to track.

Now for the ultimate, the pièce de résistance! (I may need more sleep...) What's the big theme I've been finding among all these personal finance books? The concept of going cash-only.

Let me just say, I LOVE IT!! There are so many ways to go about this, I've been trying this out for a couple weeks and I need to work out a couple kinks, but for now, I get cash once a week, and that's it for everything all week: groceries, home improvement, you-name-it-I-buy-it. ;) I have a fabric cash envelope project in the works that I can't wait to share with you - this is exciting for me because it will be my first adventure into accessory making.

Going cash-only gives me better understanding of what categories I can change in my Quicken to be more general, since that's what I've noticed I care about more as opposed to being very specific about subcategories and the like. Now if only I could get better help with setting up things within Quicken...

What are some of your methods for frugal living, in particular, tracking spending?

Love Always,


1 comment :

  1. is really great! You can set up your budget and break it down, it will track as you and give you a pretty pie chart that will keep you informed!