Frugal, Cheapskate or Financially Smart?

Saving those dollars!
Saving those dollars! SMART!

There are a lot of different ways you can say someone is smart with their money. Some people think it’s negative to be called “frugal” or a “cheapskate” and would rather people just call them “financially smart.” However, I think these descriptions are pretty interchangeable and mean the same thing… you don’t let money rule your life, but you make sure your money works for you by saving as much of your income as you can.

Personally, you can call me any of those names because I already know I’m a smart saver that is frugal, cheap, and just knows how to get a good deal.

Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you’ll have good luck!”

pennies
It’s exciting to find a penny!

Honestly, I will do almost anything to save money. It’s fun for me and there’s nothing more exciting to me than getting free products, free food, or finding a great deal on stuff I already buy (groceries, household products, personal care products/services). I guess I’m slightly fanatical when it comes to saving money, and every conversation I have with people end up giving me some thought provoking ideas around money. I know the topic I like to talk about are often discouraged amount my peers, I I get that because if you’re not into it, it gets uncomfortable and even boring really fast. It’s kind of like when people talk about sports with me… I don’t like them, I don’t care about them and could truly care less who wins or loses. However, we all have to deal with money, so isn’t the topic useful to talk about? Maybe it’s just me…

Here are some of the characteristics of people who are wise with money. You can decide whether you think they are frugal, cheap or just financially smart!

Good At Controlling Their Budget

They know how much they have to spend, how much is in their bank account, and how much money is coming in on a consistent basis. This allows them to know if they should be saving more to reach their ultimate financial goal (whatever that may be).

Don’t Compare Themselves To Others

They don’t need to compare themselves to others to know what works for them and make them happy. Well, unless it’s knowing how much someone else spent on something, then it can help comparing different products and prices. When you don’t feel the need to compare yourself to others, it allows you to be happy and content with what you already have.

Always Planning Ahead

The decisions you make today can have a big impact on your future. Whether it’s a big purchase, stocking the pantry, or weekly grocery shopping, planning out what you need and when let’s you control how much you spend.

Buy Things Used

Why buy something new when you can get the same thing used? Cars, clothes, pets, homes… Financially wise people understand the value of buying used (if you can).

FRUGAL
Be Frugal! Look for those deals before you buy.

Look For Deals – ALL THE TIME

You should never pay full price for something. There are great tools out there (with the help of the internet) that specifically tell you when the best times to buy something are. You can also use websites like RetailMeNot to find coupons and promo codes before buying something. If you plan ahead, you will save money and get comfort from knowing you got the best deal you could.

Understand the Value of Time

Financial freedom gives you back your time
Financial freedom gives you back your time.

Instead of spending a ton of money on gifts and parties, give family and friends the gift of spending quality time with you and making them feel special. That is what people remember most, the experience and the time you spent with them… make it positive. I still have negative feelings about my childhood and father not spending much time at all with me. He chose to spend the majority of his waking hours working and watching sports – not a good memory for me.

Know Your Priorities

When you know what is most important in your life, you make it a priority. Is it family, friends, work, or your relationship? There is always an order of what comes first in your life, so make sure you spend some time to think about what you value and is important today, and dedicate to taking more time for that now. What I’ve found is that it’s generally something that money can’t buy, but also makes you a happier person every day.

Consider the Big Picture

The big picture of your life can really put things into perspective for you. It’s important to take a step back and make some long-term goals for yourself and then assess how you want to live your life today to make future you successful. The big picture could be becoming financially independent and retiring early (me), or maybe for you, it’s traveling the world (not me). If you are married, you need to ensure your spouse is on board with your goals, otherwise neither of you will be happy.

I think when some people look at my life and what I enjoy doing (reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles, working out), they see it not only as cheap and frugal, but also boring. However, these are things that I’ve been doing most of my life and now being in my 40’s, I probably won’t be changing my lifestyle much. It’s how I enjoy living my life and I’m happy.

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