Roadblocks for the Frugal Minded Individual

by Frugal Brian


Goodness knows, when you’re trying to save money, there are so many roadblocks along the way, it’s like trying to drive on Florida highways during construction season (which, incidentally, is almost year round).  Roadblocks are far easier to avoid when you know what to look for.  So what are some of the frugal minded person’s roadblocks?

Ignorance may not be an excuse to break the law, but it can certainly impede your progress in the pursuit of being a frugal minded individual.  There’s nothing worse than being too dim minded to know just how dim minded you really are.  Don’t give me that look, you know people like that.  People who have relied on canned or processed foods their entire lives, for example, regardless of their level of intelligence; may not realize that many of these things can be made from scratch.  I’m not saying they’ll take the time to do it; particularly if they’re intelligent enough to have someone else doing the buying and cooking for them. 

But this applies to items other than food as well.  Soaps, lotions, mouthwash and other items usually bought and paid for from a store are more inexpensively made at home.  Even a few flowerpots with various spices growing in them (strategically placed along your windowsill) can save you money and supply you with fresher seasonings than from a store.  And unless you shop for your seasonings at an actual spice shop, there’s no telling how long those spices have been on the shelf.  You’re sacrificing a little convenience for the betterment of your bank account; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Ever uttered the phrase “if I don’t get it I’ll just die”… come on.  Seriously?  How about we put that to the test?  That frame of mind will take a frugal person’s budget and toss it right out the 110th story window.  Won’t be much left of it after that, will there?  Unless it’s a medical procedure, I highly doubt that that phrase is going to ring true for anyone.  But that is the type of roadblock that can take the budget you worked so hard at, and make it all for naught.  Here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to things that you just “have to have”: If you can’t buy it severely discounted or used, learn to live without it.  You’ve lived this long without it, after all; how detrimental could continuing to live without it be?

Having a plan is great for a budget.  Planning ahead is even better.  Don’t ignore something that you know has been in need of repair or replacement until it’s too late.  As soon as the refrigerator starts making that funky noise, start looking for sales or used refrigerators to replace it with.  Once that refrigerator decides it has made its last noise, it’s too late; because then you’re scrambling to replace it and will buy anything that comes along.  You’ve got food spoiling after all, and that would be a waste of money, wouldn’t it?  So not only are you going to pay too much for a refrigerator, you’re going to waste food that you paid good money for when all along you could have been shopping for that great deal on a refrigerator that would have saved all that hassle and loss.  Even something as simple as making emergency meals ahead of time and freezing them can save you money.  Of course you’ll need that freezer in the refrigerator you just let break down.  Seriously though, if you’ve got a few emergency dinners in your freezer, popping those in the microwave or the oven after a too long day of working or shopping will be far cheaper than feeding the family with a fast food pick up on your way home.  What was my point?  Oh, right, plan ahead.

Use your imagination; it’s there for a reason.  Buying decorations, gifts, cards; actually almost anything you can think of, could be done away with by a little creativity on your part.  Good lord, make something for a change.  Just because you didn’t think of making it the first place doesn’t mean it can’t be made.  Utilize that gray matter to think of an alternative to the more expensive way of doing things.  Substituting one thing for another, using the other side of a cushion or comforter, repainting instead of replacing and even some wacky, way out creation (one of which may earn you a paten one day, you never know) are all opportunity’s for applying one’s imagination.  And as with so many things, the more you put your imagination to work, the better you’re going to get at it.  Horror of horrors, you might even have fun doing it.

Get your priorities straight.  What’s more important; your child gets the new toy as opposed an old toy, or you put gas in the car.  Only one right answer here folks, it’s not a brain teaser.  Okay, how about this one; what’s more important, buying a brand new set of sheets for the guest room as opposed to picking them up at a discount store or thrift store, or buying school supplies for your kid?  It’s not brain surgery.  Sacrificing one thing for something else is simply a result of mature, logical common sense thinking. This sort of relates back to the ‘I can’t live without it’ frame of mind.  More than likely, you can and will.  If you can’t, buy it cheaply or make it.  And if you can live without it, do so.  Chances are you’re going to find something else to spend that money on that’s a heck of a lot more important than the thing you couldn’t live without. 

Be sure to be accurate and realistic when computing savings, spending, time and need.  How much are you really saving, how much do you absolutely need to spend, how much time are you saving or wasting and how much do you really need it (and is substitution an option)? These calculations are crucial to the successful frugally minded individual – do them well!

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