There’s a popular saying that goes something like: “Poor people are poor because they live like they’re rich. Rich people are rich because they live like their poor.”
I’ve always wanted to be rich and not have to worry about money. Initially, I knew my goal of having more money would involve making more money. However, I’m thankful that I learned early on that the key to obtaining the lifestyle I wanted was frugality.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a very low earner and making more money has definitely allowed me to make more progress toward reaching my financial goals. I would have never made a huge dent in the $30,000 of debt I owed if I’d never increased my income.
Increasing your income is not the end all be all though and here’s why I decided to focus on frugality first and why you should too.
Yes, it’s true. Becoming frugal seems difficult if you’re used to spending all your money on nonsense all the time. But, once you get started, it becomes quite simple. It also helps that you can define frugality for yourself and do what’s comfortable for you.
There are so many interesting ways to earn extra money online, but sometimes it’s more difficult to get started than you would think. You may need certain skills and experience to land a side job. Or, you need to apply and wait to hear back.
All in all, sometimes, it’s not possible to start earning the extra money you need instantly. But, you can start cutting your expenses and living mindfully instantly. If you need to free up more money in your budget quickly, one of the easiest ways to do that is to focus on frugality.
Frugality Allows You To Develop Better Money Habits
If you want to manage your money properly, you need to focus on your habits first and not your income. I always hear people say that if they could only earn more money they could do x,y, and z.
I get it, the thought of earning more money seems pretty nice. However, it’s not going to help in most situations. I used to be one of those people who thought earning more money would erase all my problems. To my surprise, it didn’t.
When I started earning more, I had more bills and more responsibilities. Basically, more money = more problems. When I noticed that, I immediately started focusing on frugality because I knew it would allow me to get ahead.
Frugality isn’t about spending the least amount of money at all times. It’s about being mindful with your spending and getting clear on your values. It also prompts you to be creative and resourceful by using what’s available to you instead of seeing money as a solution.When I started earning more, I had more bills to pay! More money = more problems. #frugalityfirst Click To Tweet
Frugality Breeds Simplicity
I like living simply, so naturally, I fell in love with frugality. Even if you’re not a fan of the simple life, odds are you would benefit from a life with less stress and simplified finances. No one wants to spend all their money on stuff they don’t want or care about.
Frugality helps you get clear on your priorities so you can spend money on what’s important to you and save for your other goals. Most important, frugality will help change the way you view money along with your spending and savings habits.
Good financial habits are what leads to financial stability and success – not money. You can see an example when you look at a celebrity who’s just filed for bankruptcy or can’t afford to pay for their house.
They had all the money in the world, but it still didn’t help them because they didn’t improve their money management and financial habits.
Doing Things the Other Way Around Won’t Work
Another reason why I became frugal before increasing my income is that it rarely ever works when you do things the other way around. When you focus on earning money first, you most likely won’t know what to do with your extra earnings because you haven’t clearly defined your values.
This can lead to lifestyle inflation which causes you to spend more just because you make more. When you give into lifestyle inflation all the time, you won’t really move forward and like I said, more and more expenses will just start to pile up.
What I love about frugality, it that it makes it okay to say no to things that don’t fit in with your values or goals. Often times, we are taught that saying no is rude or selfish.
But when you become frugal, you’ll realize that you don’t have to say yes to happy hour if you’d rather spend your money on a fun camping trip that weekend instead. If you set a clear goal to pay off your student loans, frugality can help you stay on track and prioritize it.
Frugality is Long Term
Most people don’t realize that frugality is not just a middle ground to balance while you work toward your goals. It’s a foundation and a lifestyle.
You can define frugality by your own terms and live a comfortable lifestyle for the rest of your life. Your income, however, can come and go.
Earning more money through a side hustle or job is not always constant. You may lose that source of income lose motivation to continue working. Frugality sets you up for long-term financial success in regards to having a fully funded emergency fund and being to retire when you wish and meet any of your other goals.
Basically, it allows you to live well on less vs. depending on your income to dictate your lifestyle.
While there is nothing wrong with making extra money (and I’d even encourage you to look into how you can increase your income), I hope these reasons showed you why frugality should be the foundation and the first step on your road to financial success.
Have you tried to focus on frugality yet? Did you find any of these reasons to be true?