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There are many ways a frugal budget can help with your financial difficulties. Believe it or not, a frugal lifestyle is something that you constantly need in your life. It is important that you realize its value in financial management - especially in helping you develop the skills that will make you a wiser money manager.
When you think about it, the key to proper financial management is in how you spend your money. You get into trouble because you failed to put your money where it is most needed. That means you end up using your money on unnecessary expenses. When the time comes for you to pay for the more important expenses, your money is spent. That is usually how you end up in debt.
According to a poll done by Gallup.com, consumer spending on a daily basis is at its highest since the economic collapse in 2008. In December 2013, they found out that the average American spent $96 a day. This is actually a good indication of our improving economy. But before we can rejoice, you have to seriously look into the details of that expense. According to the poll results, the $96/day does not include the usual household bills, and any housing or auto loan payments. That means this is only for discretionary spending. And that spending cost the average American $2,976 in the month of December alone.
Considering the still increasing consumers spending, it is evident that we still need to learn how to tone down our spending a bit. Fortunately, that can be done if you practice the same principles that people living a frugal lifestyle implement.
15 ways you can have some frugal fun
Some people frown upon the idea of being frugal simply because they think that it is very restricting. But if you practice it properly, you will realize that you will find abundance despite frugality.
When you practice frugal living, you will realize that you will have to choose where you will spend your money so it goes to where it is needed the most. You will be asked to prioritize your expenses and most of the time, this is why people shy away from a frugal lifestyle. They think that when it comes down to it, they have to give up their entertainment expenses entirely.
That is where they are wrong. You may have to tone it down a bit but the correct practice of frugality leaves room for entertainment expenses. According to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual entertainment expenses in 2012 amounted to $2,605. Compared to the other expenses on the report as published by BLS.gov, it is a mere 5% but imagine what you can do with that amount if you spend it wisely?
The good news is, you have a lot of options to have fun despite a frugal lifestyle. You do not have to give it up completely. In fact, it is more advised that you allot some time and money for this - but the difference this time is you have to plan it. Do not spend on entertainment expenses on an impulse. That will make it very difficult to control.
To help you plan, here are 15 ideas that you can look into to have some frugal fun.
When eating out.
A lot of Americans love to eat out. We love fast food and fine dining. It is a great feeling to have someone cook and serve your meals for you. But the thing is, it can be costly. You may want to minimize this or keep it in moderation. But even when you let yourself and your family eat out, there are cost efficient ways to do it.
Use coupons when going out to eat. There are several restaurant deals that you can avail and you can find them online. Just print them out and get discounts or free meals.
Share your food. This is especially true when you are eating with kids. You may want to share portions with them because they do not eat as much as you do.
Skip the drinks. Just order water rather than soda. It will be cheaper and healthier too.
Know the schedule promos and special offers. Some restaurants offer low cost meals if you order them at the right time. Make sure you find out the schedules in your favorite restaurant.
Cook your meals and go on a picnic. This is another great way to enjoy your meals without spending too much. Just cook your meals at home and have a picnic in your favorite park. You can enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends.
Whether you are with your kids or with your special someone, watching movies is one of our favorite past times - especially when it is a film genre that we like. Here are some suggestions to make this ideal for your frugal lifestyle.
Rent movies from your local library. Some libraries stock up on movies and you can actually rent them out. That is a cheap way of enjoying movies with your family. Just cook some popcorn in the microwave and you should be good to go.
Watch movies early. Try not to go at night because the prices are really higher for movie tickets.
Buy your tickets ahead of time. The early bird does get the worm - or in this case, the discounts.
Buy in bulk. If you love to watch movies, you can invest ahead of time and buy tickets in bulk. That will shave off a couple of dollars from your ticket price.
Watching live events is also something that people really enjoy. Whether it is enjoying music or something similar, it is great to socialize with the other people in the community.
You can ask the local community center, government or even the church for upcoming events that you can enjoy with the family.
There are many cost friendly ways to enjoy your hobby and it does not have to be expensive. Here are some suggestions.
Reading. You can borrow books so you do not have to spend a dime.
Sports. The local community center must have some facilities that you can enjoy for swimming, playing basketball or tennis.
Outdoor activities. If you simply love to be outdoors, you can go to the local park and enjoy biking or hiking.
Fun weekend activities.
Volunteer. What is more fun than helping others? You should inquire with your local community to check where you can lend a helping hand. This will not cost you anything and it will also benefit other people.
Local tourist spots. These can be the local zoo, beach or museums. Visit all of these for some entertainment that will not cost you a lot. Sometimes you can even get in for free.
How to make your frugal adjustment fun
You see, you can have a very entertaining lifestyle despite your commitment to be a more frugal person. The bottom line is to know where you can find them. That is how you make the change into a frugal lifestyle more appealing.
Here are additional tips that will help make the transition run more smoothly.
Make sure you set reasonable goals.
Understand the reason behind the frugal change. Is it debt or probably an illness that you have to finance? These are powerful motivators that will push you to change into a frugal lifestyle completely.
Explore other motivational factors that will keep you from giving up.
Define milestones that will help encourage you as you make the necessary changes that this lifestyle will require of you.
Budget for entertainment expenses. That way, you will not feel too deprived.
Set aside money for emergencies. Make sure you prepare for the unexpected.
- Share your intentions with someone else. Another powerful way to encourage yourself to adapt into a frugal life is to find someone who will understand and support what you are trying to do. They can prove to be a great support system especially in times when you are faltering and you do not even know it.