If you’re reading this, you’re probably more frugal than not. Or you’re wanting to be more frugal. Being frugal is a good thing! However, the purpose of your being frugal and saving money can sometimes get in the way of your financial freedom.
I am a firm believer that you should work hard to play hard. In financial terms, that means you should save your money so you can spend your money (within reason). Allow me to explain further.
My husband and I sometimes get so caught up in wanting to save our money that we refuse to spend it. For example, we both need new tennis shoes, but we both also think that other things in our life take higher priority.
That is taking frugality to the next level.
For some people, that level of thriftiness might be fine. For us, we want to have a better balance of saying yes to certain things. Things like shoes we need, for instance.
And don’t worry, we will get those shoes. We have a date to go shopping tomorrow!
Assuming you are like us and don’t always know the line between frugality and financial freedom, here are several tips on how to find the balance in your life.
1. Decide Your Priorities
First things first, you need to decide what your priorities are. As you can tell, my husband and I don’t consider personal items priorities unless we truly can’t use the old ones anymore. Toothpaste, socks, and deodorant would fall under that category for us.
Something that I don’t even think twice about though, is spending on activities. My love language is quality time so I don’t mind spending a little extra to create quality memories with my family and friends.
You need to determine what your own priorities are in regards to what you are willing to spend your money on. Make a list if that helps you focus your thoughts.
2. Use Gift Cards for Smaller Purchases
This is something my husband and I have done since we got married almost four years ago. As per custom, we received a lot of gift cards at our wedding.
Guess what? We saved them!
Any of the gift cards for restaurants we save for special occasions, like our anniversary. Other cards, like Amazon or Target, we use every so often for things like birthday gifts. We also have several Visa gift cards that we have yet to use.
That’s right, almost four years later and we still have unopened gift cards from our wedding (and birthdays throughout the year)! Some might call that overly frugal, but we like to save those for smaller purchases (like shoes). By buying items with gift cards, we don’t have to worry about how it will affect our bank account.
3. Know Your Bank Account Balance
I can’t stress this one enough. Knowing your bank account will allow you to accurately determine if you can afford something or not.
My husband is typically the one who wants to spend less and that can hinder his desire to actually buy it. Luckily, I look at our bank account at least once a week so I can tell him with confidence that we have plenty of money for whatever it is he wants.
I also believe that knowing your checking account balance can help you decide how much you may want to transfer to a savings account. If my husband and I have a lot more than we need in our checking, we will normally send some over to our savings for extra assurance that we have enough finances to last.
On the other hand, sometimes you may not have enough money to go out even if you really want to. Being aware of your budget can also help you decide if you should spend on that extra pair of sunglasses or not.
4. Have a Christmas in July
Lastly, if you are super frugal and don’t want to spend your money at a time when it seems unnecessary, have a Christmas in July! I know a couple who is doing this right now and they have gotten really into it.
They have set up their Christmas tree, decorated it with patriotic trimming, and will open their “presents” on July 25th. Of course, their presents are things they both have needed for a while, but have refused to purchase for themselves. Now, they have the excuse of a new holiday to buy their presents.
If you struggle to justify your purchases unless it’s a birthday or holiday, create your own! You can call it Christmas in July or Bank Birthday, but keep the purpose to buy things you need that you wouldn’t normally get.
We hope you can apply these tips in your life and start living your [somewhat] financial freedom now!