So that recession thing it put a damper on all the fun for a while, eh? Dont buy this. Dont spend money on that. Well, cheer up, because, according to Chris Farrell, author of The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better ($26, Bloomsbury Press), the great recession was also a giant dividing line between the spenders and the borrowers of the last eight decades. It also resulted in a future where were more mindful with our money. If the cutback message is working your last nerve, consider resetting your brain by focusing on being frugal (which, by-and-by, can be a very stylish way to live).
Farrell says its time to stop with the cheap cheap cheap. Frugality is not cheapness, he says. The way to the new frugality? Manage your money with a margin of safety and make giving the core of your savings plan. It makes us very conscious of our money. What are you earning this for? What do you want to do? What difference do you want to make? Sustainability really matters, Farrell says. Here are some of his freshly frugal ways to live (and save):
1 . SUSTAINABILITY. Yes, its all that green as in good for the environment stuff. But sustainability also means buying things that will last. Stop with the disposable items. If youre going to use something again and again, buy the best version of it so youll use it and enjoy it. That could mean buying a pricey bike for a new take on your daily commute or high-end clothing that wont wear out after a season. But dont just buy a new toy because you can. If youre not going to really use that Kindle or Nook or iPhone or whatever it is, leave the money in your bank account.
2. GIVE IT AWAY. And, no, were not talking about the Red Hot Chili Peppers song. From small acts (like an ongoing book swap with friends) to large (full-on donations to charity), giving goods and money away takes the focus off of acquisition and onto helping the community. And by getting involved in recycling your goods through organizations like Freecycle.org and other similar groups, you may even walk away with items you needed, no money down.
3. GO PUBLIC (OR SEMIPUBLIC). If youve found it tough to stick to a budget or giving plan in the past, tell your friends on Facebook or at your book club about some of your goals. We do try to live up to what we say to our friends, Farrell says. Or, try putting some money on it: Set a goal for yourself, and if you dont meet it, tell a friend youll have to pay them $500. Youll meet your goal.