“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” —Mark Twain
If you live in America (especially), you are bombarded with ads, commercials, consumer branding in movies, and so on…
This is a fact of Life, but…
It appears that many of us succumb to the influence and brainwashing tactics of the big corporations and the big media.
Take the iPhone, for example. Now, Apple, Inc. is one of the most successful corporations ever, and they have hired the best marketing and consumer branding people to get their message across to consumers. Surely, they have great products that are well designed, and its elegance and sophisticated design technology has produced the iPhone.
Of course, people pay a hefty price for the latest iPhone (in this case the iPhone 4S), and the unlimited data plan is irresistable. Imagine being able to surf the web, interact on your favorite social networking sites, pay your bills online, listen to your music, videos, etc… and do just about anything and everything on an iPhone.
iPhones are, of course, smartphones.
They are capable of handle dozens of important tasks in todays technologically advanced society.
The fact is… it’s possible to live without all this technology.
It just depends on how frugal you wish to go with your lifestyle.
Did I make a mistake, being a professed frugal person, in buying an iPhone 4S?
I’m paying a bit more each money for a family plan that includes unlimited phone, texting, web access. And, I bought the iPhone 4S for $199.99.
But, if I break down all the tasks that this iPhone can accomplish in my day-to-day routine, perhaps getting a smartphone was a worthy investment. And, that’s how this type of purchase should be treated, as an investment.
If I would count all the savings made with other purchases (a very in-expensive HP desktop computer, for instance) then perhaps things even out with regard to my computer and home office purchases.
I know of a person who, for years, lived without a phone, mobile or home. Now he has a mobile phone.
Maybe, there is a certain need to keep up (just a little bit) with the technology. Before my iPhone 4S, I had a Blackberry Curve that didn’t have web or email access, and just functioned as a phone. I had this for 4 years, and for me that was a good example of frugality.
Maybe I did have a need for an iPhone 4S, or maybe I had succumbed to the brainwashing tactics of Apple, Inc. For they seemed to have convinced me that I do have a need for this technological wonder.
We live in a definite “me” driven era…
And perhaps part of this phenomenon is rampant consumerism, which always promotes the idea and notion that the individual is entitled to whatever consumer goods and services they supposedly are entitled to.
Do I need all that expensive electronics gadgetry? Can I really afford all that expensive electronics gadgetry?
If I am into all that expensive organic foods (i.e. free range, grass fed, whole foods) can I really afford it?
These are questions one must ask.
What is your monthly budget?
What can you really afford without having to break the bank?
Myself, I’ve been a big spender in the past. I’ve been into all sorts of interests, hobbies and passions that have cost me quite a bit of money, financially speaking.
Nowadays, saving and investing is a passion. Helping to let your investments make money for you passively.
Along with living a more frugal lifestyle and getting by on less, it is essential for everyone to save their money and let your money work for you for a good retirement.
Don the cap of the frugal master, then all else will fall into place.
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship”- Benjamin Franklin
Watch Out for Small Leaks
Benjamin Franklin was probably one of the most frugal of his era. And the above quote speaks a lot about the wisdom in not letting the little expenses accumulate and, in the long run, put us further in debt.
Another piece of advice to learn? Cut up those credit cards if they are keeping you in debt. I only know of one or two people that use credit cards intelligently and pay them off each month.
Credit cards should be treated like debit cards. Pay them off and keep out of debt. That monthly finance charge will keep accumulating more than you can earn in a money market account. Always pay cash if you can. It’s not really all that wise (in the long run) to use money you haven’t earned yet, and receive a finance charge for borrowing that money. Something to think about…
Growing and Cooking your Own Food
Fossil fuels. We are so dependent on them; the fact that we use them to ship our food long distances is cause for concern.
If you have a home with a backyard, why not grow your own fruits and vegetables? There would be no fossil fuels used to transport them to your dinner table.
A garden of fruits and vegetables, however, does require a lot of work. So, if your career is such that it truly prevents you from growing your own produce, then of course it would be more difficult to maintain a vegetable and fruit garden.
“He who does not economize will have to agonize” —Confucius
On the other hand, if you are struggling financially due to the economic tide of recession, job loss, lay offs, then you should look into alternative ways to save money.
I don’t have to convince anyone that cooking your own meals at home (as well as growing them) can really help to save money each month. And whether you are trying to save money to survive from paycheck to paycheck, or you want to save money to go on a big travel adventure abroad, it really helps to cut costs by growing and cooking your own food.
And, with all the information available to us online, it makes it quite easy to gather the basic information to start financially healthful habits.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. —Robert Brault
There is no doubt that many of us have been struggling financially for the past couple of years.
During economic crisis, many have had no choice but to live frugally and get by on less. We’ve seen neighbors foreclose on their homes. We’ve read about millions losing their jobs. And let’s not forget about businesses failing and going bankrupt, essentially closing their doors.
Yet, everyone has had to adapt and survive, with less, and keeping a tighter control on their finances. Continue reading