First off, I’ve been in love with frugal mom blogs since a few years ago when I started using Pinterest.
Which is weird, because I’m not a mom, and I don’t want to be frugal forever. I want to be very successful and wealthy. So this is definitely not one of those stay-at-home mom frugal blogs (and I won’t be dispensing any parenting advice!).
So neither of those words “frugal” or “mom” really makes sense for my blog in particular, but over the last few years of being a twenty-something I’ve gotten really interested in things like minimalism, spirituality, frugality, and saving money in order to support starting two businesses that aren’t yet making a full time income.
To me, those things aren’t mutually exclusive. Just because I’m frugal doesn’t mean I don’t want my businesses to be successful, and just because I’m spiritual doesn’t mean I can’t have money. Actually, I see all of these as being related, because to me being spiritual means living lightly on the earth, with minimal possessions, expenses, and carbon footprint. But I also want to make money so I can give back and support things I care about.
In fact, I realized the full value of being frugal when I read a book called The Millionaire Next Door. Basically, most actual millionaires are really quite frugal, save a lot, and live beneath their means, which is why they become millionaires in the first place. For a while I thought if I wanted to be rich then I had to act and spend like a rich person, but that’s not the case.
For me, being frugal is about deciding what’s truly important to you in life, spending money on those areas, and letting go of the rest. Americans use 25% of the world’s resources, and I don’t want to be part of that (Scientific American). I want my ideas to cause a dent in the universe, not my over-consumption.
“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.” – Linda Breen Pierce
Just to name a few of my expenses, the main categories in my budget (because of course you have to make a budget if you want to stay on track! :)) are rent / utilities, groceries, and business expenses. And actually, I basically spend as much on my business (which includes further education, personal development, books, classes, etc) as the rest of my expenses combined (minus rent). That’s because my businesses are my babies and my livelihood, and spending money on them is not only a priority to me, but also an investment in my future.
– Rent / utilities
– Groceries (and miscellaneous)
– Business expenses
Which breaks down as tech tools, subscriptions, and continuing education (online courses, ebooks, etc).
You may notice that I have no budget for entertainment, shopping, eating, clothes, makeup, going out, a car payment, insurance, etc. The first few are bundled into the groceries and miscellaneous part (like Netflix and HBO Now – I don’t have cable), and I don’t drive. I walk and take public transportation, which is much less expensive and much more environmentally friendly. 🙂 I also take Uber once a week for a Meetup I go to. Since I work from home and I’m just a five minute walk to grocery stores, I usually just walk and don’t even need to take the bus very often. And for now, my insurance is bundled in with my parents’ expenses. Yay!
As a twenty something, you have the benefit of having no responsibilities (for the most part anyway). I don’t even put on pants most days. This means you probably have more wiggle room in your budget for fun spending, or putting money toward things like travel in the future (Bali anyone?) or the new Naked palette from Urban Decay (cruelty free!).
I’m not going to tell you to cut out Starbucks if Starbucks is your life, or going to Sephora every week to see what’s new. It’s about cutting out things you don’t care about and making room for things you do care about.
For example, I’m not domestic at all. I’m great at microwaving things (heyyyyyy), but other than that I don’t really cook. And I don’t want to. I also don’t care about cleaning products. So while other people will spend money on high end ingredients and knife sets and a $1,000 vacuum cleaner and a Febreze in every scent (although I do find Downy Unstoppables to be very tempting), I’ll make do with vinegar and baking soda and simple things from the grocery store (like sandwiches and pasta in my beloved pasta boat, which are both cheap and easy to make).
It’s just a matter of deciding what you care about. If you want to fund your two-latte-a-day habit, then by all means go for it. I love coffee, but I don’t care about the quality so I just get delicious flavored coffee from Target with vanilla coffee creamer and I’m as happy as a clam (although I do use a Starbucks gift card from time to time ;)).
I don’t want you to suffer in your effort to be frugal, although you will probably make some sacrifices. If you’re reading this from your computer or phone, well, you’re probably already in the top 1% of the world because you’re literate and have Internet access. That’s a lot to be grateful for. But you don’t have to split your two-ply toilet paper apart just because you’re trying to save money.
Do what makes you happy. And for the areas you really don’t care about, THAT is where you will save big money.
Action step: Prioritize the following life areas. What matters to you most? Now you know how you can allocate your spending based on priority. Go go go!