In the last couple of decades, frugality has become hot. Not that it wasn't always cool to keep more of your money, it just wasn't a topic that got a lot of press in that overheated, live-to-consume decade known as the '80s. Sometime in the 1990s, the "new" environmentalism brought thrift and recycling back in to the public eye. In the twenty first century, the Internet has provided a knowledge rich, friendly forum for people to share their expertise and experience.
Today, there are a lot of us out in Cyberspace searching for ways to tighten budgets, save for houses, send kids to college, and simply get through the week. Like me, you've probably noticed that some folks have had incredible successes. Their names are mentioned often; many of them have published books or appeared on radio and television.
I was a little intimidated by these Super Frugal people when I first started searching for answers and advice on the Internet. I assumed that they had some sort of magic that I didn't get. After all, I was just trying to save a buck here and there. A lot of the time, I was overwhelmed by how much there was to do. I searched in vain for a more simplified approach.
After five years of frugal practice, I'm no longer intimidated, although I'm not yet Super Frugal, either. And I've had a long time to tease out some general themes from all the frugal living blogs, websites, and boards. If you're just getting started with a thrifty lifestyle, here are my Basic Rules of Frugality. Apply yourself to these golden rules, and you will gradually reform your freespendin' ways without spending hours on the 'net sorting through tips.
By following these five basic but very important tenets, you can become frugal now, as in today. Switch off the computer (and turn off the power strip) and prepare your family some dinner to eat at home and you will be following the path blazed by all those Super Frugals before you. It's up to each of us how long we want or need to make the journey to a more thrifty life.
Amy Burns is a stay at home mother of two young children. Having recently survived a move from the Southwest to the much more expensive Windy City, she is enjoying applying frugal living techniques in a new environment.
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