Embracing Frugality

The book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold over 15 million copies since it was first published in 1989, teaching people all over the world how to live happier, more successful, and more satisfying lives.One of the prevailing themes of the book is that to change your life, you need to change your attitude.

No one else is responsible for what happens to you but you, so you can either complain about changing them. Not surprisingly, this directly relates to the state of your finances. This post is a financial application of the concepts presented in the book.

If you're tired of living paycheck to paycheck, having your phone regularly cut off, or making excuses to skip dinners with your friends, then you can use these seven habits to take control of your money situation and live a happier and more frugal lifestyle.

Habit One: Be Proactive

The first habit of highly effective people is that they take responsibility for their own lives; if they fail, they have no one to blame but themselves.Regardless of how you were raised or how you were treated at school, you can choose your behavior now.Being proactive means that YOU are in charge of your day-to-day interactions,and thereby,the directions your life takes.This is in stark comparison to a reactive person,who is often affected by their environment and will find external sources to blame for their behavior.For example,if the weather is good,they're in a good mood,but if the weather is bad,it affects them and they blame the weather for their bad mood.

What most people forget is that though you can't control the stimulus,you can control your response.One of your most important choices is your words;the language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself.If you use proactive language,such as "I can" or "I will", you're starting with a more positive attitude than someone who uses language like "I can't" or "I have to" or "If only".

How to be proactive for effective frugality:

Take the first step:

You cannot take control of your fiances until you make the commitment to do so;the more you ignore the situation,the worse it will get.Instead,take a long hard look at your finances--your budget,debts,income,and expenses,and try to understand where your money is going and where you can budget better.

Tell People.

Using proactive language to vocalize your hope of being more financially responsible not only helps you crystallize your goal, but it can also help you avoid the peer pressure that make budgeting and frugality hard.If you explain to your friends and family that your're trying to live a more frugal lifestyle,they'll be less likely to pressure you into more round of drinks or another dinner outing.


Listen to yourself and the reasons you give each time you make a purchase outside your budget or decide not to put spare money into your savings account. Taking the time to stop and listen to the reasons you give yourself for spending more than you earn will give the opportunity to hear just how shallow many of those reasons are.This can stop you from making purchases that impede your goal of effective frugality.

Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind

Those who are effective in achieving their desire goals are able to envisage their desire end result in spite of the obstacles.Highly effective people adhere to this habit based on the principle that all things are created twice; there is first the mental creation, then the physical creation.The physical creation follows the mental creation the same way that a building follows its blueprints.

If you don't visualize what you want,then you're at risk of other people and external circumstances influencing your life -because you're not influencing it yourself.Instead,begin every day and every task with a clear vision of where you want to go and how you're going to get there.Make that vision a reality with your proactive skills from habit one.

How to visualize effective frugality:

Define your goal.

There are many ways to live a frugal lifestyles,and you need to decide how frugal you want to be.Do you want to be debt free,build and savings account of a certain value,or live on one income in a two-income household?

Decide how you're going to get there.

This will again draw on your budget,but you need to be aware of the obstacles that are standing in your way.These may be literal obstacles,such as credit card debts,or they may be obstacles you've identified in your behavior. An example of behavioral obstacles would be spending $10 every day on junk food on your way home from work,because you're starving. Instead,you could be packing an inexpensive granola bar to keep you going until dinner.Or, do you find that when you go shopping with your sister,she always helps you justify a frivolous purchase,when you could leave your credit card at home.