One of the biggest obstacles people face when trying to solve their personal debts is understanding that being frugal doesn't necessarily have to be a lifelong strategy. If you've got a hefty credit card debt that you need to eliminate, you may only have to resort to clipping coupons, turning down the heat an A/C, and eliminating most entertainment expenditures until your debt is gone.
Once you've wiped out your debt, can return to your old ways - if you choose to do so. However, this can be a dangerous maneuver, as it could very well lead to you back into debt.
Though you can relax slightly when you escape debt, there are many great reasons to continue living a smart, frugal lifestyle.
The most important reason to continue on with your frugal ways is to maximize your retirement investments. The future of Social Security is uncertain, which makes it that much more difficult to determine how much you'll really need for your golden years.
If you've just solved all your debt woes, I suggest setting aside the money that used to go to credit card interest in a diversified retirement portfolio. Once that's up and running, then you can possibly relax and spend a little more freely.
During my struggles to escape nearly $40,000 in credit card debt, the last thing on my mind was establishing an emergency fund. In fact, I never thought I'd be able to set up such a thing, and you may feel the same.
However, you can set up an emergency fund - and you should. While the amount of the fund will depend on your ability, most experts suggest having at least three month's worth of living expenses set aside.
3. More Spending Options
When I was in debt, I had to critically analyze every single item on which I wanted to spend money. Now that my debts are long gone, and I continue to live frugally, I have all the expendable cash that I need. This makes it much easier to budget for large purchases, like a refrigerator or stove, and it's also less stressful when I want to make a purchase for pleasure, such as a new laptop or flat-screen TV.
4. The Future
Another reason to remain frugal is that it will make your future easier to manage, no matter what comes your way. You never know what's in store for you, whether it be marriage, having kids, paying for college, travel, or even divorce. You'll need funds to finance both planned and unforeseen life events efficiently, and having the ability to do so without going into debt is the key to a balanced, healthy financial life.
Final ThoughtsOnce I solved all of my personal debts, I really had no desire to go back to my old ways of spending and not saving. Living a frugal life is quite easy, and once you form positive habits, you should have no problem maintaining them.
Living frugally offers much peace of mind that it offers. Personally, I know that I'm on track for a comfortable retirement. I have a sufficient emergency fund if I need it, and I pay my bills on time and in full every month. Although I am not 100% stress-free regarding my finances, I certainly don't have the daily trials and tribulations that I experienced when I was buried in debt. This financial strength has given me an increased level of confidence - I'll be able to face nearly any expense that comes my way, and I'll be able to do it without falling back into debt.
What are your thoughts on living frugally?