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Ten commandments for frugal living

   I just ran across the following article on the internet.  I 
   thought it was excellent.

   10 Commandments for Frugal Living

   Jeffrey Strain

   Frugality often gets a bad rap. Many people misunderstand 
   frugality and assume that it's nothing more than being "cheap" 
   when, in reality, frugality is making sure that you get the 
   most from the money and resources you have, even if they are 
   limited. For those who are just beginning to embrace frugality 
   as a part of their lifestyle, here are 10 frugal commandments 
   to live by.

   10. Thou shalt not buy things you don't need. To get the most 
   from the money that you have, it's essential to have a basic 
   understanding of the difference between wants and needs. 
   Chances are that a lot of things that you assume are needs are 
   only wants you have disguised as needs in order to justify 
   purchasing them. Basic needs are food (including water), 
   shelter and clothing plus the essentials needed to work so that 
   you can provide those basics. That means that the TV (and 
   virtually every other gadget in your house) is a want and not a 
   need. Having the willpower to buy only those things that you 
   really need (being frugal doesn't mean being stingy, but it 
   does mean that any wants you do have are specifically saved and 
   budgeted for as opposed to impulse purchases) is essential to 
   getting the most out of frugality. Simply put, if you don't 
   need it, don't buy it, no matter how good the price.

   9. Thou shalt only buy when you have the money. One of the 
   basic premises of frugality is having the money to pay for the 
   things that you buy. By budgeting and saving for those things 
   that you want and paying for them with cash rather than using 
   credit, you ensure you aren't paying far more than you should 
   be for the products and services that you buy.

   8. Thou shalt purchase by value, not price. One of the biggest 
   misconceptions about being frugal is that those who are frugal 
   only purchase things that are cheap or the very lowest price. 
   The truth is that those who are frugal always try to buy the 
   best value taking into account other factors such as the life 
   expectancy and additional upkeep costs that come into play 
   beyond retail price. This often means looking at the long term 
   cost of an item rather than just the initial purchase price.

   7. Thou shalt be patient. Those who embrace frugality rarely 
   have the latest and greatest gadgets that have just hit the 
   market. Instead, those who are frugal wait for the early 
   adopters to embrace the technology until the point at which the 
   price falls to a reasonable level as the gadget makes its way 
   to the masses. Those who are frugal are usually a generation or 
   two behind on the latest gadgets, but they still perform the 
   functions that need to be done and they get them for a fraction 
   of the price.

   6. Thou shalt buy used. A basic tenet of frugality is to get 
   the best value from what you purchase, and this often means 
   purchasing products used. Those who are frugal are more than 
   happy to let someone else pay full retail price and absorb the 
   premium pricing for products that are depreciating assets 
   (think of the difference in price between a brand new car and a 
   two-year-old vehicle, as an example). Used products are often a 
   fraction of the price of the new models and in many instances 
   perform the needed task just as well.

   5. Thou shalt look for alternatives before buying. If you need 
   something, automatically going out and buying it is not an 
   approach that a true frugal person would take. Instead, before 
   spending any hard-earned money on something that may only be 
   used a few times, consider alternatives. Is it possible to 
   borrow it from a friend, a neighbor or a place such as the 
   library? Would renting it be less expensive in the long run? Do 
   you have something else already on hand that can be used to 
   perform the same task? Buying is only one of many options when 
   it comes to getting things you may need.

   4. Thou shalt ignore the Joneses. Part of living a frugal life 
   is understanding that life isn't a competition over who has the 
   most stuff. It's important to concentrate on your and your 
   family's needs, and not what others are spending their money 
   on. Just because your neighbors bought it doesn't mean that you 
   need to go out and buy something on par or better.

   3. Thou shalt not pay full retail price. When you are going to 
   make a purchase, you should never pay full retail price for it. 
   There are a number of ways to avoid paying full retail such as 
   using coupons, finding discounts, waiting for sales and 
   negotiating a lower price. With a bit of preparation and 
   forethought, there is never a reason to pay full retail price 
   for anything you purchase.

   2. Thou shalt not waste. One thing that those who are frugal 
   hate is waste. While this obviously includes the waste of 
   money, it also goes beyond money to such areas a wasted 
   resources and wasted time. Efficiency is a frugal person's 
   friend, and those who are frugal tend to follow the green 
   mantra of reduce, repurpose, reuse and recycle for the things 
   that they do possess.

   1. Thou shalt do things yourself. When something needs to be 
   done, the first choice to perform the task should be yourself 
   rather than hiring someone else to do it. Frugal people tend to 
   be do-it-yourself experts and do not pay others to do things 
   that they can easily do by themselves. When they don't know how 
   to do something, they research it to see if it is something 
   that they can do with the proper instructions or something 
   sufficiently complicated that it's best to let an expert 
   handle. While it may take some practice at first, getting these 
   10 frugal commandments down will make your savings account look 
   a lot healthier in the new year. 

   Apr 2011

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