Frugality means and requires different things at different stages in life. What might have been an acceptable cutting of corners when you were a college student may not be appropriate or possible once you have young children. Things may change again as you get older and near retirement. The points below can give you a framework for thinking about how to save money throughout your life, and how to help your children think about it as well.
Living frugally in retirement doesn’t have to mean denying yourself the comfort that you deserve. Instead, you can look at ways to enjoy the standard of living that you want while still spending less. One way to do this is by looking at states that are more friendly to retirees. As you review a list of the most affordable states, keep in mind what your priorities are. Some offer housing markets that are more affordable while others have excellent healthcare systems or many recreational activities. Finding the right fit for you and your needs can mean big savings and stretching your retirement dollar a lot further.
This can be a surprisingly tough time financially because even though your earning power may be at its highest point, the demands on you may be high as well. Many in this age group have children in college or are partially supporting adult children in other ways while also helping out their aging parents. Perhaps the most important frugal tip at this point is that you shouldn’t jeopardize your retirement. You may be able to sit down with your parents and strategize ways to help them make their money go further. In addition, you may need to push your adult kids to be a little more financially independent.
Your first years living on your own and working full time can be dangerous for one of two reasons. Either you’re not making enough and struggling to make ends meet, or you’re making good money but spending too much. Even if you’re living within your means, if you aren’t saving and aggressively paying down your student loans and any other debts, you’re not making the most of your money. Debts cost you over the long run because of interest rates. Failing to put away money for retirement robs you of the compound interest that allows small amounts you put away now to grow exponentially over the years.
College students often tend to be frugal out of necessity, but there are also some common errors that they make. Learning to cook a few simple meals can save a lot of money over take-out and delivery and there are ways to save on groceries that will keep those bills manageable. It’s also important to avoid credit card debt although you may get a lot of offers at this time. Credit cards can seem like an easy way to take a vacation or enjoy a night out on the town, but you’ll end up spending a lot more in the long run unless you pay your balance monthly. Aim to graduate with no debt besides your student loans.