How To Be Frugal In A Materialistic, High-Tech World

How To Be Frugal In A Materialistic, High-Tech World

Today’s post is a part of the Simple Lives Thursdays blog hop at gnowfglins.com.

There are a thousand and one tips on ways to save money, but how to be frugal – really frugal, consistently – in today’s world? Today’s world, where you can’t walk two blocks in a city without being bombarded by some kind of outdoor advertising. Today’s world, where radio, television, and computer are screaming at you constantly to buy the latest “must-have.”

Today’s world, where a computer supposedly becomes obsolete within a few days of you purchasing it. Today’s world, where people will spend precious gas money driving to a gym to work out, and then won’t use a broom to sweep their sidewalks, wash dishes by hand or mow their own lawn.

It’s hard. I, Queen of Cheap, even must admit that. Most days, I don’t have a problem with living with less, but there are days when I see an iPhone or Kindle and think about how cool it would be to have one. Or I see a woman obviously dressed in clothing she just bought from Dillard’s last weekend, and feel a twinge of envy.

How to be frugal on days like that? There are four questions I ask myself when I start feeling a tad bit deprived.

1. Did my parents need this?

Take the cell phone, for example. People lived for generations without needing to have instant access to every friend, family member and business associate they knew. And they got on just fine.

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While Jerry and I have a cell phone, it is a pay-as-you-go kind that we reserve for emergencies and travel.

And it saves us over $40 per month.

2. Would I really use this gadget enough to get the value out of it?

How To Be Frugal In A Materialistic, High-Tech World

An obvious example here would be the small kitchen appliances people seem to accrue. If you actually use your breadmaker and it enables you to eat a little healthier than you would otherwise, then you made a wise decision. But how many people do you know whose breadmaker is sitting in a kitchen cupboard, just waiting to be listed on Craigslist?

Consider children’s toys as well. Does your three-year-old really care about the Baby Einstein toy you ‘re thinking about buying him for Christmas? A toy that he will have lost complete interest in within the next six months?

3. What will this item do for my spiritual growth?

People of faith used to have a lot more time for prayer and reading their respective books of faith. Now they “have” to check their e-mail and do online research before taking off for work in the morning.

Children play video games instead of being encouraged to participate in creative play which will ultimately help them to dream and discover their God-given potential.

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“How to be frugal” might therefore be better worded as “Why be frugal?” in such cases.

4. How will buying this affect my progress toward my financial goals?

Truth be told, this question above all is the one that helps keep me frugal the most. If I shopped for new clothes every weekend, or my geek husband had to buy every latest piece of technology, or we had to have a new car every three years, we would not be in the enviable financial position we are in now (check out my e-book Weird Finances to find out how an ordinary person or couple can find financial independence long before traditional retirement age).

Tips on saving money are great, but when considering how to be frugal the above four questions are your best jumping-off point. May you be blessed and prosper.