Many people interchange the words “frugal” and “cheap”. Despite people sometimes using “cheap” as a derogatory accusation for somebody who is frugal, the two are very different. Being frugal is maximizing your money to avoid waste, so that you have the money for the things that you value the most.
If you take a look in one of your closets or your basement, how many items have you bought that added no value to your life? If you look at your clothes, is there an alternative to some of the pricier name-brand clothes that will look just as good on you and are just as comfortable? When you do your grocery shopping, is there really a difference in taste in all of the name brand foods versus the store brands?
Why be frugal? Being frugal isn’t about being a stiff who doesn’t enjoy life. But rather being frugal will allow you to have the money for the things you need (such as home/car maintenance, monthly bills, medical expenses, peace of mind, etc.) and the things that you really want (vacations, your dream car, early retirement, etc.)
There is a tradeoff for everything. Few of us have an overabundance of money, and even those who do need to make the decision to manage their money well if they want to preserve their wealth. When you make the decision to be more frugal, you are making daily decisions to not spend money (or as much money) on the things that less significant to you, so that you can fund the things that are more significant.
Achieving your financial goals is the sum of your small daily decisions. When shopping, ask yourself how much you value what you are buying and if there is an less expensive alternative or if you even want to buy it at all. Every dollar you save (an there are lots of dollars to be saved in any given week) puts you that much closer to having your financial dreams and goals become a reality.