A Lot of people are poor simply because they cannot adapt to frugality. They either choose not to, or do not know how to live cheap when occasion calls. For women, frugality is a blessing when times are hard and the home must keep moving.

coinsWe get used to lifestyles reflected by our earnings. The more the merrier. The more also, the more extravagance sets in. When you have grown knowing or exposed to living frugally, you are well able to cut costs even drastically, when occasion demands. I know people who have raised sharply from extreme poverty, indeed a life lacking in even bare basics, to be “thrown” into wealth and abundance almost overnight. This too is dangerous. Such people just have no clue about living normal. Thus, if they were thrust back to a lower level of abundance, they might just drop right back to zero because they would not know how to make do.

This is because; spending money wisely is comparable to reading and understanding manuals. It takes time to learn, and this means that you cover various topics step by step. You cannot learn your ABCs and then jump to a level where you can read and understand a medical journal. It is the same with money, before you grasp the nitty gritty of small time budgeting and shopping, you will not understand the intricacies involved in managing a multi million unit account, let alone acquisition or handling of investments of similar grandiose.

So what is frugality?

A vast majority of us lead a frugal life not out of choice, but because it is the better way to survive. Everywhere we have options. The options we elect to follow concerning financial decisions, is a determining factor on to how we later fare in life.
Two people earning the same salary, with an equal number of children and living within the same area might have totally different budget priorities and expenditure. Wife X might be an impulse buyer and wife Z a frugal person, who dare not purchase what, is not budgeted for. I like the Tyra show for what it does to encourage frugality. She continually harps on frugality, encouraging all and sundry to embrace the habit.

“Queen of cheap” as she calls herself, gives clear examples that cheap isn’t always bad, by she herself buying and utilizing completely inexpensive items.

She comes out so true in her many money saving topics. This brings me back to us humans and the options and decisions we make. Whether it is vegetables, clothes, housing, insurance, electronics…whatever the case, you can always get it cheaper elsewhere, without necessarily compromising on quality. Thankfully, it also applies to education!

Brand wars have led many to wrongly believe that cheap is expensive. Well cheaper is an option not usually mentioned, but worth so much when it comes to saving by the pennies and cents.

Just as an example, if I bought my children clothes worth 30,000 units of money, and my neighbor bought hers worth 5,000 units, nobody might notice the difference. And even if they did, it might be of no consequence since all children are clothed and able to go about similar business without being affected by the cost of attire. However, there would be a difference of 25,000 unit’s worth of money, in our two households’ expenditure. If this were to be a competition, I would obviously be 25,000 units worth of points behind!

Before I begun computing my expenses and future plans on paper, I did not realize how much money I wasted on unimportant items. Initially I begun by maintaining receipts and bills and noting down all daily expenditure down to the last penny. At first I would justify my unbudgeted costs as necessary but unplanned for. Eventually though, I realized my folly in this. You cannot argue with reason, I was wasting much needed money on impulse purchases.

When I eventually got expert advice, I got wiser. How lucky for those growing in this age of technology advancement. At a click you can get all the advice on financial matters that actually work. No wonder I had no money! I was younger then and had time to make corrections. Over time, I changed my priorities and needs to suit a budget, while I try to keep as consistent as possible.

By the time I went into marriage and had children, I was pre-planning my life five years ahead financially. If back then I had the internet to get advice and tips from, I would instead have planned forty years ahead and more. This knowledge determined what sort of life my family and I lead today.

Miss D in her late teens now, knows more about handling money than I did when I was years older than her. Starting children early in financial know-how is very important. Every child with a working parent should have an education policy in place, way before they begin school. The parents themselves should have a life policy running, from within their first year of gainful employment.

My ears are shut to any negative comments about this view I hold. It is common proof that a majority of working youth waste most of their earnings. It is sad considering that everything is cheaper the younger you are. Right from clothing, entry fees, premiums, medical requirements and other bills. This list is endless.

Now while they are yet young, I am instilling in my loved ones, skills, tips and means of how to live large on very little. These are the small details, which enable you to live a full, joyful and fun filled life, with enough left over to use another day. I pray that what they will learn now, while still under my loving care, will help them cope later when they face some of life’s, demanding financial situations.

At that time, even if I am unable or too far off to help they pull through, it is my hope that this knowledge will guide them to make wise decisions.

Being children yet, they do have their merits and demerits of my exercising frugality in our home. The young long so much for what is fashionable and common among peers. Their priorities are different from mine now. One cannot hold it against them or any other child. Yet, my duty to them is to impart this knowledge while they have time and opportunity with me.

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Emerald Sua is a Christian single mother who prides herself as a voluntary organizational guru for lives, systems, situations and homes.