Discretionary Spending - minimize it

Discretionary spending can be a big expense for any family. It's the little things here and there that add up to a big bill at the end of each month. It's tough to avoid, but we can all certainly do our part to minimize it.

There are many things that you would like to have, but if you really focus on what you require, you'll find that saving lots of money is easy when you stop making discretionary purchases.

Money saving ideas like this mean you stop buying, or at least carefully consider whether you need:

  • cigarettes
  • liquor, beer or wine
  • cable TV
  • satellite radio service
  • cell phone
  • new car
  • another car
  • meals out
  • new house
  • cabin at the lake
  • new furniture
  • new clothes
  • a set of collectible coins, stamps, or plates
  • a house keeper
  • landscape service
  • ski boat
  • magazine subscriptions
  • digital camera
  • another pet or two
...and the list goes on and on.

Be honest with yourself. Do you need more things, or are you trying to satisfy another need? Remember that love, happiness and fulfillment can't be purchased at any price.

The wonderful thing about this type of money saving idea is the average person can save serious money following this frugal living approach - even with a modest income. Think of it like this:

  • You're at the office working like everyone else.
  • Salaries are based in part on what a company needs to pay to retain employees.
  • Part of the compensation assumes that there is a fair amount of discretionary spending going on, as well as normal living expenses.
  • In a perfect world, all the employees will earn the same amount of "mad money" for the same level of service to the company.
  • The one who minimizes discretionary spending will be the one who accumulates wealth for the most important things in their life.

Now, if you practice frugal living, and the other employees don't, then a healthy part of your salary can go towards savings instead of discretionary spending.

As an example, the first year of my career was spent without an automobile, while everyone else drove a car. I purchased a car for less than $1,000 at the beginning of year 2 and drove it for about 17 years.

No one else I knew did anything like that because much of their self-esteem was wrapped up in their automobile. And, much of their money was wrapped up there too.

Following this general approach, I was able to sock away plenty of savings in just a few years because my discretionary spending was very limited. Others didn't employ a frugal living approach, and they sat back and watched in amazement as I accomplished many of my financial goals.

Before I was 26 years old, I had a home and undeveloped land in the country as an investment. My fellow workers were nearly 20 years older and they had just a home to their name, some not even that. And, their income was substantially more than mine. That's the power of focused savings and mental toughness that can help you minimize unnecessary spending.

I focused on saving money to invest in things that I truly valued, and it worked very well for me. There isn't any secret to it. You just have to be disciplined in your spending and savings habits, and remain focused on important goals you have set for yourself.

Done with Discretionary Spending, take me back to Money Saving Ideas

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.