Column: To Be Frugal Or Not To Be Frugal?

April 13, 2017 | 2 Comments

[Written by Carla Seely]

The amount of money you have at your disposal is not always dependent on how much you earn. Whether you make a lot of money or you don’t, it is all about how you choose to spend your money that can make all the difference in the future.

Earlier in the week my husband and I were driving to work and he said the “F” word…the word that stops me in my tracks, he said “Carla, we really need to be more FRUGAL”.

I hate this word, it makes me think I should feel guilty for enjoying the benefits of my hard work, but the reality is, without minding those pennies in our early years we won’t be able to fold those bills in our later years.

Let’s be serious, do you need a landscaper or a pool cleaner, when you have the basic skill set and time to do it yourself. Do you need to have some blown out catered birthday party for your one year old or always fly business class when the airplane will still arrive at the same time and destination regardless of whether you are in the front or the back? Have we become a society that cares more about appearances than financial independence and stability?

Carla Seely Bermuda Nov 21 2015 TC

When you put everything before your finances, it is easy to spend more than you have budgeted each month. Today, the trend has become, the more money you make, the more you spend, however, the secret to financial independence is not living paycheque to paycheque but rather by applying some good old fashion financial common sense.

We are all familiar with the term frugal, but do we understand the meaning of frugal? Being frugal means making your “needs” the number one priority and making your “wants” secondary. Addressing your financial situation is important, ignoring it will only make it worse down the road. You need to be accountable for your finances by either developing a budget or by paying yourself first then using the remaining to pay bills and for enjoyment.

Take a long hard honest look at your finances — your budget, income, debts and expenses and figure out exactly where your money is going. If you can afford to buy a new outfit each month then you can afford to put voluntary contributions into your pension plan.

A friend of mine said being frugal means living below your means not living up to your means or even worse beyond your means. Those who are successful in reaching their financial goals are those who have created a plan from the beginning.

Decide if your goal is to be debt free, boost your retirement savings by making extra contributions into your pension plan, or live on one income and save the other in a two income household. Once you have established your financial goals, develop and implement a plan to reach these goals.

Recently, I was talking to someone who said they spent $20 every day on lunch because they couldn’t be bothered to bring lunch from home. The difference between people who are frugal and those who are not, frugal people don’t “outsource” anything they can do for themselves.

It is important to focus on your own finances and being committed to becoming financially independent. Being financially independent for most of us that means sacrificing. A quote by Warren Buffet in the Forbes 2014 magazine stated; “True wealth is not measured in possessions, but in assets.”

It is time to get honest about your spending habits and being frugal today might be a sacrifice but it will provide you with a long term tomorrow.

- Carla Seely is the Vice President of Pension and Investments at Freisenbruch-Meyer, if you would like any further details please contact cseely@fmgroup.bm or call 441 297 8686

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Comments (2)

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  1. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Do I buy a case of beer and drink at home or go tawn and pay $12 a beer!

  2. Its me again says:

    Powerful article. I want to see more from here. It’s witty and informative.

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