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Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth

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Chapter 5. The Magic of Thinking Small

"Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich.”

Benjamin Franklin

Frugality. Thrift. Economy. Whatever you call it, the idea is the same: using your money and resources carefully. If you don’t spend mindfully, your hard-earned dollars slip through your fingers and it’s hard to get ahead. By being frugal, you make conscious choices that’ll help you live well tomorrow and today.

As you’ll see in the following pages, you can be frugal and still wear nice clothes, dine out on occasion, and buy new things. Frugality means making the most of your money by focusing on everyday expenses (as opposed to big-ticket items, which you’ll learn more about in Chapter 9) and recognizing that small amounts matter. It’s a skill that anyone can hone, and it lays the groundwork for sound financial habits throughout your life. This chapter explains why it’s important to cut costs on the small things—and suggests strategies for doing just that.

Tip

To commit fully to changing your lifestyle and embracing frugality, you have to keep your goals in mind. (Hop back to Chapter 2 for a refresher on goals.) If you lose track of why you’re making sacrifices, frugality will become a burden and you won’t stick to your plan.

Why Frugality Matters

Thrift is nothing new. In fact, it used to be fashionable—you were admired if you watched your nickels and dimes—but that’s no longer the case. Over the past 50 years, frugality has gained something of a bad reputation.

Many people equate ...

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