When it comes to building frugal habits, I think the biggest and most important step you can take is to adopt philosophy. Think about the things you do, and ask yourself why you do them. This is the key to so many things, and being frugal isn’t an exception.
Now, be warned, taking a long, hard look at any aspect of your life can present you with both good and bad revelations. When it comes to being frugal, once you truly embrace it, it becomes an addiction. Not spending money is an addiction? That’s jazzing it up a bit. It becomes addictive to only spend money on what you need.
Since I truly embraced being frugal, I’ve put so many things back on the shelf, removed them from my shopping cart, and deleted them from my wish list. This may sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s very satisfying when you know you have only purchased what you will need and use. Now, when I do buy something, I am extremely satisfied knowing that it was money well spent.
The things I do own, I cherish, and the value goes beyond money. Once you know what you value, and you can see through the facade of more and be happy with less. Frugal is a mindset, and isn’t really easy, but it does have a huge amount of impact on your life. In my opinion, it makes life better. Really.
For the average Canadian, housing is typically the largest line item in their monthly budget. There is a general rule of thumb that you should be spending 30% of your income on housing. Canadians are spending as much as 50%. My advice? Spend 20% or less. I also recommend spending a lot of time shopping around and weighing your options before you move.
The cost of housing in almost every major city in Canada is increasing year over year. Once you find the place for you, buy it or rent it. Yearly increases in rent and interest rates are lower than the increasing costs of the rent and mortgages themselves. The sooner you nail down a place, the better.
Once you have a spot, stay there as long as it fits your lifestyle. Avoiding cashing out only to be greeted with more expensive housing. This also helps eliminate moving costs, give you leverage when you renegotiate services, and more. Every time you move, you risk needing to swap out furniture, buy appliances, and spend money that you wouldn’t need to otherwise.
If you can live far below your means, you’ll have more money to save and more money to spend on things you want. If vault ceilings and stainless steel appliances truly make you happy, that’s okay too. For some, a quiet, comfortable place to lay your head it enough.
Are you overspending on housing? Do you have any housing tips?