What is the first step to being frugal? Making and keeping a budget. You need to know how much money you are taking in, how much you are spending, and hopefully the first is greater than the second. Otherwise, you are living above your means, and have a negative cashflow. Now, I know that sounds like I’m talking to a child, but there are more people in this world who don’t seem to comprehend the concept. Or, they simply refuse to.
How do I live within a budget? I need help. My favorite little “secret weapon” is Mint.com. It tells me how much income I am making, how much I am spending in each category, and lets me create budgets for myself. When I first started using it, I got a little depressed by how much money I was spending on frivolous things like eating out, clothes, etc. I didn’t think about what I spending, I just spent it, as long as I had money. Now, I know where my money is allocated and how much I am saving. The best way to save money is to see where it’s all going. Same idea as counting calories. Once you actually realize how much you are spending/eating, you start to cut down.
This is one suggestion I would give to anyone and everyone for being frugal. I even set up an account for my mom. If she can use it, you can too!