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Live large with less cash: a tight budget doesn't have to cramp your style.

LIVING WELL ON A LIMITED BUDGET MEANS maximizing what you get out of life for the amount of money you spend, says blogger J.D. Roth, a contributor to the book 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget (Skyhorse Publishing; $14.95). Roth, Trent Hamm, and 18 other bloggers have written an easy-to-read guidebook about saving money, making sound investments, increasing earnings, and much more. The book's money-saving techniques speak to a broad range of readers, from high school students to baby boomers.

Hamm and Roth agree that the first step toward frugality is determining what's important and then spending less on the things that don't matter as much. Adjusting your spending habits doesn't have to feel like punishment, they insist. "Think of the money you're saving and how you can spend it on something you enjoy," says Hamm.

The book offers summary advice to help readers develop a frugal lifestyle in areas such as dining, travel, shopping, green living, and education; personal finance help includes investment tips and advice for creating a sound budget.

Making frugality fun and meaningful is different for each person. "You have to find ways to use what you like to do in order to save money," says Roth. For example, he and his wife enjoy gardening, which lowers their produce bill. Roth also likes bike riding, which saves him money on gas. It is important to define frugality for yourself.

The authors also point out the need to use what you already have rather than going out and buying new things. Conversely, "if you're spending your money on something you derive real value from and it aligns with your goals, I think that is being frugal. There's an alignment of values and spending habits that needs to occur," says Roth.

During a time when many Americans are struggling, Roth concedes that cutting back isn't the only way to improve your situation. Finding ways to supplement your income is also key. "You have to find ways to increase your earning ability. That might mean taking a job that you wouldn't normally take. Go to a community college. Find ways to improve your marketability," he suggests.

The current economic climate has made frugality trendy, but Roth hopes the new money-saving practices will last. "I think it will be a danger if people go back to their old spending habits once the economy goes back to normal. It's important for them to maintain the habits they established during the recession. If they can live large on a small budget going forward, live frugally even while the economy is booming, they'll be able to save more for the future--and the next time a recession rolls around, they'll be better prepared."

Living the Frugal Life


These tips will help you get started:

* Determine what's important and then spend less on the things that don't matter as much.

* Make frugality fun. If your goal is to spend less on gas, try riding your bike to work.

* Use what you already have. Instead of buying coffee in the morning, brew your own and take it along in a travel mug.

* Find ways to supplement your income. If you have items sitting in your attic, hold a yard sate. Stash the extra cash in a rainy day fund.

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Article Details
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Author:Lea, Lauren
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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