The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often misnamed the Mormon Church by the media) has long been known for teaching the message of living frugally. The term “provident living” has also been used. What it means is something I think everyone can benefit from due to it being applied to everyday life.
In the world today, there are a lot of things that would be nice to have. It seems the marketplace is filled more and more with entertainment, recreation, and relaxation. While we certainly need doses of these things to lead a healthy life, sometimes the pursuit of them by not living frugally puts our lives in a tight spot financially. For instance, there’s nothing at all wrong with owning a boat. They’re great fun and can be a part of many happy family memories. It’s when obtaining the boat puts the family into financial trouble that it can be an issue.
Living frugally includes some other useful steps to take in protecting and providing for our family.
1. First off, make sure we have the necessities of life covered: food, clothing, rent/mortgage payment, utilities, etc. These are what we need to live comfortably and should be the priorities in a budget.
2. Store extra food, some cash, or other possible needs in case of emergency. This will vary a little due to location and family needs. Being prepared for bad situations is always a good idea. There doesn’t even need to be a natural disaster for this preparation to be useful. If the main provider in the house loses his job, having extra food and money to get by on until the next job begins is a huge stress reducer in an already stressful situation.
3. Look at what recreational items you like—whether you include cable and internet, or motorcycles and a tropical cruise on that list is an individual thing—but setting aside space in the budget for recreational expense is wise, as well as the understanding that in a pinch they can be dropped from the budget, or in the case of the motorcycles, sold for money. It is also important to remember that individuals and families can have a lot of fun without spending a great deal of money.
4. Avoiding unnecessary debt is the biggest thing. There are a few things that we simply must go into debt for, like a home or education. Even emergency debt such as medical bills is part of living in today’s society that just can’t be avoided at all times. However, we can avoid credit card debt with discipline. Living within one’s means will truly bring peace of mind and happiness.
Living frugally, then, means living a financially responsible life, or living according to our income. It also means being prepared as much as we can for the trials of life, and taking the time to thank Heavenly Father for the many blessings he gives us daily.