You and your family would like to live more comfortably and more frugally. One of the keys to successful frugality is honesty. These are just a few specific examples. Be honest with yourself: in order to live frugally, you need to live within a budget.
You and your family would like to live more comfortably and more frugally. One of the keys to successful frugality is honesty. These are just a few specific examples.
Be honest with yourself
In order to live frugally, you need to live within a budget. This requires that you are honest with yourself about your spending. You can call a haircut “groceries” but you can’t feed your kids a haircut.
Be honest with your spouse
Successful frugality requires peace at home, which requires honesty between spouses. If you decide that you won’t spend more than $100 without the approval of your spouse, you have to be honest about it and hold yourself accountable just as you will hold your spouse accountable.
Be honest with your employer
Earning a living is vitally important to your lifestyle. Nothing will get an employee fired faster than a breach of trust. Whether it be petty things like not working a full shift, “borrowing” office supplies, fudging on an expense report or lying about who drained the coffee pot without putting a new one on, any of these can violate a trust that leaves your job in jeopardy. Be scrupulous.
Be honest with creditors
When you borrow money, you need to accept that obligation as a literal, moral obligation to repay the money — not just eventually, but on the agreed-upon terms. All your obligations are tracked carefully by those whom you owe and failure to pay on time and as agreed can have long-lasting and painful implications. Don’t borrow money you can’t afford to repay.
Be honest with merchants
As you go through your day making purchases of all sorts, you demand absolute integrity and honesty from the merchants. If the price tag says $19.99, you expect to pay $19.99. If the system pulls it up at $24.99, you’ll call them on the error. Let the street run both ways. If the merchant makes an error in your favor, let them know. Not because your kids are watching, or even because it’s good karma. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Be honest with your children
Kids have a difficult time understanding money and limits. They may not understand why you don’t have $10 for milkshakes on the way to the grocery store where you’ll spend $100 on groceries. Don’t lie to them. Explain honestly that as a family you have to have priorities and that in order to be able to afford important things, sometimes giving up less important things is required. Honest dialog with your kids will make them your allies in saving money.
As you seek to live frugally, to save for the future and maintain a happy home, you need to measure your progress. Be honest in the preparation of your reports. Keep track of where the money goes, how much you have in savings and what your assets are worth compared to what you owe. Keep track in an honest way so that you and your spouse can use the reports to better plan and organize for the future.
Being honest with yourself and others regarding money will contribute meaningfully to having a successful home and family. Working as a family, communicating honestly with one another about money, and treating your employer and merchants with integrity will tip the scales in your favor in the long run.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.