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What do you think of when you hear the phrase "frugal living?" If your idea of a frugal lifestyle is pinching every last penny, think again. While thrifty living comes with added challenges and responsibility, it also comes with important benefits.

Your mindset will largely determine your experience with frugality. If you have a negative view of saving and budgeting, you're more likely to focus on what you're losing rather than what you're gaining. But if you think of frugal living as a wholesale lifestyle and mindset change on your path to success, that attitude will shape every financial decision you make.

Here's how you can adopt a frugal mindset, think positively while you save, and take the reins in your relationship with money.

Cultivate Honesty With Yourself and Others

A frugal lifestyle isn't just about guarding what's yours. It's about cultivating honesty with yourself and others, leading to frank discussions about money and more authentic relationships.

Many people aren't aware of how much they spend and save each month, much less each year. When you sit down and calculate your current debts, monthly expenses, and expenditures in each category, you'll get a much better picture of where you can cut back. The act of creating a budget alone can be enough to get you on a better track to financial wellness.

And while you might feel uncomfortable being honest about your financial choices with friends and family, you may find strengthened relationships at the end of the road. In fact, 92 percent of Americans find frugality to be an attractive quality in a partner. This is likely because paying attention to your money indicates that you have other good qualities, like loyalty, responsibility, and honesty.

Rather than frittering away your hard-earned cash on unnecessary purchases, frugal living can lead you to greater happiness in the long term as you trim away everything that's extraneous. Having a frugal mindset means you value what you have and what you've done to attain it.

Become More Value-Minded

Contrary to popular belief, frugality is meant to add value to your life, not take it away. Think of how you usually spend time with the people you love. If that involves pricey activities, like dining out at five-star restaurants, try to get creative and find things to do that don't involve so much spending. Frugal living can help you find out which relationships you truly value and how you can cultivate them authentically.

To adopt a value-oriented mindset, it's also important to remember that frugal doesn't always have to mean inexpensive. Instead, frugality is all about the long game. For example, buying a more expensive mattress that will last for years to come might be a more frugal purchase than getting the most affordable one on the market that will make your back ache within six months.

A frugal mindset will help you discover what you really care about. You might find that swapping out your daily coffee run for a cup at home doesn't bother you, while high-quality office clothing is still a priority. Prepare to adjust your outlook several times as you hone in on what really matters to you and cultivate the lifestyle you want.

Get Ahead of the Game

Frugal living is relatively rare. As credit card debt and student loan debt continue to soar, many Americans suffer from near-constant stress about money. Still, many people don't save much or at all.

But you don't have to fall into that trap. You can choose a different path: one with greater responsibility and, ultimately, greater rewards. Simply making the decision to live frugally — spending consciously, saving consistently, and investing wisely — will set you apart from many of your peers. And when you're focused on your own financial health rather than comparing yourself to others, you're more in control of your life.

Adopting a Frugal Outlook

Although the word "frugality" might conjure visions of refusing every single latte and staying at home while your friends go out, it's more about reclaiming your power over your budget.

A value-first mindset will allow you to eliminate unnecessary purchases and to eschew instant gratification in favor of your long-term financial wellness. What's more, frugality can help you discover what you can't live without⁠ — and what you never really cared about to begin with.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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