Like any other lifestyle habit, it can be difficult to stay motivated when it comes to frugality. Why? Because frugality, especially the extreme frugality that I practice involves a fair amount of choosing to “do without.” I cook from scratch, (even when I crave a restaurant meal, which is frequently) I wear the same clothing over and over again and I get most of my entertainment from library books and whatever freebies I can scrape up.
From the outside, I can see how my life might appear grim. Especially when friends and family conspicuously consume and seem to be living the high life.
However . . . because I do put a lot of forethought into how I spend (and don’t spend) my money, my frugality is a conscious decision that I control.
My control. My choice.
Staying out of financial trouble gives me peace of mind that wouldn’t be possible if I were to spend like the average American. So instead of viewing my financial restraints as limiting, I choose to see them as freeing. I’m not tied down by traditional societal expectations. I have no shame about plucking things from free piles to sell or even give as gifts. (My older son’s main holiday gift last year was an art portfolio that someone had put out for free!) We’ve never been to Disneyland or a resort, and most of our vacations involve a friend’s $65/night Oregon coast beach cabin.
Crafting an enjoyable and satisfying life for my family is a challenge that I enjoy.
I don’t feel deprived, so I’m not. As long as I have food, shelter, reliable transportation, health insurance, decent thrift shops and a few extra dollars, I’m good to go. And staying motivated year after year? Easy, as my family wants for nothing and the internet overflows with tip, tricks and inspirational stories of of individuals who’ve accomplished amazing things without the benefit of a trust fund or a corporate career.
Sustained Frugality is so much more a state of mind than it is numbers on a ledger. And it’s such a great place to be.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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