Join me in my journey to live better for less

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Frugality isn't punishment, it's freedom

What is frugal? Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines frugal as "characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources". But exactly, what does that mean? Some people are naturally better at being thrifty than others. I'm not one of those who it comes completely natural to, so this is why I'm writing this blog. I've recognized the need to be more careful with my spending. I have a large family and I'm tired of barely making it every month. Some people are frugal out of habit, others learn to be more frugal because of their situation. There are many reasons to learn to live on less. Whether it's because you want to be a stay at home mom and need to live on one income, you've lost your job or simply because you want to start saving instead of spending - being frugal doesn't have to be painful. Join with me in my search to spend less and live better!

Living frugally isn't a form of self punishment. Yes, perhaps in the past you've been careless with spending but that doesn't mean you're taking a total "time-out" from spending because you've been bad. I think spending less, sticking to a budget and starting to save is more about freedom than punishment. Sure, it's going to require a good deal of will, determination and discipline but there isn't much in life that's worth doing that doesn't require effort and sometimes, sacrifice.

So, think about what being frugal means to you. To many, when they hear of someone being frugal they think of deprivation. Images of people living in rundown shacks, making their own clothes from old sheets and making ketchup soup with the packets they picked up from McDonald's come to mind. For some, that may be how they live but for most people, frugality means improving their quality of life through simplifying things. In today's world, everyone is so rushed and a lot of their purchases are on impulse. When something wears out or breaks, they're off to the local department store to purchase another. Sadly, there are many people who don't comparison shop, they just get what they need and are on their way.

Sure, being frugal may mean having to give up $4 dollar coffees and $600 handbags. Being frugal may mean we stop feeding a grand monthly to our gas hungry SUVs. Being frugal may also mean we look at the price on the box of garbage bags before we throw it in our cart. In the end, you'll realize being thrifty doesn't have to be extreme or painful. It's simply taking a step back and rethinking the way we spend our money, our time and our lives.

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