It’s Frugal Friday! The time when we take a few moments to focus on tips and hints for frugal living.
We’ve mentioned before how your grocery budget is one of the most variable parts of your monthly expenses, and the part where you can have some major control over how much you spend, through using coupons and shopping strategically. But there’s another aspect of frugal living that can make a huge difference, and I thought we’d talk a little more about it today: Contentment.
It’s pretty much impossible to stick to a frugal lifestyle if you’re always wanting for more. We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded by images, advertisements, and other media telling us about everything out there that we’re missing out on–that we need these things in our lives, and that our lives will be better once we’ve bought them.
Here’s the thing though…purchases, especially impulse purchases, rarely bring happiness. When we buy into the marketing lies, we can often experience buyer’s remorse. We’re out the money, we’re no closer to our savings goals, and sometimes we’re stuck with an item that doesn’t bring us the satisfaction we hoped it would.
So…does that mean frugal people just never buy anything? Not at all. But it means that we really think through our purchases. We understand that everything we buy with our money is a trade-off. We shop carefully, looking for the best deals, and we really consider how our purchases will improve our situations. For instance, our family has a boat that we love to use in the spring, summer, and fall. We get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and it’s an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family…but the trade-off was that we didn’t take a vacation the summer we bought it. Now we have years of enjoyment with it, and the only cost for each boat outing is a picnic lunch and gas to run the boat.
At the root of the whole issue is contentment. Not that you’ll never want anything that other people have, but knowing that if you have to put off a purchase until later, or make do with something less-than-perfect, it’s helping you reach your financial goals. Contentment is realizing that, with a roof over your head, clothing and shoes on your kids, and food in your family’s bellies, you’re better off than so many others in the world, and acknowledging that blessing. Contentment also means being able to look through some of the marketing lies to see that most of the people who look like they “have it all” probably don’t, and that financial security, working toward your goals, and peace & financial honesty in your marriage are worth much more than the latest gadget.
How do you nurture contentment within yourself and your family? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments or on Facebook!
If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:
- Tracking Your Spending
- Creating a Budget
- Making Frugal Choices
- Fighting Spending Envy
- Could You Cut the Cable?
- Saving on Food Expenses
- Schedule to Save (keeping track of due dates to avoid fees & penalties)
- Staying Organized with Holiday Shopping & Rebates
- Frugal Lovin’ (Love & money, plus date night on a Shoestring Budget)
- Waste Not, Want Not (buying what you’ll use, and using what you buy)
- Frugal Fashion
- Frugal Beauty
- Frugal Cooking tip: Prep Once, Eat Twice!
- Budget Check-Up
- Plan ahead for Christmas
- Creating an Emergency Fund
- Getting by on a Single Income
- Reducing Fixed Expenses
- Free Printable Frugal Living Resources (meal planners, expense trackers, and more!)
- Saving on Gasoline
- Tips for Tax Time
- Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Frugal Living with Kids
- Frugal Fitness
- Save with Second-Hand
Megan has been frugal most of her life, but has been really honing her frugal skills as the chief home economist for her family of six, surviving and thriving on a single (teacher’s!) income. If she can do it, you can too!