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Frugal Friday: Tips for fighting off spending envy

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Frugal Friday: Tips for fighting off spending envy

Frugal Friday Spending Envy

It’s Frugal Friday!  Each week, I’ll share tips, encouragement, and practical ideas for living a frugal lifestyle.

I won’t lie.  Sometimes being frugal can be a bummer.  You see what other people have, and you want it…now.  You admire someone else’s cute outfit, gorgeous (expensive) hairstyle, and the tasty $5 cup of coffee clutched in her manicured hand, and suddenly visions of a balanced budget are replaced by an entirely different kind of green–envy.  You might not know the details of her financial situation, but you know yours, and that’s the reality you have to work with.

Here are my top five tips for helping fight off that green-eyed monster when he rears his ugly head, and help you focus on the only green that matters: financial security for yourself and your family.

  1. Remember your goals.  Are you paying off debt?  Saving for a vacation?  Think of the end goal, and weigh your choices.  Most of the time, this will allow you to refocus your attention to what really matters, and you’ll be proud of yourself for working toward your goal.
  2. Find cheaper alternatives for pampering yourself.  This is where couponing comes in.  A weekly manicure might not be in the budget, but drugstores frequently have some pretty fantastic deals on nail polish.  $5 coffees probably can’t be a daily thing, but you can brew coffee at home and there are coupons all the time for flavored creamer.  A little time and effort can help you not feel deprived.
  3. Budget for special things.  They’re special because they don’t happen every day–and trust me, you’ll appreciate them when they come!  As long as it fits into your budget, it’s a great idea to set aside a little each week/month to save up for date night, clothes shopping, or any other expense.  When it’s time to splurge, the money’s there waiting for you.  Use a coupon or wait for a deal to stretch your treat even further!
  4. Set an example.  If your kids are old enough, talk to them about how you feel, taking advantage of a “teachable moment.”  Explain that there’s something you’d really like to have, but that your family has decided to make different priorities in your spending, so you’ll have to wait, save, watch for a sale, etc.  It can be a great teaching opportunity for your kids, and you’ll reinforce your financial values to help get the whole family on board.
  5. Focus on gratitude.  Even if you’re pinching pennies, you can be grateful for the pennies that are there to pinch.  As you work toward your financial goals, it’s helpful to remember than many have less, both locally and around the world.  Working on your own budget can often allow you to find more within that budget for charitable giving too!

Frugal living can have challenges, especially if it’s a lifestyle you didn’t grow up with.  Understand that occasional discouragement can be totally normal and natural, even when you’ve been frugal for a long time!  But when you can overcome temptation and envy, you’ll know you’re making steps toward a strong future for you and your family.  Hang in there, and we can encourage one another through it!

Have any more tips or a “spending envy” story to share?  Head to the comments–we’d love to hear it!

If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:

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!

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