For me, frugality isn’t just about money. It’s not just about a bottom line. It’s not just about asking myself, how much did I earn this month? How much did I save? How much is in the bank?
Goals are so important to frugality, but they can also make frugality a little counter-productive. When you spend so much time setting goals and scrimping and saving, it’s easy to lose sight of the real goal — happiness and peace of mind.
Yes, frugality is about saving money. But the true bottom line is quality of life. The whole reason I want to get out of debt, save money, avoid living paycheck-to-paycheck is because I want to live better. I don’t want to worry about money. That’s why it’s so ironic when frugality occasionally leads me to do just that — worry about money.
When I worry about money now, it’s so unnecessary. It’s not because I can’t pay my bills or buy groceries. It’s because I forgot a coupon at home and paid an extra 30 cents for groceries, or a slight setback prevented us from hitting our savings goal for the month. Those are the times when I have to stand back, look at how far we’ve come, and remind myself to relax.
I continue to be mindful of my spending and save as much as I can, but I draw the line when it crosses over from mindfulness to worry. I’m frugal because I don’t want to worry about the money issues that really matter, like making ends meet or covering emergencies. If I still worry about money after all of this hard work, then what’s the point?
If you sweat the small stuff when it comes to frugality, take a step back and ask yourself why you’re clipping coupons, budgeting, saving. No matter what your overall goals, chances are your motives are the same — you want a better life. But fretting about every last penny isn’t the life I envision when I think about my best possible life.
When you’re kicking yourself for leaving a coupon at home, worrying about how long it’s going to take you reach your final goals, just take a step back, breathe, and remember the real bottom line.
Ask yourself: Is this improving my quality of life? Many of my frugal habits do: menu planning, budgeting, saving. At the end of the day, those things make me calmer and happier.
But the ones that don’t — worrying, depriving myself, sacrificing my comfort or happiness for a little bit of money — shouldn’t be a part of my lifestyle.
You’re so right on the money about taking a step back and taking a breath and looking at the bottom line. I’ve continually have had to practice this concept, reminding myself when I covet something someone else has done, such as the simple pleasure of a pedicure/manicure. I don’t feel like I’m doing without by not having such a small luxury done, but I do envy the ease at which someone drops money down for such a thing. Then I remind myself that there are many people out there who wish they could be in my shoes by the simple pleasure of going to the grocery store and not worry about what they will have to do without in order bo buy groceries or just having health insurance. Sometimes it’s really tough to keep things in perceptive while working toward a goal, but like you pointed out, look at the bottom line – how has this made my life better or easier?
Hope you had a lovely time with your folks this weekend and by the way. . . .how did the meal go? Just curious.
Take care and have a great day!
You have a point here. I myself is guilty of this post specially before when I am still on my early savings days. I always believe in the idea of delayed gratification. Delaying things today for a greater future.
But for now, since I already saved a lot and I can say with my current situation (still single, lots of savings and some investments), I just spend if I want and I do not deprive myself.
You’ve got a nice blog here by the way. I hope you can also visit mine as I believe we are blogging on the same niche. :)
Millionaire Acts’s last blog post..Power of Positive Thinking