Thursday, September 11, 2008

Using Frugality To Reduce Stress

As frugality has become a way of life for our family, and not just a means to an end, I've noticed some surprising side-effects. Primarily, I've noticed that our normal stresses over all things financial have greatly decreased. Maybe it is our current financial position (based on where we were a few years ago), or maybe it's just a shift in our perspective with a healthy dose of good, strong faith, but we definitely don't stress about money and buying "stuff" the way we used to.

If our frugality has taught us anything, it is that things we once believed necessities are really not that important. We've also learned that creativity, common sense, and a mind always looking to the greater purpose make our lifestyle entirely and eternally rich.

So do we still have stress over finances at times? Absolutely, but to much less of a degree than we once did. And here's why.

  1. A good sales price does not equal a need to purchase at that specific moment. We've learned most things are really not that important and we can find ways to do without or make creative substitutions. We also know that most sales are cyclical and not just a one shot only deal.
  2. A special occasion calls for a celebration, not the customary overspending on gifts and extravagant meals. There are many ways to mark a special occasion that can be done for free or very close to free. For our family, we've embraced a habit of celebrating special occasions by being together, eating a nicer-than-average home-cooked meal, and slightly altering our daily schedule to allow for more fun without responsibilities.
  3. The sudden surprise of some extra cash for the month does not mean it needs to be spent quickly. We have learned that planning for purchases is the best way to go. We very rarely buy anything that costs more than a few dollars on a whim. We think and pray about the best use of our money for all things. That is really a very freeing feeling. It frees us from regretting a hastily made purchase, and removes the burden of money burning a hole in our pockets.
  4. We communicate more freely and more often. Eric and I make all financial decisions together. We never have to worry about hiding a purchase from the other person. We also don't have to worry about occasionally spending a little more than a previously agreed upon amount, because we both know we have the same goal in mind at all times. We are committed to our frugality as a couple.
  5. We rarely have to face an unexpected bill, and when we do, we know we can handle it. We know where and how to trim extra expenses whenever needed. If we were hit with an unexpected financial emergency, we know how to handle it and we know we'll come out on the other side just fine.
  6. We have absolutely no desire to keep up with "The Joneses." Frugality has given us a fresh perspective of what is truly important. It is NOT the latest fashions, high-tech gadgets, or electronic toys and baby gear. We find pleasure in the simple things that don't merit a Consumer Reports rating or a picture in a magazine.
  7. By living frugally 98% of the time, we can freely splurge on occasion without feeling guilty. Who doesn't love an occasional treat? Frugal living allows us to indulge from time to time without any serious impact to our finances. We don't have to worry when we go a little above the usual that we are permanently putting ourselves in a financial hole. In fact, we can even plan for these indulgences.
For our family, we do not equate frugality with deprivation, but with freedom.

Stop by Crystal's blog for more Frugal Friday.


Sonshine 10:23 PM  

Well said! Thanks for encouragment!

Amy 10:58 PM  

Excellent post. I'm with you all the way! Frugality is so FREEING!!!

Niki 7:51 AM  

You hit the nail on the head. I love how you put it all in perspective. I need this dose of reality, especially when having a down "I need to shop" day.

Sherry 9:03 AM  

Thank you so much for sharing this! It was a blessing! I sometimes wonder why I should be so frugal. Life doesn't need to be wrapped up in things as they don't bring you happiness that God, family, and friends do.

Have a great Frugal Friday!

barefootinhighheels 9:45 AM  

This is great -- we need to do much better at controlling our spending, and this post is a nice reminder as to WHY. Thanks!

Pennie 11:52 AM  

Living frugally is something that my husband and I have to start implementing into our lives, especially since we are feeling the effects of our spending now. It's a vicious cycle to find yourself in.

Nancy 4:07 PM  

It's all in the perspective, isn't it? Well said.

thediaperdiaries 9:56 PM  

This is a phenomenal list!!

Rachel,  11:50 PM  

Amen! I agree with you 100%! Just today as I was at Target, I overheard a couple calling about their credit card balance at the store and arguing about which month they had already paid the balance for! My heart sank for them because they just don't even know the freedom that they are missing!

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