It gets old. All that being frugal and thrifty, the counting pennies, saving pennies. I’ve been a frugal housewife for 6 years now. We even purchased a house in the most frugal way you can imagine. We have a mortgage with all the insurance and taxes that comes to a tiny amount of $918.02. No one has a mortgage this small in this day and age and with this crazy market!
Being frugal has such big benefits and payoffs, yes. And then there comes a time that it is just tiring. There has to be some balance. I believe that if you push it too far you go into a sort of poverty consciousness that can be counter productive.
Being frugal is a behavior and habits that improve the quality of your life if done properly. It is a lifestyle to help one get out of debt quickly or to help us live on one income or a fixed income and not suffer. Being frugal is a great tool to use when we choose to work part time or not at all for a bit to pursue a dream such as going back to college or writing a novel or staying home with a new baby.
There may be a time that you have to practice frugalism to the extreme. Then there is that time after you have reached some goals, paid off the debt, graduated from college, purchased that home, and then what? Can you loosen the purse strings a bit?
We need to enjoy life and we also need to be a part of the community. And that means putting our money into the local shops and cafes, that means that we support the local businesses. We circulate our finances to share with others and increase our enjoyment of life.
Say you enjoy going to a local cafe every morning and having a coffee. Now, making your own coffee at home would save some money but you really enjoy this morning venture, you look forward to it and the baristas know you there. You see neighbors and you love the smell of the cafe. You like to sit and read a book or get on your laptop and use the free Wi-Fi. This is a very positive thing that you should NOT give up. You make sure that that morning coffee at the cafe is in your budget because it brings you pleasure and you are supporting the cafe and the jobs it creates, along with the atmosphere.
Maybe you have a lady come in once a month to clean your house deeply. It cost you $150 but she does a great job and makes the rest of the month easier for you. You really cherish her work. You work that into the budget. It is making life easier, you appreciate it, the house looks fantastic after she works her magic and you are creating work and money for another person.
Your dogs get walked once a day by a dog walker. It makes the budget tighter but the dogs are happy and you have more time for other things. You are also creating work and money for another.
I fully support spending money on those little things that bring enjoyment to you and the family, make life easier and support a local shop or a person by creating a flow of work and money outwardly. If we hoard our money it stagnates and less comes in, if we share it wisely and enjoy it, we create more of it. Just a little Universal flow.
Our story is that I became a housewife right before I had my first son. I loved it and decided to never go back to a regular job as long as my children were small. We have had some challenges along the way. One challenge presented itself when we lost a job, moved, and wound up on one income that was barely above minimum wage. I learned to master frugality fast. We didn’t suffer at all. We ate well, lived well, slept well. However, we were used to not going out, using antenna’s for TV, being entertained by stacks of library books, and drinking and eating all our food at home or brown bagging it. Once you get used to those things it’s not so hard and living frugally forces you to begin to appreciate a more simple life…and that simple life eventually becomes a source of sanity, peace, and fulfillment on a whole new level that I would need many pages to describe.
We also had goals. To pay our bills with ease and not suffer on the way to a better life, better job, and a town that would meet the families needs more completely. We also wanted to purchase our own home at some point. Dreams and goals make it easy to be frugal. I turned it into a game and hobby, as silly as that sounds, it was fun and we did reach all our goals in the end. I’m sitting here right now in my new home (new to us but 70 years old to this world) that we own.
But after you have reached the big goals or gotten out of danger and/or debt you have to lighten up and enjoy your money. Treat yourself.
We have our house, no debt, paid off cars, and Bali now has fabulous credit. I have fabulous credit. We have 3 months of savings for an emergency and an extra $2,000 for household emergencies. We pay our bills easily, continue to set some aside in savings, and I have taken to spending a little money on things we once considered frivolous. That would be movies, frozen yogurt out at the yogurt shop, new underwear (this sounds sad, I know), and I have even taken to joining that IPSY and Birchbox makeup bag that is sent monthly. It’s only $10 per month and I love all the samples and makeup I get. It’s been a long time since I’ve splurged on anything past a cheap box of hair dye at Grocery Outlet and a tube of mascara. I now have a basket of makeup, perfumes, creams, and hair do-dads. I even purchased a new and fancy bathing suit.
My biggest splurge the other day was a brand new and highly rated washer. I have suffered a hideously lazy used washer for two years that doesn’t wash our clothes, it just barely fakes rinsing them and sometimes the detergent perfumes the clothes and sometimes I have to wash them all over. I treated myself to this luxury item…and a fancy outdoor umbrella clothesline. I now save energy and water and I will have sparkling clothes. In the past, I just put up with lousy working appliances.
What is interesting is that when I started to splurge a bit and really enjoy it and feel that I should do this for my joy and simply for joy alone, I started being gifted by the Universe. My neighbor just gave me a pile of brand new clothes the other day and I have some friends that gifted us with a queen mattress set and frame that we really needed for the boy’s room/guest room.
As I begin to enjoy some abundance and quality and I continue to be wise with my money but I don’t deny myself things that will improve my life and up the joy, I’m enjoying more and more blessings. That is getting in the flow of abundance while still being frugal.
Be smart and make a budget, have a savings, get out of debt because this will give you freedom. And work some fun into that budget. Have the latte once a week at the cafe, go to the movies on matinee days once a month, and get a pedicure once a month then do your own in between. Buy quality and not quantity. Purchase things that last and from good companies. Support your local shops.