“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
People often ask me why I seem to enjoy frugality so much. When I tell them the real reason, they usually don’t believe me.
The real reason is that I find doing the same thing over and over again boring. So, how does that relate to frugality?
Frugality, in a big way, opened my eyes to the overabundance of options available to me. Once I broke through that barrier of thinking that free things were inherently not all that much fun, the realm of possible activities became a lot wider.
I’ll use a simple example. Let’s say I wanted to have a delicious dinner and I was in the mood for something Italian. My first reaction would have been to go to a great Italian place in the Des Moines area like Centro. I’d inherently limit myself to the handful of the same upscale Italian restaurants in the area.
Now, if I have that impulse, I’ll often think about those restaurants, but I’ll also recognize that there are a lot of lesser-known and far less expensive family-owned restaurants in the area. I’ll also keep in mind that there’s a giant mountain of food ideas that I could make at home in my own kitchen, filling our house with delicious fragrances.
When you open yourself to the idea that it’s completely okay to cut back on your spending, the realm of possibilities opens wide for you.
I might look at clothes at a nice men’s clothing store, like I used to, but I’ll also look through the racks at Goodwill. I might peruse the new cars at a dealership when I think about replacing our Pilot in several years, but I’ll also check Craigslist and used places. I might buy a day pass at a gym, but I’ll also go walk and jog all over the place near where I live.
On the other hand, when I spent much more freely, I would often find myself doing the same handful of things over and over again. We’d go out to eat at the same handful of places. We’d shop at the same handful of stores. Everything was much more routine-oriented because we simply did what we thought people who had money were doing. We did what we thought was normal.
If “normal” involves spending money and doing the same things and going to the same places over and over again, I never want to be normal. I’d far rather be frugal and face a rainbow of options before me, ranging from going for a week without buying anything to sometimes splurging on something.
Every day is something different and new. There’s never a lack of something new to experience when you don’t immediately eliminate most of your options.