After an entire year’s worth of frugality tactics, it all comes down to this.
Whenever you’re trying to change something in your life, you’re going to make it very, very hard to sustain if you hate what it takes to make that change a reality.
If you hate exercising and hate the thought of even trying healthier foods, it’s going to be incredibly hard to lose weight.
If you hate the act of reading, it’s going to be incredibly hard to read the great books of literature.
Similarly, if you hate making frugal choices, it’s going to be really hard to find ways to consistently save money.
Here’s the thing: frugality, like all of these other things, is made up of easy things and hard things, but the easy things and hard things vary from person to person and from situation to situation. The things you like doing are different than that of your friends, after all.
The best way to make frugality a big part of your life is to stick to the parts of it that are fun to you. Dig into cooking or into frugal travel planning or into more sensible grocery shopping.
View frugality as a challenge and look for ways to improve your score (the money you’re saving). Compete with yourself, but compete against your friends, too.
When you look at how much you’ve saved, feel good about that total. Know that you’ve chosen to not waste that money on silly stuff. Turn it all into cash, stroll into your bank, slap it down on the table, and say “I want my car title, please.”
Frugality isn’t about suffering and doing without. It’s about feeling good and having fun because you’re succeeding in the areas of your life that you really want to succeed at while cutting back in the areas that you don’t really care about.
For me, every step in that path is fun. It’s all about finding new things in life that don’t take away from the other things I value. It’s about focusing on friends and community. It’s about learning how to do new things and feeling great about the skill set that I’m building.
Frugality is fun.
This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.