Updated on 02.22.15

Here’s Why Being Frugal Gets Easier Over Time

Little girl holding up toy

How could you say no to that face? Resisting the urge to splurge on your kids can be extremely tough when you first try to curb your spending. But being frugal gets easier and more second-nature the longer you do it. Photo: Harsha K R

Becoming frugal is a difficult change to make, especially if you’re trying to cut down on deep-rooted spending habits.

Some people are born into frugal families and grow up learning about money management, delayed gratification, and investing wisely. Other people have to learn frugality on their own, whether they became inspired by a financial expert or are simply tired of living paycheck to paycheck.

Getting Started

Whatever your reason, the point is that you’re making changes that are bound to have a positive impact on your life forever. I have always had an oddly frugal bent. I’m not sure if I was born with this tendency or if it’s something I picked up over time, but I’ve always had a knack for saving money, even as a kid when my siblings would spend theirs.

There have been many times when people close to me have given me a hard time for my frugal ways, but I don’t let it bother me. I know that the way I choose to live my life now will benefit me in the future far more than any shopping trip or impromptu dinner date.

In fact, I’ve cut back even more this year than usual, since some of my grocery spending got out of control last year. In my opinion, even the most frugal people have room for improvement.

It’s a Worthwhile Challenge

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s hard being frugal, especially now that I have children. There are many times when I want to buy them something and decide not to. Then I feel guilty about it afterward. I just have to constantly remind myself that not only will my children benefit from growing up in a home that emphasizes smart money habits, but that being frugal, no matter what stage you’re in, definitely gets easier over time.

Here are some reasons why:

1. Practice, and You’ll Get Used to It

When you decide to eat better and cut out junk food, it takes time for your body to adjust. For the first few weeks, you might still crave fast food or really amazing queso (or perhaps that’s just me). Similarly, when you decide to be more frugal, your brain will still crave a trip to the mall, a nice dinner date, or that really pretty throw pillow you spotted at Pottery Barn.

It takes time to turn off these triggers, to learn what makes you spend, and to teach your brain to find enjoyment in a different way. Just like eating better, as each month passes, frugality and reduced spending become a normal part of your daily routine.

Eventually, you won’t have to try to be frugal. One day you’ll wake up and realize that you simple are.

2. Others Will Get Used to Your Frugality

I know it shouldn’t matter what other people think, but most spending problems come as a result of trying to keep up with the Joneses. So, when you decide to stop participating in the rat race, people will have varying reactions to it — and sometimes those reactions can be negative and disappointing.

For example, maybe your best friend will be mad because you stopped going to the gym with her since you canceled your membership. Or perhaps your co-worker is annoyed that you won’t split a pizza with them at lunch anymore.

However, over time people will begin to understand that your life is different now. As each month goes by, you’ll have to explain yourself less and less. The more comfortable you become with the decision to be more frugal, the more other people will, too.

3. You’ll Inspire Others

Money is such a taboo topic, but it shouldn’t be. There are many people who want to be better about their finances, and if you’re open about your quest to become more frugal, you can easily inspire them to do the same.

I’m not saying to create an entire army of frugal followers (although that would be awesome). I’m simply pointing out that if you’re open to discussing your frugal ways, you have an opportunity to help others.

For example, a friend of mine recently said she had just paid off her final credit card. It took her three years to do it, and she told me she was initially inspired by reading some of my writing. I had no idea she was working on that goal, and this is someone I talk to all the time. She wanted to save her announcement to tell me when her goal was accomplished. The fact that I helped her made me want to keep sharing my experience with frugality.

You never know who is listening, reading, or watching, so embrace your frugal ways and don’t be afraid to tell the world about it. Remember, it gets easier over time.

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