I’m a big fan of consuming less, but it can easily go overboard.
If you’re trying to save every penny you possible you can, you’re probably heading in the wrong direction.
Being frugal is cool, but the way you feel is more important. What you focus on, you attract.
If you focus on not having enough money and having to cut corners in every aspect of your life, you’re focusing on lack.
However, flip your perspective and instead give yourself leeway and you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel.
If you “can’t afford” something, it’s your decision whether you focus on the negative or the positive.
3 Signs That You’ve Taken It Too Far
There are many warning signs along the road from being a conscious spender to a cheap-skate. Here are just three that I run into on a regular basis:
1. Penny Squeezing. Whenever I’m in the store and I start comparing two packs of rice to each other, trying to save 20 cents, I stop. That’s when I know I’m taking this too far. Being wise about what you buy is one thing, but be aware of your mind, it’s easy to let it slide into absurdity.
2. Neglecting What You Want. For me, being frugal is not about starving yourself from pleasure. It’s about being aware of your decisions and what consequences they have. If I feel like a new computer is something I want and could use, then I have no problem spending extra money on getting a high-quality one that lasts for years.
3. Eliminating Fun. Again, trying to save money everywhere won’t work if you never let yourself have fun. It’s okay to go for a dinner outside, see a movie or even take a trip. There are no rules. You determine how you want to live your life.
5 Ways to Be Frugal and Feel Abundant
It’s possible to be frugal and feel great. I’m happier now than a few years ago when I had a lot more money lying around.
I’ve known people with five to ten times the amount of money that I have and they aren’t any happier. There came a point when I realized that money doesn’t have a big impact on your happiness once you reach a certain level.
I’m not saying I will be living like this for the rest of my life, but for now I’m loving it, as it frees my mind and allows me to do what I love.
1. Gratitude. The best attitude is a feeling of gratitude. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you have. There are no limits for what you can be grateful for. When I’m practicing gratefulness, I’m sometimes thankful for everything that I can come up with. For example. I’m thankful for:
- Having food
- A place to stay
- A great girlfriend
- A cool dog
- Spoons, forks and knives to eat with
- Running water
- Soft pillows
- A loving family
- My awesome sense of humor
The list goes on and on. It’s easy to take the luxuries we have for granted. Reminding myself that it’s a privilege to have a place to live, have running water and food on the table shifts my perspective completely.
2. Rewards. Whenever I feel like I’ve been overly frugal for a long period of time, I tend to reward myself in some way. I may go to the movies, make a feast with Ingela or whatever we feel like doing. My point is that you shouldn’t be afraid of rewarding yourself. We’re on this planet to enjoy ourselves, remember that. But also remember that you’re living frugally to live the way you want to live, so keep the balance and reward yourself without going overboard.
3. Focus. Where your focus goes, energy flows. Like I said above, if you’re constantly focusing on the negative, you’ll get more of it. Being positive is not about being ignorant. I see no reason to feel bad when you can feel good. If you’re looking at a new laptop and focusing on how bad it feels not to be able to buy it, that’s your decision. But why not focus your attention on your choice of not buying it right now, because it allows you to live the life you want. You can always save up for the laptop, if you really want it.
4. Prioritization. Being frugal is not about being cheap, it’s about having your priorities in order. Instead of owning a car, a house and a TV, you could save up for a trip, a move or just change the groove of your life. Ever since I’ve started working for myself, people have been asking me how I do it. When I tell them lots of hard work, they usually say they don’t have the time. No time to break free, but enough time to party, watch TV and complain? It’s all about priorities.
5. Purpose. I know this is a repetition of some of the points above, but it’s important enough to repeat. When you have a purpose for being frugal, you’ll stick with it and feel good. Whenever I think about buying something new and unnecessary, I think about my purpose. Why am I living the way I am? Do I want to buy a bunch of stuff or do I want to live the life I want? When you think like that, those small urges to consume become insignificant.
The bottom line is that being frugal doesn’t have to be boring, depriving and depressing. It all comes down to what you choose to focus on. In the end, it is your decision how you want to feel.