Sunday, April 18, 2010

Being Honest with Myself About Frugal Living

I am really struggling with embracing frugality as a lifestyle.  As much as I need to pay down my debt and save money for a rainy day, I am really finding it difficult to stay motivated and consistent.  I've already cut out all non-essentials out of my budget including trips to the beauty salon, manicurist and clothing (not really a clothes shopper to tell you the truth).  I gave up being active in my sorority for a year so I could adjust to my shrinking budget and I've recently cut fast food (and the expense of it) out of my diet.  Likewise, I've taken on a side job teaching history online.  So on top of cutting things to the bare bones, I'm busy as hell and tired.

I never learned how to be frugal, pay bills on time, diligent pay down debt or save money at home.  In fact, I've been teetering on the edge of financial ruin up until the day I got my first paycheck from my side hustle this past March.  My motivation to change was brought on by furloughs and wanting to do things that brought me happiness and joy like being actively involved with my sorority and traveling.  But the road to freedom is full of twists, turns and potholes. 

I keep looking at frugal blogs and websites and reading peoples' extreme frugal living adventures and I think to myself, "Although I need to save money, I'm not ready to rinse out Ziploc bags or make homemade household cleaner or stop reading health and fashion magazines."  I'm finally at the point where I'm getting honest with myself about the changes I'm willing to make.  Letting go of my bi-weekly hair appointments was hard initially until I learned how to do my own hair.  Sometimes I have a setback when I try a new style technique but overall, my hair has grown thick and full and I have averaged spending $40 per month as opposed to my usual, $250. 

Since I'm actively trying to lose weight, buying new clothes each week isn't logical or necessary so this was a budget I could readily ZERO out.  Not eating fast food has been challenging to my psyche more than anything but I still have yet to be consistent with making my own meals because I'm still relying on frozen meals to learn portion control. This is definitely a process.   Meh!

With so many approaches to frugality, I guess I was becoming overwhelmed. For some people, it means cutting out all the extras while others think of frugality as finding creative ways to not spend money.  Even after living on the edge financially, at this point, I'm coming to realize that frugality is living with ones' means for the things you need and saving up and sacrificing for those things you want.  I'm not willing to not travel or be active with my sorority sisters but what I am willing to do is to save for these things, finding ways to cut costs on everyday, common expenses and be willing to be patient enough to delay gratification instead of allowing "emotional spending" dig me further into a whole. 

I suppose as I start to see the real tangible benefits of my "small" changes, I'll worry less and less about which approach I subscribe to and instead focus on building upon my successes.

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog while looking for others to commiserate with about my financial troubles. Keep up the good work (financially and weight wise).