When Frugality Becomes Fun

When I graduated from college I lived in a filthy group house with five other roommates, because I couldn’t afford a nice, clean apartment of my own. I drove an old rusty station wagon and avoided shopping for new clothes. Over time, though this necessity to save gave way to a secret feeling of pleasure. Rather than feeling deprived of ‘things’ I once desired, I began to feel gratified that I could live without them.

As my feelings of deprivation turned to gratification I began to realize that I was continuing to live frugally despite the fact that my income no longer warranted the need. In fact, I now feel happy whenever I stop myself from spending money on unnecessary ‘things’. And in some strange monetary cycle, this sense of joy further propels my frugality. After all, as humans we are certainly more apt to repeat acts of pleasure than acts of pain.

In my mind, frugality no longer equals deprivation. Instead, I now recognize that even in my most desperate times, frugality has always been a choice. Over the years I have chosen to eat 99% of my meals at home, drive old cars, and polish old shoes. Over time saving money has become a game, and as I find pleasure in clipping coupons and spotting sales, I continue to save more and more money.

As time progresses I am beginning to realize that one cannot succeed at saving money for money’s sake. The ultimate goal is to save money on things that don’t matter, in order to spend money on things that do. In my case those desires include pursuing passions and spending time with those I love, for others it might be traveling the world or taking time off work to volunteer. Saving money in one place, in order to spend it in another, empowers me to make better decisions with my money. Realizing that I am forgoing something today, in order for something more ‘important’ tomorrow, allows me to continue to save.

3 thoughts on “When Frugality Becomes Fun”

  1. How does your spouse live with your frugality? I’m really leaning heavily towards a frugal lifestyle, but I can’t get my wife to agree to let me sell my new truck (drop 25k in debt right away), lower the thermostat, or just hang out in the warmest room of the house. Heck, we have 2 bathrooms, but we each use “our own” bathroom, and each uses its own water heater (stupid former owners)

  2. Clever Dude —
    First… I suggest making small, incremental changes, for example, change one light bulb, lower the temperature one degree a day, etc. Once you recognize that small changes are relatively painless, you’ll be able to make bigger and bigger changes in your spending habits.

    Second… Read ‘The Family CFO.’ Then ask your wife to read it. It will radically change the way you talk about money with your spouse. After reading the book, my husband and I listed our short term, mid-term, and long term financial goals. Up until that point most of our discussions about money involved day to day living. I think it became easier for my husband to save once he had specific goals in mind.

    Good luck.

  3. I have the same problem. My partner like the finer things in life whereas I am happy to go without to get ahead. I have found that spending(saving) the money as soon as it is in the account so that there is not much left is the best way. If it’s not there they can’t spend it. I have also opened up a savings account that he doesn’t know about and I put some in there each pay so far it is almost $2000.
    We have the heating argument as well. He sits around in short sleeved shirts in winter with the heater full on! I love the guy like mad but we are just on different wavelengths about money.


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