5 Ways to Ensure Success in the Frugal Life
As I have been mulling over my frugal life of late, I thought I would share five ways that can ensure success in the frugal life:
1. Define Your Terms:
The word "frugal" can mean many different things to each of us. My frugal life may seem spartan to some of you and yet be quite lavish to others. Success comes best in pursuing the frugal life when we have a clear cut understanding of why we are choosing to live out this lifestyle. The foundation for why Husband and I choose frugal living is because we base our life decisions on the Word of God and so seek to be good stewards of all God has blessed us with, including our finances. (And no, I do not believe the Bible teaches that all need to be pennypinchers, but I do believe it teaches us to use our financial blessings with wisdom.) On this foundation, Husband and I build our frugal life with consideration of our desire to live debt free and within our means. Our personal health and our commitment to our family also are elements taken into consideration when defining our frugal life.
2. Keep a Positive Perspective:
Frugal success comes from having the right attitude toward the process. Not everyone gets to choose all the details of living out their frugal life, but we do get to choose how we respond and our bias towards the experience. Seeing the frugal life as an adventure and an opportunity to develop character, how to skills and resourcefulness really helps to keep a proper focus.
3. Use Comparison With Others Wisely:
Husband has always said that it is the rare person who can stand alone all the time. In most any season of life, there can be great encouragement found in sharing the path with others that are like minded. Find a friend on a similar journey if possible. Going against the culture and the mainstream of society (which is what living the frugal life does) can be lonely at times. However, books, blogs and even others in your church or community can be great assets to your frugal life. I would also share a caution that comparison with others can be deadly. Everyone has different goals, abilities and motivations for the why and the how of the frugal life. We can learn from and be encouraged by another and yet still desire to or need to walk a very different frugal path. I enjoy following a blog where a young couple have made amazing financial progress by following a frugal lifestyle (and by making many wise business decisions.) More than likely I will never have their monetary reward. That does not however, give me cause for despair or discouragement. On the contrary, I rejoice with them at every new success and am grateful for their heart and financial savvy.
4. Count the Cost:
For most of us the frugal life is not an easy one. That is okay. Easy is not always the best choice. For real frugal success, you need to be able to say no to yourself. Learning how to be content with living within your means and finding ways to make ends meet can make you feel uncomfortable at times. Delayed gratification usually brings much blessing but the process of denying yourself things now for a better later can be quite an adjustment. I confess my thoughts do consider the ease of opening a can of soup for a pot when washing the plethora of pans after making the homemade variety. The washing, drying and folding of plastic bags is one more thing to add to a busy day. Saying no to an item I would love to purchase for my home or seeing an adorable outfit out of my price range for a grandbaby isn't always easy, but it is best for me to do so. If yours is the frugal life, you must be willing to learn to say no.
5. Find the Routine:
After really coming to terms with the reasons and motivations for living out your frugal life, one of the best ways to ensure success is very practical. I am most successful in my frugal life when the things I do become routine. Recently I purchased a new lamp for next to my bed. The old one could only be turned off by pulling the plug. Do you know I still find my new lamp unplugged some mornings? Pulling the plug each night before going to bed had become so routine that I still do this even though there is no longer a need. For me, attaching something new to what I already do or consciously doing something new in the same way and as close to the same time in my day, ensures that this activity will soon become my routine. Right now I know that I need to make bread baking a part of what I do at least one of the days I am home each week. It has not been happening because I have not been diligent to make this a part of my homemaking routine.
Each of us will have a different definition of what it means to live our frugal life with success, but stopping to consider what works well for us and sharing with others is a great way to encourage those seeking this path. What ensures your frugal success?