A colleague of mine said to me, “I couldn’t do that whole frugal thing. I’d feel like I was poor.” To me it has the opposite effect. It makes feel rich. Here’s why.
I get to live true to my values
There’s definitely a time and a place for stumping up with cash. Some jobs just need an expert so I definitely choose that option when I need to. But there are many opportunities where I can exercise self-sufficiency (like when I turned an old bookshelf destined for the tip into a much-needed media centre). Knowing that I can do things for myself like this is incredibly liberating and reassuring and allows me to honour my two biggest values – freedom and security.
It frees up money for other things
The most obvious reason for frugality is that it saves money, which means I have money to spend on other things. For example…
I tend to buy generic-brand food staples, such as flour, beans and pulses. Saving a few dollars here means I can afford items like organic food which might be considered extravagant.
Sewing and mending a lot of my own clothes allows me to spend more on things I can’t make for myself.
Opting to use secondhand day-to-day items means I have money to spend on quality items that I have in my home simply because they are beautiful.
Bear in mind that secondhand does not have to mean ugly. Used items are often beautiful in themselves because they have their own story.
I realise this is not a possibility for everyone. I know from experience that when you’re struggling to make ends meet and living day-to-day your options can be extremely limited. Fortunately for me with my son now a young man and not so dependent on me anymore, and a comfortable home, and a reasonable income, I am in a position to consider these choices.
It supports my social conscience
I am very much aware that there are many in the world who are way less fortunate than me. Being frugal frees up resources to give to those who need help.
Because I have more than enough to meet my needs and I don’t have to get a second job or anything, I have the time to volunteer as well as the funds to donate to charity. Not everyone is in a position to do this so I see it as a privilege that I am one of the lucky ones who can.
I get to spend time with animals
I love animals. They connect me with nature and its simple beauty, they help me to quiet a mind that is full of work and deadlines, they remind me to be kind and to not be so cynical, and they really don’t care about how expensive my clothes are (or aren’t)!
But they are a commitment. They take time and money, sometimes a lot of money and always a lot of time. If I didn’t economise in other areas of my life I would not be able to afford to look after these gorgeous creatures.
The frugal mindset
If I stand back and look at this list of choices I see a person who appears to be pretty well off. Being frugal plays a major part in allowing all these things to happen. So, if you’re struggling with the concept of frugality, know that it doesn’t have to be about deprivation, instead it can enable a life of abundance. It’s really about letting go of the belief that you have to have everything and making choices that support what matters to you most. The definition of abundance and prosperity is up to you.