Living on a budget and trying to save money isn’t always fun. Sometimes you just wish for a splurge, but you know you can’t afford one. Other times you’re just tired of always thinking about ways to spend less. What do you do when you’re tired of being frugal?
It’s not always easy. There are so many temptations to break the habit, whether it’s hearing from friends and family the fun things they’ve been doing or what they’ve been buying, or the commercials you can hardly avoid on television and online. Still, there are ways to deal with it when you’re tired of it all.
1. Allow small splurges.
What is it you miss most? Is there a way to get it more cheaply?
You may miss going out to see movies, for example. Movie ticket prices have gone up quite a bit, and don’t always fit well into a frugal budget. If you’re lucky enough to have a discount movie theater near you, however, you may be able to see movies somewhat later than others for quite a bit less. There’s a theater in our area, for example, that has $2 tickets, far more affordable that what we’d pay elsewhere.
You can also think about the little treats you enjoy and set a budget for it. If you miss chocolate, for example, you may be able to get chocolate chips and put them in the freezer. Nibbling just a couple rather than having an entire candy bar can save you money so long as you have the self control to not eat too many a day.
2. Tell people what you want if they’re looking for a present for you.
If you miss going out to eat, suggest gift cards to your favorite restaurant as a gift when you have a birthday or Christmas coming up. This may not feel as personal as some people would like, but if that’s what you want more than whatever else someone would buy you, it’s a good gift.
If there’s some other splurge you want that’s within the range of a gift from someone else, let them know when they want gift ideas for you. Sometimes it works out.
3. Look at free ways to get what you want.
It’s amazing what you can get for free sometimes. Libraries are wonderful if you miss getting new books to read, for example. Just how wonderful depends on the libraries in your area and the selection they have in the types of books you like to read. Remember that many libraries are networked to others in your area, and you may be able to order books from other locations.
Also see if there’s an active Freecycle group in your area. You can ask for things you’d like to get. I’ve seen people in my local group ask for things like exercise bikes and get them.
4. Review your financial goals.
You’re being frugal for a reason. It can help you deal with the frustration of being frugal if you remind yourself why you’re going through all that. Are you saving so that you can pay down credit cards or other debts? Think about the benefits of getting rid of those. If you’re being frugal because it’s the only way you can pay all your living expenses, think about how your situation would change if you weren’t managing your money so carefully.
5. Take joy in meeting your financial goals.
Don’t just think of being frugal as a long term goal. Think of your short term goals too. It may be to save a particular amount over a particular month or to cut a particular expense. Having goals where you can see the results is a big help in making frugality more interesting.
Make sure your goals are something you can achieve and you know how you’re going to achieve them. If they aren’t realistic, you’ll be more frustrated than happy with the process.