Finding the Balance in Your Frugality

[C]an we become too frugal…too self-sufficient? Is it possible, as one reader commented, to get trapped in the “you can do it all” mentality like the generation before us did with the “you can have it all” mentality?

If only there was a simple yes or no answer.

Many of us, when we hear or read the word “frugality” we immediately think in terms of money. However, frugal living encompasses so much more. In my very first post, I laid the groundwork for Frugally Sustainable as defined in a standard dictionary.

Through this definition we see that frugality has to do not only with things that apply to saving money…because terms such as “avoidance of waste,” “meager,” “thrifty,” and “ecological balance” relate to a multitude of resources.

Experiencing a High Quality of Life

For my family and I, living “frugally sustainable” is all about balance and finding ways to revive old wisdom in order to experience freedom. All of us — no matter what the bank account says or how much money we earn — are searching for the highest quality of life possible.

For this to happen we must stop focusing solely on the money piece and learn to balance a few basic resources:

{Money}
We all need it, but not as much as we think we do! When we find ourselves (or our spouses) working in jobs that we hate — or that disregard our passions and gifts — in order to pay for material possessions that we rarely have the opportunity to enjoy…we’re out of balance.

{Time}
No matter who we are or where we live, we all experience 24 hours in a day. When we live disorganized, clutter-filled lives (effecting so many different areas of life) we waste time sifting through the crap to find what we need. Or, when we have to commute 45 minutes or an hour to work each way, just so we can live in the perfect neighborhood that we never get to enjoy ’cause we’re spending our time working, or driving there…we’re out of balance. 

{Living Space}
When our “stuff” controls us and demands that we buy or rent a larger house — with a larger payment and higher utility costs – just to store it all…we’re out of balance (and we could add wasteful to this one).

{Life Energy}
On the opposite end of the spectrum, frugal living becomes ineffective when the lifestyle consumes so much of our life energy that we loose ourselves just to save a buck. We’re missing the point and…we’re out of balance. 

Lack of Balance

Unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life are born out of imbalance. For example, when we’re frustrated and complain about not having enough time, money, space, or energy to enjoy this or that — yet we refuse to change wasteful habits — our lack of balance will continually leave us discontent and searching for more.

You see, contentment and experiencing a high quality of life have very little to do with one’s level of income, frugality, or self-sustainability. We have to find a way to be happy with the daily choices we make.

All of us:

  • have different amounts of income (money)
  • spend our time differently
  • live in different styles and sizes of homes
  • experience different levels of energy

And we all have different ideas of what a high quality of life looks like.

Each of us must find our own contentment and balance in our frugality.

How do you find balance in money, time, living space, and energy?

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Comments

  1. Very nice. I named my own blog “Balanced Style” because this is exactly what I strive for-balance in all things, especially in spirit. For me, a lot of that stems from a lack of clutter/stuff and treading lighter on the planet as well as appreciating God’s beauty all around me.

  2. I am in agreement with this thinking. When we try to live frugally we have to make choices because some frugal things are worth and some are not. That will be different for each person and each family. For us we are discovering that making things like laundry soap, toiletries, and cleaning products are worth our while. So is scratch cooking, but a couple of things are just worth buying. for example Ketchup. I have made it and we decided to buy it or mayonaise. We each have to decide and find the balance for our own family. Great Post!!!!!

  3. Thank you for this! I have found myself becoming so obsessed with the frugal lifestyle to the point that I have spent hours online researching websites, blogs, etc. in an effort to become frugal. While there is nothing wrong with researching and learning about something, I can go overboard. This post has brought it back into perspective! Thanks.

  4. I think maybe the Amish are bit too frugal for me :) The most conservative orders don’t believe in using buttons…now that seems silly to most people. I guess it works for them.

    I know that I don’t live as frugally as I could, or maybe should. I buy the occasional sandwich while I’m out on errands rather than packing something to take along. I have more chickens than we need…and they consume a lot of feed…not frugal! But I don’t want to go overboard on saving if I can’t enjoy a few non-essentials.

    However, I refuse to go out and spend all of our money on clothes, home decor, toys and a bunch of other stuff that will just end up in a garage sale or the goodwill pile in a few months. There are too many things that we need to save for, and besides…when we moved a couple of years ago I really learned a lesson as I gave away a ton of stuff that I thought I wanted when I bought it, but then didn’t have room for in the moving truck or in our new, smaller house. Moving is very eye opening!

  5. Beautiful post. In our family we ask ourselves
    “will this enrich our family life or take from it?”
    We also have a TOP 5 list of our goals and that keeps us in check. We do a lot of traveling and that is our “splurge”… we go stay with family and friends and see the area. It is important to us, but to some it is not. We save everywhere else so we can do that. If you are happy and the spin off from your life is good and helping others, how can you go wrong? :)

  6. My hubby and I decided to live a more balanced life when we coordinated our first class for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. By making the decision to live on less money and be more balanced with that, it has filtered into so many other areas of our lives including weight loss, clothing and even the lifestyle that we have adopted. We don’t ever see ourselves living in a 3600 sq ft home again or spending money mindlessly on things that end up in closets and becoming clutter that makes us feel as if we don’t have enough space. The thought process is just different and as Dave Ramsey says at the beginning of his classes–we have found “true north”–though from time to time we have to get out the compass to get us back on track! :)

  7. This post is SO necessary. People do equate frugality with money. But frugality is about using ALL of your resources wisely and keeping the focus on a quality life, however you define it.

    I mean, you can get twice as much toilet paper by separating your two-ply rolls into single ply rolls….but how many other, more important things could you do in that time. :)

    My struggle is with remembering this tip: Buying on sale…buying cheaper…and buying used is still…buying. Just because something is cheaper, doens’t mean it will improve your quality of life if it takes up time and space or creates more work.

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