[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:
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.
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.
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).
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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