Freedom is a universal desire touching everyone, everywhere. It is most often associated with an ability to purchase, travel, and function independently. We love freedom! However, for some of us our understanding of it has led us astray as we have lived to long in a situation beyond our means — partly because the last thing we ever want is to feel deprived.
At the heart of frugality we find enjoyment in the things that we have, yet nothing has the potential to undermind this enjoyment more than the feeling of self-denial. If we see frugal living as having to deprive ourselves we are bound to fail. Think of everyone who made commitments to diet and exercise at the start of this new year…if they hate eating healthy foods and exerting themselves, they too will fail.
Overcoming the feeling of self-denial.
Putting off the sense deprivation is crucial if we are to find freedom in frugality. And here are a few tips to help us along:
- Instead of looking at frugality as a lifestyle that you were forced into, view it as a choice. This little adjustment in attitude can make all of the difference. See every opportunity to not go shopping, to turning off the cable, to cooking at home as something you can do to help you reach your financial goals. Not as something holding you back.
- Get creative and find new ways to cut back. Take the food budget for example. Just think about how much food is wasted in our homes…a lot! You don’t have to purchase all the fancy-pants, new and trendy, foodstuffs in order to find health. A diet of simple foods, water, less meat, and locally-grown seasonal produce can slash your grocery bill and allow you to move that money over to savings or debt reduction.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people! As long as you compare yourself to the “mom who has it all together”, to the “family who’s children never fight”, to the “person who always eats whatever they want and never gains a pound” you always feel deficient in some way. It is what it is…life just is what it is. Empower yourself by learning to accept who you are and your economic situation. I encourage you to view your frugality as a gift — one not all people possess.
Real self-denial is not being able to purchase things with cash. And real deprivation is the bondage of debt and dependence. It’s wanting to work less — or stay at home entirely — so that you can spend more time with your children, but instead you have to work a second job.
Cutting back on the things that are not absolutely necessary is not depriving yourself…it’s allowing you to purchase your freedom!
The purpose of this Challenge was to provide you with an all-encompassing perspective on how to live frugally and save money, which I hope has sparked your own creative ideas. At the end of it all, frugal living is about creating a healthy and functional relationship between yourself and your stuff. It’s about enjoying what you have — not about depriving yourself. It’s about embracing the freedom that comes through discipline and fulfillment.
Thank you for joining me over these past few days. It is my sincere hope that you find yourself better equiped to make this year the year of financial freedom and reduced consumerism! Thank you for your support and your readership…you are what make this great!
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: Take time to evaluate all that you have learned over the past 23 days and answer this question…”Where do I go from here?”
Download: The 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge Daily Goal Sheet
Connect With The Community: Take a few minutes and head over to the forum. Share your “Frugal Living Daily Goal“, encourage, and support one another.
Winners of the PearBudget Giveaway: Congratulations to Shaye-Ashley, Tanis, and Jennifer! You three are the winners of the PearBudget Annual Subscription Giveaway! Charlie has your information and he will be in touch with you soon!
Congratulations on this most excellent series! You’ve given me a lot to think about.
What a fabulous series! You have touched the lives of my family over the last month. As we have strived to be more frugal, we have spent more time together, spent more time with nature and spent more time with friends. We have eaten some delicious and interesting meals from the pantry, watched less television and got to know our small village better by walking rather than zooming through it in the car. We really didn’t know our village had 15th century ruins! We haven’t argued about money at all, probably because I’m not spending any. My husband is so amazed by the effort I have put into our frugal lifestyle that our relationship has felt fresh. So thank you from the very bottom of my heart. .
I jumped in halfway through (when I found you!), but you have really empowered me to really begin cooking nearly 100% from scratch and I have even become more confident in cooking without using recipes now. This is huge for me. Thank you!
Thank you for this wonderful series – I realise I’m just at the start of my journey to a simpler life, but you have provided much inspiration for the future. Thank you!
Justine @The Lone Home Ranger says
Thanks Andrea. This has been an eye-opening experience. I considered myself frugal before this challenge, and I am amazed at much more I have been able to learn in just 23 days. I’m sure this has been a lot of work for you, but I would love to do this again next January!
Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents says
Live like no one else! Woohoo!!!!!
Kristen Parnell says
I struggle with the idea that I am depriving myself when I forgo all the things I want. I am good at taking things to the extreme when it comes to being frugal. To the point where it takes all joy out of life and becomes stressful. It is helpful to remember that there is a payoff at the end of being frugal with our resources….
Debbie Ober says
Thank you so much for the 23 days of inspiration! You have given me sooooo much “food” for thought!
I have started to put into practice some of the practical ideas…but the most important ideas are in the mind.
Pondering on those! I believe that is where the battle will be won! Your words of wisdom and encouragement have been like water to a thirsty person. Thank you!
Thank you so much Andrea for this thoughtful & soul searching experience. Even though I haven’t been very good with the forums…I still learned a lot and it made me think about how I can be a better, more productive & happy person. I’ve read all your posts at least 🙂 Because of you I feel so much better about trying to be more fugal. I struggled with the thought of having to “let things go”, the self denial thought was eating away at me & causing me to feel a negative attitude towards my journey on being more frugal. I definitely did the, “Man, why can’t I be more like Andrea” comparing myself with others and wondering why I can’t be better at it. I’ve learned that it takes time and everyone’s journey is different with their own sets of conditions and obstacles. Thank you for helping me realize that. Because of this experience, I’m spending less (actually pretty proud of myself that I didn’t clothes shop at all this month, I did a clothes swap with a friend instead) on things I don’t really need. I’m also feeling better about my journey…at times I seem to fail more than succeed, but I’m not so angry at myself, please keep writing, you keep me going and have been a source of inspiration! Can’t say enough how much you’ve helped me feel better about my journey (you are now on my Pinterest board of Inspiring stories of People making a difference in our World) , And to all you readers, thanks for sharing your stories, it has helped me feel that I’m not alone in this journey.
Thank you so, so, so very much for this series! I found it via Pinterest. I pin a lot of things that I don’t read immediately so I’m not entirely sure what drew me to read this right away, but I’m certainly glad I did. Your tips are concise, doable and have inspired me to put them into action immediately. Excellent information and enjoyable writing. Amazing!