I don’t have much in the way of money or worldly possessions, I’m not beautiful, intelligent or clever, but I’m happy, and I intend to stay that way! I was born happy, I love people, I have a trusting nature, and I’d like everyone else to be happy too. -Anne Frank
Somewhere deep inside we all know that money can not buy our happiness — yet our actions and lifestyles often communicate a very different story. We imagine, dream, and pursue a happier life for ourselves and our family…often to the neglect of everything that is truly important. “If only we had a bit more money”, we reason quietly.
You see, society has conditioned us to desire wealth — to consume. We’ve been trained to want the newest techno gadget or clothing style that the magazines and TV commercials tells us to want; we want to earn more money because then we’ll have the good life…or so they say.
But none of that stuff will bring us happiness or contentment. I’ve learned that no matter how big our income, no matter how much we have in the bank account, no matter how nice our house, our neighborhood, our cars or toys, absolutely none of it will make us happier…”more” will always be knocking at the door. And the saddest thing is, it could take many of us years and years of pursuing wealth and luxury living before we realize any of this.
Research shows that once an individuals basic needs are met (enough) happiness and creativity flow — any more or any less leads to discontent.
In order to embrace frugal living we must find contentment in the way things are.
So what then will bring us happiness? Seeking those things that help us meet our basic human needs of mind, body, and soul! Beyond that…money and possessions are useless and burdensome.
Tips To Help Us Meet Our Basic Needs
Tip #1 Healthy Mind
Too much stress will kill you as it eats away your joy. If we were to seek the root cause of our stress much of it can be associated with with our efforts to succeed. Studies show that the more we have, the more stressed we become. So more money and stuff doesn’t bring us contentment…it’s actually killing us! Tips for reducing stress:
- Spend cuddle time with your loved ones. Nothing fancy…just spend time with them.
- Turn the TV off.
- Learn to enjoy the outdoors.
- Exercise daily.
- Disconnect from technology.
I’m a big proponent of positive thinking. Especially during troubling and financially difficult times, we have to remain positive (realistic, but positive). I have listened to so many of you say to me…happiness is a state of mind. Happy people feel empowered, in control of their lives, and have an optimistic outlook on life; irregardless of the size of their bank account.
Engage Your Creativity
What is that saying about idle hands? Same applies to the mind. When our minds are idle and disengaged we begin to seek fulfillment in external things (stuff). Frugality flows out of a creative mind. You, yes you, possess creativity and special gifts that only you have power over. Discover it!
Tip #2 Healthy Body
Get enough of it! When we are tried and run down, we tend to make impulsive decisions. This can translate into increased spending, decreased quality time with family members, friends, or co-workers, and places us suseptable to illness.
We’ve been talking a lot about this lately. But it’s worth repeating — to have the energy and vitality that is needed for frugal living, we must consume a whole foods diet. This includes:
Go ahead…raise your hands. Who committed to fitness in 2012? That’s awesome! Exercising is such an important piece to the frugal living puzzle. Not only will you improve your health (which saves you money — i.e. medical bills) but you will reduce your level of stress and in many cases exercise balances your hormones, not to mention the “high” you get from aerobic activity. I’m not suggesting that you go join a gym…in fact I’d rather you not and save your money instead. Read more here for frugal exercise ideas. Additionally, here are a few things that I have found vital to any successful fitness program:
- exercise with others
- do something you enjoy
- baby steps (no need to go couch to marathon)
Tip #3 Healthy Soul
We have an inate human need to be intimate with other human beings. Having supportive friends, a well-rooted marriage, and loving family relationships will fill us with happiness. Prioritizing the development of your relationships will nurture your soul and bring a sense of contentment.
Frugality is enoying and being thankful for what we already have. When we take time daily to express our gratitude for the people and things in our lives, peace and contentment can be ours. Gratitude will reduce our desire for more.
It doesn’t matter what your spiritual beliefs are, the truth is every human being possesses a soul. And how does this relate to frugal living you ask? Daily meditation is paramount for our spiritual health. Taking time to focus on something greater than ourselves, has the ability to lift us high above this material world — so that we can gain some proper perspective on what truly is important. As for me and my family (and I speak only for us), we believe — no, we know — that God is our provider. In all things, He is what sustains us. When we loose focus on all that He has given to us…we loose contentment. When we neglect to set aside time to daily meditate on His goodness, we place ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position. No amount of money or material possessions could ever fill the depths of my soul.
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: How has your health and happiness effected your ability to live frugally? Take charge of your mind, body, and soul today!
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.