Living a Frugal Life Isn’t the Same as Self Deprivation

by Justin Weinger on September 7, 2011

All too often I hear people complain about how hard it is to begin living frugally because they think they are going to have to live this terrible life in the World of No, meaning any impulse they have to spend money on something they’d like automatically must be shot down with a resounding no.

I’d like to think nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, living a frugal life does require a bit of sacrifice and you are going to have to give up some of your guilty pleasures.  I’m not arguing that.  What I am saying, however, is that by choosing to live a frugal life you aren’t necessarily headed down the path of self deprivation either.  In fact, many people – myself included – feel their quality of life actually increases once they fully commit to living below their means and making a conscious effort to not get caught up in the rat race of “who can buy the most things.”

Frugal = Compromise

If you’re still having trouble with the concept I have a trick that may help.  Going forward, when you hear the word frugal and throw up in your mouth a bit, instead, use the word compromise.

Here is a great article by Meg Favreau of WiseBread, which, as its title suggests, gives you 12 Frugal Compromises you can make that allow you to avoid self deprivation while enjoying a life of living below your means:

When we talk about frugality, it can be easy to get into an “all or nothing” mentality. Our two options are to eat a big meal out or cook at home. To have a lot of stuff or pare down all of our possessions to the very basics. But the reality is that there are a lot of savings compromises that can be made — frugal things you can do that, while they may not save you as much money as other efforts, might also save you time, make you happier, or make your life easier. Here are 12 frugal compromises to consider.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the article, which, again, you should read in its entirety.

  1. Buy part of your meal already prepared
  2. Hire moving helpers
  3. Meet somewhere cheap for dinner
  4. Buy new accessories
  5. Drink cheap beer… or just one nice beverage
  6. Hire a cleaner once a month
  7. Don’t take the car… sometimes
  8. Get take out instead of delivery
  9. Rearrange the furniture and buy one new thing
  10. Have a coffee treat day
  11. Trim your own bangs
  12. Use disposables alongside reusables

Obviously, all of these things are little splurges that won’t sound like much if you’re currently living a lavish lifestyle.  That being said, take it from someone who has been practicing frugality for a few years: a lot of these little guilty pleasures can actually help to keep you on the frugal path.

So, what are your thoughts on this?  What are some frugal compromises you allow yourself to have?  Leave a comment below and, as always, please share this post using the social bookmarking buttons below and at the top of the page – especially Facebook and Twitter.

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