What? Eight ways frugality will ruin your life? Odd title on a blog that follows a frugal living philosophy. However, bear with me. Here are some ways that you may feel frugality will ruin you life (and how to see the benefits).
You won’t have anything to watch on TV
One of the first things many people do when they are saving money is to cut their satellite or cable TV packages. We decided not to get rid of Virgin altogether, but we have reduced our package to the minimum.
When you do this you will hear cries of ‘There’s nothing to watch on TV!’ The kids will surely think frugality will ruin your life! We often felt there was nothing worth watching before we cut our package, to be perfectly honest. There were a lot of channels, but most of them didn’t appeal. You could easily spend half an hour flicking through before giving up and going to bed.
As well as the obvious money saving ones, the advantages of cutting down to the minimum are:
You make the most of the free channels you have. We have discovered some great programmes on the BBC, for example, and can watch them through the iPlayer.
You watch less rubbish and have more free time.
You will have to menu plan and cook
Another way frugality will ruin your life is that you will have to find time to cook. When you are tired and get back late from work, it is so tempting to buy a takeout on the way home or pop into a restaurant.
When you choose a frugal lifestyle you know you have to plan. Keep on top of what food is in your house, plan your meals for the week and write a shopping list. You can even plan for those nights when you can’t be bothered to cook by freezing leftovers as ready meals and batch cooking. Then you always have something quick for when you are tired and in need of a speedy supper.
If you plan in your lunches as well you won’t have an excuse to pop out to buy lunch at work either. It can feel like an annoying job to plan in this way, but it pays dividends with a healthier bank balance.
Writing a budget is such a faff
It really is boring to write a budget and track it. However, it gets a lot more exciting when you can see that you are sticking to your budget by following a frugal lifestyle. The faff becomes worthwhile when you have money left over at the end of the month to put towards your debts or something you are saving for.
There are loads of budget planners to help you online or you could make a simple spreadsheet to show your income and outgoings, how much you are putting in savings, and so on. I like Money Saving Expert’s Budget Brain.
You will miss shopping as a hobby
If you are a serious shopper frugality will ruin your life as you know it. No more weekend trips to the shopping centre, or evenings sitting at your computer buying stuff you really don’t need. You start by looking for a skirt and the next minute your shopping basket contains some shoes, makeup, a couple of books and a coat you suddenly realise you desperately need (even though you already own four coats).
On the plus side, this will give you more time to plan your budget and cook your own healthy, tasty and frugal dinners. How about a wardrobe declutter instead? You might find items you forgot you even owned.
You could do the odd bit of retail therapy at a boot sale or in the charity shop, but you will still need to make sure these purchases fit in your budget.
Frugality will ruin your life when you have to say no to your friends, your family and yourself
You might feel terrible when you can’t buy your kids the expensive gizmo, game or toy they see. The pain of a child screaming the shop down will certainly make you feel that frugality will ruin your life. However, the pleasure your children get from saving their birthday and pocket money to buy something they really wanted and have been patiently waiting for is likely to make the pain worthwhile.
When your friends ask you to the pub or cinema and you can’t afford to go, will it feel dreadful to ask them round to yours for a meal and a few glasses of wine instead? It’s perfectly possibly to throw a frugal dinner party.
Playing the waiting game is no fun
It might feel like the end of the world that you can’t impulse buy a new kitchen and stick in on the credit card. You may be driven mad that you can’t get new boots and have to get your current ones re-heeled instead. It will feel like pure misery that you have to tip out your makeup bag and use the 10 lipsticks already in there rather than buying another one. Or will it really?
When you live a frugal lifestyle you learn to wait instead of opting for immediate gratification. A huge plus of doing this is that you often find that you don’t really want whatever it was that you considered buying. If you still do, then you save up and feel great about a purchase with no credit card hangover.
You have to buy second hand
A shiny new car is lovely, but unless you happen to have buckets of cash this is going to involve a big loan or finance deal. Plus, new cars depreciate as you drive them off the forecourt. Buy second hand and you can put your money towards paying off your debts or your mortgage instead.
The charity shops, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are awash with furniture at a fraction of their new price. I have a post on how to find a bargain on eBay here. The same with clothes and toys. There is no shame in second hand. Call an item vintage or antique and you will pay a premium but they are actually second hand, right?
I have lost count of the number of fantastic pre-owned bargains we have found.
You have to sell your stuff
Well, you don’t have to sell things that you love and use. But how many people have cupboards and sheds full of things that are unused and gathering dust? A good declutter is good for the soul, and you may as well get some money from your old stuff if you can.
You can sell on eBay or other online sites, through your local Facebook groups, by sticking a notice in the local shop or by going to a boot sale.
Still think frugality will ruin your life?
Whether you have chosen a frugal lifestyle to pay off your debts, to get some money in your emergency fund, to put money aside for travelling or a house deposit, or just to get by and make all of your regular payments, there will be times when you feel that frugality will ruin your life.
But when you look at other people who are not living a frugal lifestyle, what you may not see is that they may regret that they never saved for a house, or they owe a fortune to the credit card companies. Maybe everything looks rosy on the surface, but one small misfortune – an illness or a job loss – could tip them over the edge. By purposefully living a frugal existence you are building financial resilience and moving towards being debt free and happy.
Frugality will ruin your life but only for 5 minutes at a time. In the long term the benefits you gain from a frugal lifestyle will save you lots of worry and keep you secure.