Things I’ve Noticed…


Last Sunday kicked off our renewed focus on frugal living.  After months of non-starters with getting back on track, and even more time spent not trying, I felt like we were finally ready to start adulting again.  Only instead of looking at it as one of the {many} bad aspects of adulting, I’m trying to see it as a good thing.  I know frugality will give us stability and peace of mind, and the value of those two feelings cannot be overstated.

I’m an avid reader of the Frugalwoods Blog, and am now up to May 2017 in my reading of it.  One of the points Mrs. Frugalwoods makes repeatedly is that frugality is the start of a fabulously virtuous cycle.  When you spend less, you save more.  And because you are spending less, you NEED less to survive.  So it’s a double whammy of helping you achieve financial solvency — It simply doesn’t cost you as much to exist as it did, and more of what you do make can be saved.  Win-win, right?

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to keep that in mind when faced with an opportunity to spend money that would bring pleasure.  Even knowing it’s short-term pleasure and not worth sabotaging my goals for, it’s still not always easy.  Our society encourages us to buy-buy-buy and spend-spend-spend.  Save for the few frugal living writers out there, no one is going to make any money on people trying to live frugally, and so it’s not the message you get from media and pop culture.  And mostly likely it’s also not the message you get from family and friends, unless you are blessed with some frugal weirdos in your circle.

Having found myself derailed by this problem {many times} in the past, I wondered how I could buffer myself against it this time.  I decided to try finding the auxiliary benefits of changing our lifestyle, and enjoy them as extra fruits of our labor to not spend.  It’s been almost a week now, which I realize is no amount of time at all, but it has been time to notice a few things:

  • My health is getting a big win.  When we were eating restaurant and fast food 7 days a week, my health was taking a big hit.  While it is possible to eat relatively healthfully from restaurants, I wasn’t doing that.  I was eating the cliched junk, burgers and fries and tacos and what not.  And while it was tasty, it was not doing my body any favors.

    Since we’ve been cooking at home, I’m finding I’m eating better simply because the foods I cook are not as unhealthy as the ones I was getting out.  There’s plenty of room to improve the health of my diet still, but there are at least fruits and veggies involved in my meals now.  When we went shopping I made a point of choosing some healthier foods to have for snacks, and that combined with the addition of produce to my meals, is a leaps and bounds improvement from where I was a week ago.

  • We’re saving the time we usually spend sitting in traffic.  Prior to making the decision to save money, we went out almost every day.  Some days we had valid reasons for going out, but lots of days it was just an excuse to go get fast food.  Most days we spent an hour or more traveling to and fro since it was always rush hour when we were out.  Now by simply staying home, we are not only saving the money we would’ve spent at our destination, but saving us the time and frustration of wiling away our lives in heavy traffic.
  • The time extra time we’re spending at home is conducive to getting chores done.  We really, really needed to do some cleaning.  We had gotten terribly lazy and the house was a mess.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m considerably less satisfied with my home and with my life when it’s a chaotic mess.  Yesterday, rather than going out and wasting the day on something involving money, we cleaned the kitchen and dining room and got them in tip-top condition.  Now I’m happier about my home while I’m at home, and cooking is much easier as well.
  • When we do go out, it usually involves some exercise.  Our former destinations were pretty much exclusively libraries {okay on the wallet} and bookstores {bad!}, with stops for fast food and designer coffees for good measure.  Now that we are focusing on not spending money, we have noticed there is considerably less reason to go out.

    One of the main reasons we do still go out, however, is to take Ginger to the park to play.  She’s very aggressive toward other dogs {thankfully she’s only 7 lbs}, and so in order to let her play in a park, we have to find one that’s pretty deserted.  Over on the old side of town, where we lived before we moved last winter, there’s a small community park with a lovely wooded trail area.  There are typically not many other dogs around, and it’s pretty easy to keep your eye out and not run upon one unexpectedly.  So we take her across town to that park and let her romp in the woods.  {On a leash, of course.}  Not only is this great exercise for her, it’s good for us too.  The fresh air and movement makes me feel better physically and mentally.

  • Not spending money we can’t afford to spend lowers my stress level dramatically.  When I’m not buying things we don’t need and worrying about how we will pay for them, I just feel better.  This one really begs the question… why would I willingly do that to myself in the first place?  The peace of mind of spending within our means is just so much nicer.

These are only a few of the things I’ve come across in the last near-week.  I know there will be more to come, especially as we start to experience cumulative benefits of living a more frugal life.  But for now, these are some great reasons to keep making financially responsible decisions.

Happy Friday, all!

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