How to Reassure Yourself that Frugal Living Make Sense

by David Ning · 10 comments

At some point, many of us will doubt whether our frugal lifestyles are really worth it. At times, we might question our ways when our friends buy expensive luxuries. Other times, it could happen when we wonder whether our budget spreadsheet is too empty. It doesn’t really matter how often we try to assure ourselves because those pep talk seldom work.  If you ever wonder whether being frugal is right for you, here’s an idea.

The Greener Grass on the Other Side


As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. It could be another job, it could be someone’s perceived wealth, and it could be the alternatives to frugal living. Most of the time, it’s hard to figure out unless we go down the other path but in the case of frugality, the solution might be to just try the alternative.

Hold on right there. Let me explain before you go out to buy everything you ever wanted.

The Mini Adventure to the Unknown

I got this idea while I was on my golf trip. Unlike my daily schedule where my wallet seldom leaves my pocket, I found myself constantly reaching and opening the sacred vault during the last few days. Golf, lunch, dinner, drinks, golf again… you get the idea. The expenses were well within the planned limits, but it certainly got me to think about spending quite a bit. It gave me a glimpse of what it was like to spend like some of my less responsible friends. Swinging by Starbucks in the morning, going out for lunch, buying the occasional gadgets and rounding up the credit card happy day by enjoying a nice dinner.

Just a taste of that kind of life was enough for me to know that it’s not for me. It was actually quite tiring to pull out the credit card and get cash all the time. (It’s one thing to reach for the credit card all the time, but it’s another thing to be in a small town trying to find the ATM when you run out of cash.)  I didn’t need to spend money to reassure myself that I’m in control. After my trip, I was even more sure that I was on the right path (of frugal living).

How You Can Try it Too

Next time when you are tired of being frugal, plan a mini spending spree. If anything, you can find out what it’s like and can even give you a break from the anxiety of not trying any alternatives. If you regularly spend money while being frugal most of the time, you may find that you won’t have the need to spend excessively.  Just set a limit and don’t go overboard.

The way I see it, this is like paying for foundations when you build a house. Sure, it’s quite expensive but having a solid footing is what keeps the house from collapsing.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy May 19, 2009 at 7:14 am

Taking a break is always a great way to refresh yourself in whatever you are doing. I should’ve thought about it for saving money too. Thanks for a useful tip this morning.

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Jeff@StretchyDollar May 19, 2009 at 8:33 am

I like it. I probably would enjoy something like this too much, but why not? Especially if we’ve saved up for it. Knowing I have a mini-spree coming up in the future helps me to prioritize better and cut back on things I don’t really need in the meantime.

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Craig May 19, 2009 at 9:14 am

I do this myself and think it is necessary for people every now and then. Whatever it is, buying a small item or two can be good for your mind. I will go to the book store and pick something out even though I know I may not get to it for another month, or get some sandwich or ice cream I don’t need but am just craving at the moment. It will satisfy your current spending needs without denting your wallet.

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Moneymonk May 19, 2009 at 10:05 am

Everything needs balance seeting aside 15% to fun- can make you feel better. Or you can pay off a debt and afterwards celebrate. Either way we all need a refresher.

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Amey May 19, 2009 at 11:22 am

I agree. You have got to treat yourself every now and then. What is the point of just saving?

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Sue | Air Conditioning May 20, 2009 at 12:44 am

Agreed one can’t always just keep on saving you need to treat yourself sometimes otherwise what are you just working your self to death and what for, you need to enjoy life too, because it is too short

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Melanie May 21, 2009 at 3:02 pm

A word of advice to those who want to try this approach: Just make sure you’re not going on weekly sprees or spending more money than you can afford. A one-time thing is fine. But if you’re pinching pennies and then blowing big bucks, you’re only kidding yourself… you aren’t frugal at all.

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Meaghan May 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

Treating yourself once in a while is a great way to keep you from feeling deprived and it also allows you to appreciate what you are buying more since you don’t do it often.

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Debt Consolidation Toronto June 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm

This is a very valuable tip. I personally like the home foundation analogy used at the end of your post. Indulgence once in a while is necessary for a person to reward themselves. However, the key is to remember the main target and avoid getting taken away by switching back to old habits.

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Tamla September 8, 2013 at 10:42 am

I remember the first time I heard the word “Frugal”. I was reading Great Expectation by Charles Dickens and how Pip went from having so little to so much and then worse off than before he came into “Great Expectations”.

He and his Friend started a Small Business, and he lived frugally and paid his bills and gained a reputation of being hardworking and trustworthy.

I wish sometimes people would live like Pip did.

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