Being frugal is generally praised. Your grandparents tell you how smart it is to be frugal. Your uncle boasts about how his refrigerator is older than you are. You read that if you save $5 each day for a year, you’ll have tens of thousands extra at the time you retire.
Now, I’m really frugal so please don’t look at this post as being an attack on the lifestyle. I drive the same make/model of car I drove 10 years ago although this one is a whopping one year newer. My laptop is so old it’s embarrassing to pull open in Starbucks (though it looks on at Dunkin’). And I sometimes pretend a month is actually five or six weeks when it comes to replacing my monthly contact lenses. So again, this post is not an attack on the lifestyle.
I would say though that some of the things we do fall into the ‘too frugal’ category. Right now in my life, I’m correcting course a bit. If you’d like to as well, keep reading.
Signs You’ve Become Too Frugal
You’ve become too frugal when you let experiences pass you by just to save some money. If a group of friends is meeting downtown but you don’t want to pay for parking… you’re probably too frugal. When it comes to experiences, I almost want to suggest that money, within reason, should be no object.
You’ve also probably become too frugal when you can’t remember the last time you gave away money. You definitely should. I believe giving away money usually makes you feel better than the person you’re trying to help. Try it. I’m always looking for little opportunities to give away money.
You’ve probably become too frugal when you keep material objects even though they no longer bring you joy. Here’s a fun test. Pick something up that you own. It can be anything. Note how you felt the moment you touched the object. Think about the feeling. Did it bring joy to you? Indifference? Frustration? If it brought anything but joy, sell it, donate it or throw it away. Because if it brought anything but joy – you’re only keeping it because you don’t want to spend money for a replacement. That’s a poor way to live, don’t you think?
You’ve become too frugal when you put health behind wealth. I know what I’m about to say is cliche but it’s cliche for a reason. To be without health is to be without wealth. Health always needs to come first. So buy that new pair of running shoes if the ones you are wearing don’t give adequate support anymore, buy that organic produce, and buy that electric toothbrush… with joy!
Are you scared to invest? Many frugal people are scared to invest because they don’t like the pain of having to pay for ANYTHING – even the opportunity to increase their net worth. It’s odd. It doesn’t make mathematical sense. But for many people, just having to pay tiny fees makes them want to curl up in a ball and avoid the stock market.
Are You Too Frugal?
You’re too frugal if any of the above frugal faux pas rings a chord. What would be wise to do is for you to implement change… today! Think of the things in your life you’d honestly like to change for the better. Perhaps you want to get a better bicycle because it will bring you more joy. Maybe you want to take a trip with your boyfriend but you’ve always been hung up by the expense. Or maybe you will finally replace your old laptop…
When people on their deathbed are asked what they would do differently, they always say they wish they would have done more. We regret more what we didn’t do than what we did do.
Are there anything you would regret if you are on the deathbed?
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