Not too long ago I had a friend come over for dinner. This has become one of my new favorite ways to be social with friends, while at the same time not spending a lot of money by eating out.
We started talking about saving and spending, and how what I used to consider a huge sacrifice in my life, has now become my new normal, and I kind of like it!
If you look around my apartment, you will notice things that are different from a lot of my friends’s homes. First, there is the old, boxy TV that sits in the corner of my living room (which I bought used 12 years ago for $100). On top of the boxy TV is a set of rabbit ears (because I cancelled cable). The TV itself sits on top of a hand-me-down TV stand.
And the hand-me-downs don’t end there: The couch, coffee table, end tables, artwork, small chair…were all given to me from friends and co-workers. And aside from a few minimal kitchen items like a new blender, and perhaps a few other nicknacks, I haven’t bought anything new for my apartment in forever!
Flash back to a little over a year ago when I had my “financial “awakening.” At the time I knew my life had to drastically change in order to gain control over my reckless spending, and I had to figure out ways to make more money, and save more money. In no uncertain terms, it really sucked.
I sulked a good majority of the summer. I found myself saying “no” to social plans more than I said “yes,” I created a budget and nearly died of shock at what little wiggle room I had left in discretionary spending, and I begrudgingly quit my expensive but awesome gym, convinced that I would gain 100 pounds in no time!
Everything was a huge drag, and when I found out that the full time job I was all but guaranteed last July fell through, I was more depressed than ever. I felt like I was destined to live a life of sacrificing everything I loved for my bottom line.
But as I sat there with my friend, I had a huge lightbulb moment…after a year I actually realized I
liked loved being frugal! It felt like I had gained a new superpower after having to go through a grueling year of frugal basic training.
It’s sort of like exercise…if you haven’t done it for years and you just start, it really sucks. More than likely after each workout you’re tired/sore/cranky/all of the above. It takes every ounce of energy and willpower to get up the next day and do it again. And if for some reason you stop for awhile, it takes a lot of inertia to get back into the routine again.
I’ve been a regular exerciser for years. It’s the one thing I got right! 🙂 To me, not exercising almost daily is like taking someone’s anti-depression medication away. I NEED it to function and I’m seriously unhappy if my schedule is too crammed for whatever reason to fit it in. Basically, it’s always been my normal. I will find time dammit, even if it’s just a 30 minute walk.
For some, being frugal might have been a way of life for a long time. You can’t imagine having lived any other way, but for others, like me, it took a lot of work to make it a way of life…to make it my new normal, but I’m so glad I did!
Kate Moss was once quoted (and criticized) for saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” With frugality as my new normal I like to say, “nothing recklessly purchased feels as good as financial security.”
Is frugality a “normal” for you, or do you still have to work at it each day?