Frugality is a pretty common characteristic many people aim to have, but few practice it. And for good reason, it is excruciating. It is hard to be frugal in a world where it is not uncommon for people to brag about how much they spent on a consumer good or on a night out. It may be easy to judge the people who spend money unwisely, but being frugal is not all good.
I will explain why being frugal is not always good.
You Can Worry Too Much About Money
Unfortunately, when people are thinking about money they can be either anxious about money, or do not care at all. There appears to be little space in between.
Unfortunately, there is a very thin line between being frugal and worrying too much about money. Both require thinking about money. The only difference is that frugal people think strategically about money, people who worry about money tend to think less strategically. If you do not think strategically about money, you think negatively about money.
Trying to be frugal is not all good because you may end up worrying too much about money. That can be a paralyzing fear for you. After all, who wants to worry about money?
How To Kill Your Worries About Money
The ways I kill my worries about money are as follows:
- Have an ally
- See some expenses as a happy inevitability
- Learn how to invest
- Personalize your investments.
Have An Ally
My wife is a great person for anyone to have in their life, I do not know what I did to deserve her. She not only supports me in my work and my ventures, but she is easy to work with money. She also proved to be a valuable asset in negotiations to buy a car.
Not everyone has a wife nor someone they would consider a significant other. However, that does not mean that you cannot find a reliable ally. I have had conversations with friends about investing and we would try to have each other try to invest.
I have heard even crazier stories. For instance, one of my colleagues wanted to buy a car. To try to have an advantage over her car dealer she asked one of her friends to come with her so they could pretend to be a couple which could give you an edge in negotiations.
Having at least one ally in your finances can help you on your path to forge your wealth by helping you strategically think about money.
See Some Expenses As A Happy Inevitability
Life costs money. Even if you have a self-sufficient homestead with a garden to grow your own food there is at least a very likely chance you needed to spend money on materials, tools, and/or seeds. In situations where you know that what you are buying will contribute to your content, you should not waste much mental energy on that money spent.
For instance, while many people are irritated by paying for new brake pads in their car they could be content knowing they have reliable brakes in an emergency. If nothing else the squealing noise that is you brakes begging you for new brake pads will stop annoying you.
Learn How To Invest
I have thousands saved in the bank, you know how much interest those savings give me every quarter? 2 cents. And some people have even more in savings.
It is crucial to have an emergency fund and to save for large purchases. However, saving for more than a large purchase and a few months of expenses not only does not help with your finances, but could hurt your finances. Too much money in savings could lead to loss of opportunity.
You need to learn how to invest so your money can work for you, and by far more than 2 cents every quarter. I have made thousands in a quarter with investments versus the 2 cents in a quarter with a savings account. While it may appear like you need a large amount of money to invest that is simply not true. You can easily invest with only a few dozen dollars.
Personalize Your Investments
Even if you literally have no money to invest, you can always invest your time. You can find ways to make money almost anywhere including your hobbies and passions.
I have a passion for writing (said the blog writer). Recently, I have been making money freelancing and making more business relationships with others. I may even be in the black this year. All while working a full-time job as a scientist.
How long has Forge Your Wealth been out? Almost two years at the time this was published. It takes time to make money from any of your passions. However, when you care about what you do the time just washes by.
Make It Your Money
Each of the strategies I have mentioned can help you make your money yours. It will either help you keep your money, make it valuable to you, or even have it work for you.
Friends Will Hang Out With You Less
One of the daily traditions at graduate school for many of my colleagues was to go to the local food truck. Even though it is less expensive than most meals that would sink someone over $200 each month for a quarter of their food. They would also go to bars frequently.
I would skip out on easily 98% of those times. Guess when the most popular times people tend to ask others to hangout? During those times. People like setting further plans up during times like these because there is privacy.
This may sound rough, but who wants to just sit around and stream movies when everyone does that when they are alone? And all of the free ways to hangout I know involve going to a public recreation area (which may or may not have an event).
Simply put, if you will not put in the few bucks to spend 15-20 minutes with someone they are not likely to ask you to spend a few dozen or more for something else.
What To Do About These Types Of Friends
In my opinion, you should not have to buy friends. That may be why I do not have too many. (That is supposed to be a joke).
But in all seriousness, friends should not be people who feel like they need to spend money to have a good time. Some of the ways my friends and I have a good time include:
- Trips to one of the parks
- Walks through the woods
- Playing online games together
- Streaming videos
- Sharing interesting hobbies.
Any one of these could be quite a conversation starter. In fact, one of my friends writes his own music and has published a video of his first song on YouTube.
People May Start To Worry About You
Some of the people in my family and among my friends questioned if I or my wife were ok considering the fact we lived in a one-bedroom apartment and drove a car older than 15 years old.
It does not matter how mentally strong you are, you can only have a steadfast mind for so long if too many people express their worries about/for you. Eventually, their worries will become your worries.
What To Do About People Who Worry About You
If the people who care about you did not express concerns about you, they would not be people who care for you. They will always express concerns. However, you can try to assure them you are fine and that they should not be too concerned about your well-being.
Sometimes being straight-forward with the people who care about will show exactly what they should be concerned about if anything at all. Furthermore, it will show that you are being affected by their concerns, which may show them that they should slow down on their worries. However, it can be very offensive to them so go about this with caution.
You May Be Green In More Than One Way
It is hard to be careful with your money when everyone around you is not. That is how more than half of the people in the US spend more money than they make. It is hard to have a characteristic that most people do not. It is especially hard when it is so built into a system that the only way to stop the bailouts and forgiveness of debt is to let lives and even communities be completely uprooted.
People will buy more without the notion of how much it will ultimately cost, even if just in the short-term. You may feel like you deserve the same and could even have more just by being less frugal and you may even be envious. But is it really worth losing your frugality to do that, just because you are green with envy?
How To Fight Envy?
It is actually best to fight envy by looking at the negatives for the things you want (hear me out).
Consider buying a smartphone. Most people buy them through financing, usually to get the latest phones. But be honest with yourself, what are you missing out on if you get a less expensive smartphone? For instance, I own a Galaxy Amp Prime 3. It’s not the newest phone, but it certainly is not a Galaxy Core Prime (my previous phone).
Do I feel like I am missing out on one of the newest phones? Not when I hear people complain about how ineffective the virtual assistants or the face lock are. I do not know about other features and frankly do not care. When I hear about what is wrong with the newest item and the oldest I am either surprised by how similar their issues are or not surprised to know that the newest thing is disappointing in one way or a few.
Focusing on the negatives of the newest thing will show you that you are not missing out by using something inexpensive that works well. It is uncommon that a higher brand means higher quality.
Frugality is not always a good thing. It will wear you off mentally. You and the people who care about you may worry about money too much. But making sure you have allies in your financial situation can make matters easier for you.
More importantly, you must not give in to envy. While there is much you will need to sacrifice by being frugal, you should know that what you are sacrificing is not that valuable. Know that you are not missing out on much to try to maintain your frugality in a world where frugality is rare.