#5 – Be Joyful And Generous Not Miserly And Miserable
Why Do You Want To Be Thrifty?
Are you reducing spending so you can avoid debt – and avoiding debt because debt makes you miserable? Maybe you want to cut spending on some areas so that you can keep your money for the things that make you smile. Or do you just want to kick that anxious feeling that gnaws at you for the last two weeks of every month? Whatever your reasons – it’s a safe bet you are hoping that a thriftier life will be a happier one.
Saving our finances should never cost us our souls
What if the whole process turns out to be soul-destroying? Saving our finances should never cost us our souls.
Saving Money Without Selling Your Soul
Four of the five Principles Of Thrifty Living are about staying in control of your finances. This one is different. It’s about exercising some choice over how you save money so you avoid the trap of putting your finances ahead of your welbeing and your values.
Choose Joy Over Misery
Frugality has enormous potential to make us miserable – not least because focussing most of your time and attention on money is never terribly healthy. And cost-cutting that also cuts all the pleasure out of life is a waste of effort – we humans rapidly lose interest in doing things that make us miserable and stop doing them. (That’s why gym memberships when you hate going to the gym are always a doomed purchase.) If you want to make thrifty living an effortless habit you also have to find ways of making it a joy – or you will effortlessly fall into the habit of not bothering.
So find ways of saving money that also enrich your life. Grow some of your own food and enjoy a connection with the natural world. Make something you would otherwise buy and enjoy the glow of getting creative. Try a new free or cheap activity every so often and savour the variety in your life. Team up with other thrifters – in real life or online – and enjoy the company as well as the advice you get. Take time to applaud your own thriftiness – everything you do to cut your costs shows that you are resourceful, smart and determined so big yourself up for it. Hold onto your values and do thrifty in a way that still lets you do you.
Choose Generosity Over Miserliness
The thrift that does not make a man charitable sours into avarice. [M.W. Harrison]
So share what you can with other people, and take heart from the research suggesting that people who share their money feel happier than people who don’t. Don’t exploit other people to get the lowest price. Don’t exploit yourself either – by overloading yourself with budget-busting tasks or by endless self-denial. Be kind to yourself – buy yourself a little treat now and again. Don’t just set yourself savings goals – set yourself spending goals to focus on what your money is going to do for you. Find a balance between being careful with your money and being Scrooge.
Getting that balance right is the key to developing thrifty habits for the long-haul that truly make your life better.
Getting Into The Habit Of Being Joyfully And Generously Thrifty
These weekly, monthly and annual habits are the ones to get into if you want to embrace joyful generosity and avoid miserly misery.
- Buy yourself a little treat to keep your morale up
- Share Something so your own thrifty journey does not stop you from connecting with other people on theirs
- Grow Something so you get food in a way that lowers your costs while raising your pleasure
- Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity so that avoiding more expensive outings does not become boring
- Set Savings Goals to remind yourself why you are trying to cut back your spending
- Set Spending Goals so you are clear what your money will be doing for you over the next twelve months
You can read about the Five Principles Of Thrifty Living here.