A study conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in 2011 reveals the fact that the Americans have started spending more even if they’ve not yet fully recovered from the economic recession. In the survey, about two-thirds of people have confessed that they’re tired of keeping watch on every dollar they spend. As per the report, about 26 percent of Americans are experiencing frugal fatigue and have actually started spending more in 2011 than what they did a year ago.
My friend, Rachael, experienced similar frugal fatigue when she was trying hard to pay off her debts that she had incurred due to poor money management skills. As advised by a friend of hers, Rachael realized that she had made a big mistake of worrying over every little penny spent. Rachael’s friend, Lisa, offered certain tips on how to make frugality fun. Here are the tips which Rachael followed and has been successful in paying off debts and managing her finances the way she wanted.
Do not set goals which are difficult to achieve
Like many of you, Rachael also did a big mistake to set high financial goals for herself which are relatively difficult to achieve. While planning a frugal budget to pay back all your debts, set a target to repay your debts one by one. It will be easier for you to get out of debt. So, at first, you can try paying off your credit cards with the smallest balances and then target your credit cards with the highest balances. You can’t imagine how it will help you follow your budget without having a frugal fatigue.
Ask yourself why you want to plan a frugal budget
You should understand that frugal budgeting doesn’t mean deprivation; it is all about living smarter so that you can lead a life that you dream of. To do so, you need to know smarter money management skills. So, ask yourself why you want to plan and follow a frugal budget. It may be that following a frugal budget will help you lead a debt free life, when your financial condition will permit you eating out more frequently or planning a long desired exotic vacation.
Figure out how to motivate yourself
You need to motivate yourself to overcome frugal fatigue and to enjoy living a frugal life. One of the best ways to do so is to make an accomplishment list so that you can reward yourself with what can motivate you the best. So, make a list of what you would like to spend on once you have the money, and reward yourself once you achieve a goal. For example, if you’ve $70,000 to pay off, you can reward yourself after you pay back $10,000, $20,000 and so on. Include a long-desired purchase in your list which you’d buy once you’re out of debt completely. It’ll give you the extra motivation to do frugal budgeting for the time being.
You can also find a friend leading a frugal lifestyle and share your goals and the problems both of you are facing. In this way, you can motivate each other to lead a frugal lifestyle and achieve your financial goals.
Engage yourself in activities you enjoy
Rachael was fond of reading books and she used to buy story books a lot. So, she started visiting a library in her area to read new books without having to buy them. If you like watching movies, you can rent videos from libraries. You can also spend quality time with your family or your friends in a park. Being outside also has a positive effect on your mood and will help you overcome your frugal fatigue. You can also find out cheaper versions of activities you enjoy. If you like dining out, you can go out for lunch as it is comparatively cheaper than going out for dinner.
Make the process of saving enjoyable
Do you think the process of saving and fun cannot go hand in hand? You’ll be surprised to know that the process of saving can be enjoyable, too. One of the best ways to make the process of saving fun is to create a competition between you and your spouse. For example, both of you can decide to save at least 10% of your individual monthly income and the person who saves more gets a reward in the form of a few dollars. He/she can spend the extra dollars the way he/she wants. You can also involve your kids in the competition. Ask them to save a certain amount from their pocket money and offer a perk such as, an extra dollar when they can save at least 2% from their allowance. If you enjoy cooking, you can try preparing new dishes every night. You can also switch cooking nights with your husband/wife. In this way, you can save significant amount of money as well as try out new dishes every night.
If you are experiencing frugal fatigue, you can follow these strategies to overcome it and follow your budget to manage your finances well. While planning frugal budgeting, it is advisable you assess it every month and make changes, if required. This will help you plan suitable budget by following which you can manage your money in a better way and attain your financial goals within the desired time period.
This article was written by Sylvia, she writes content mostly for financial communities and on daily basis, she performs research on the US market and covers debt, debt relief, saving, investing, budgeting, being frugal and credit cards.
[Kevin] This actually reminds me of the reason why many diets fail — they’re simply not fun. People start out wanting to do the right thing, but after a period of time, it can be very hard to rigidly stick to a diet. A holistic approach of moderate changes to diet, sleeping patterns, and exercise can be a lot more sustainable and lead to a healthier life. I think the same thing can apply to finances as well — frugality needs to be balanced with our other needs so that it is sustainable and fun. This doesn’t mean that we should be irresponsible, but rather, there is a different way we can approach it. Some ideas, like preparing a different dish to eat each day, can really enrich your life with a lot of new experiences while saving you money at the same time!
What do you guys think? Do you think sometimes shock therapy is what is needed? Or is there value to making more moderate changes while making them in more areas?