The young me didn’t envision getting on the frugal living lifestyle the way I am living it now.
Like many others, I believed frugality was choosing a life of torture and deprivation. It was a foreign concept to me, even though I was living with someone who was the perfect example of frugal: my husband.
When I met my then-boyfriend, now husband, we were still attending uni. I already noticed how he loves saving money and makes do of everything he has until it’s no longer usable. Of course, I wasn’t interested in a thing or two about becoming like him because I had this belief that I could afford anything I want in the future when I get a job.
After I landed a good job in the BPO industry, I started to demonstrate how a spendthrift I was by always eating out and collecting trivial things because my friends have them.
I always told myself, “I worked hard for this money; therefore, I deserve to spend it however I want it.”
And because of that, I was living paycheck to paycheck for years.
Meanwhile, I didn’t notice how my husband’s frugality saved me a lot of times when I was in episodes of financial turmoil.
When we were still attending uni, I got hospitalized for a week because of a stomach bug. Guess who paid the hospital admission fee when I was rushed to the E.R.
Take note, he was still my boyfriend back then.
When my grandmother suddenly died due to late-stage cancer, he didn’t hesitate to give up a substantial amount of money for the funeral fees.
When the old laptop I used for my work at home had gone bonkers, he helped me acquire a new one — a gaming laptop to be specific.
You see where I’m getting at?
My husband’s frugality and “I don’t care” attitude of what others might think about the material things he owns saved us from acquiring debts as a couple.
He may not have a regular high-paying job because he’s self-employed, but he’s mindful of how he’s spending his money. He’s fully aware that the absence of a regular, steady salary for him would mean he has to save as much as he can.
Therefore, it’s not about how much you make, but how much you save.
The Shift to Frugal Living
Having realized all these things, plus a sudden job loss a few years ago, inspired me to also jumped into the frugal living bandwagon.
Sure, I was saving money, but I only saved what was left of each paycheck.
When I turned to budgeting and applied the frugal lifestyle, I was amazed by how much I could possibly save if I just cut wasteful spending.
I started using cash envelopes to manage my budget and spending. If you don’t know how the cash envelope system works, I wrote another article that details the process of this budgeting hack.
Eventually, I became obsessed with budgeting and the idea that I could save money without feeling deprived.
It changed the way I saw money. I learned to respect it the way my husband does.
I now understand frugality as the smart allocation and use of money. If frugal living equates to being cheap, then he could have goaded me into buying a basic laptop. However, my work involves a lot of graphics designing and video editing, something a basic laptop can hardly support. So the smart thing to do was to purchase a gaming laptop that can efficiently work for these heavy tasks and is convenient to bring anywhere. A gaming laptop costs an arm and a leg, but it was a necessity for my work at home. It was an investment he was willing to make.
Frugality allows you to be smart with your money not tight with it.
FOMO is a thing of the past
Before I became frugal a.k.a. weird, I had this tremendous fear of missing out. My friends were booking trips abroad, were acquiring nicer things and gadgets, and eating out at cool restaurants and bubble tea joints. Of course, I also envied that lifestyle, so I spent and spent money until I was shocked to see my savings in the bank depleted every week.
On the other hand, my husband didn’t care that the leather on his formal shoes is already worn out.
“It’s their problem if they think my shoes are an eyesore,” he always says.
I learned to not care anymore if I have to take care of my finances. I am now not concerned about what others have or what they’re doing. I also don’t care if people think I’m broke because I live like a hermit or that my Instagram feed has turned bland. In short, I stopped keeping up with the Joneses.
Today, I only buy things I need and REALLY want. I’ve eliminated the purchases that are not aligned with my goals.
The new me now asks “Do I really, really need it?”, “How long will my happiness last if I buy it?”.
Sometimes, when I shop online, I just add something to the cart and let it sit there for 2 weeks. If I don’t find the item interesting to buy anymore after two weeks, then I just saved myself some money.
We all want a stress-free, financially-secure life.
I believe being mindful of our spending habits is the means to that life.
Spending your hard-earned money should help your life become better, not put extra stress on your life.
Being frugal not only gets you ahead financially but also trains you to be disciplined and self-sufficient.
It is a journey your future self will hugely thank you for.
What are your thoughts about being frugal? Has it helped you attain your goals in life? Comment down below!