I hear comments every now and again about how someone would never lead a frugal life, it would be one of unhappiness. It seems that when people think of frugal living, they think of Scrooge McDuck or living in a cold home while eating soup and bread all the time.
Frugality isn’t about sacrificing and giving up happiness to have a boat load of money. Instead it is about finding enough.
When someone asks what you would take to a deserted island, they limit it to 3 many times. I’ve always wondered why until I realized that if I were to sit down and write out everything I should take, I would end up with most of the contents of my home on the list. We want all the creature comforts we have come accustomed to and those that we dream about as well. We want those things that we tell ourselves we need and those things that the Madison Avenue tells us we want as well.
The problem with this is that we define ourselves by the things that we own. Instead of us keeping only those things that are needed, we seem to carry them around like they are another body part. Who we are shouldn’t be found in possessions, instead our wholeness should be found in what possessions we don’t need; those things that they can’t be bought, like character and respect.
Frugality is also about finding enough when you have nothing; it is about knowing who you are even if everything you wanted to take to the island were, one by one, crossed off the list; it is about looking for character and respect within you and not from the inanimate possessions that wait to be used by you.
After reading books like, The Millionaire Mind, I learned a few things about those who are content and have found ‘enough’.
- They have a purpose that is larger than their needs or wants – They have a mission to help others; they aren’t out to fulfill their own desires, because those would be a deep well that could never be filled and they bring the happiness that comes from helping others.
Their way of being frugal is to account for where their money is – they know how much they have and how much they spend and they are ready for the unexpected
They have their own ideas of ‘enough’ – They aren’t relying on what kind of car their neighbor bought or how many vacations they took. They look inside and they see that this stuff is sufficient for happiness, whether bought at a yard sale or not.
Frugality isn’t something that you attain, it is something you discover, learn and grow from, ultimately seeing that it isn’t frugality really but that it is life, and a good one at that and, it is enough.