Extreme Frugality Will Not Pay Off in the Long Run

While we were paying off debt, Haley and I made it a high priority to enjoy life along the way.  We experienced that enjoying life has allowed us to remain focused and not get burnt out.  We thought of it like a race.  It’s a marathon, and you’ll want to find a good pace that will get you to the finish line and not just a full on sprint that’ll tire you out quickly. 

There are definitely times when extreme measures may need to be taken to get where you want to be.

Those measures could include picking up a part time job for a short while or selling some items around the house.  This will help you attain your short term goals, but may not be healthy to sustain extreme measures for long.  You need to stop and breathe sometimes, enjoy your life, and leave enough time to be rejuvenated for the rest of your journey. Sure, Haley and I could have skipped family vacations and both picked up extra jobs and paid off all our debt in 2 years instead of 3. But to us, especially as newlyweds, having enough time to spend together and make memories was more important to us. We think it’s better to find smarter opportunities to save money, not necessarily working harder/longer.

Think about your budget you’ve set up. Are those numbers you’ve projected something that you live by, or are they more of a goal to be met?

 A few months ago we had around $20 left in our gas budget for the month.  My car had the gas light on, and it takes about $35 to fill it up, depending on gas prices. I contemplated if I should just use up the rest of the budget and put only $20 in, or fill up my tank, spend $35, but go over our budget.  I filled up my tank all the way.  That’s because our budget is just a goal that we would like to stay under for the month. I was going to have to fill it up sometime anyways, and I could be wasting more gas if I were to make an extra trip to specifically fill up my tank the next week. 

A budget is something to keep you on plan. 

Some months you will go over, and some you will be under.  If you’re consistently going over in certain areas of your budget, you may need to see if you can cut back on items or find them for cheaper, but sometimes you may just need to increase your allowance in that area, and there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s what your situation calls for.

Another area I’ve seen examples of extreme frugality is with buying food.

 It may help you in the short term to be extremely cheap with food. But based on what you’re buying, it may be low quality food items that are unhealthy. That could cause many more problems later in life that are much more expensive than just spending a little more on groceries.  I’m all about finding deals and saving where we can, but this needs to be a balancing act. Buying good and healthy groceries are important for the long run as well. 

What I want you to takeaway from this is that in order to keep focused on your long term goals, it’s important to enjoy your life a little bit now as well. We want to encourage you to stay in this for the long haul, and make financial freedom your lifestyle. But we are also into enjoying this one life we are given and making great memories as much as we can. We would love to hear of any similar examples you may have, or tips you’ve learned along the way to keep focused- comment below!

-Josh Klaas

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Posted by Josh Klaas