Frugality is a powerful force. It has the power to create millionaires out of average income earners and the power to liberate us from a lifestyle we don’t enjoy. Being frugal has the power to create options and expose our true potentials in areas we are passionate about. These positives should be weighed against the dark side of frugality.
A good friend of mine brought this topic up last week. He mentioned that the FIRE community overly stresses frugality and savings rate, often at the expense of creating memories and enjoying life.
My initial response to this was, “No way.”
I absolutely disagreed because — in my opinion — the FIRE community is filled with some real inspiring people, doing what they love and expressing how FIRE enabled them to become more creative, express themselves, and enjoy a happier lifestyle.
As I later mulled it over, I realized something; to a degree, my friend is right.
At the surface level, there is a gap in the community that often overlooks the, “enjoy life,” aspect. If you’re anything like me, you jump at the opportunity to explain how you were able to cut your grocery bill in half, or how you reduced your cell phone bill. We become excited to talk about savings because that’s where we place our focus, especially in the initial phases of financial independence.
We love to talk about what we’ve removed from our lives but we don’t often talk about what we’ve gained in the process. There is one hitch though.
Early Retirement down the road might not make us happy right now.
There are some bloggers who hone in on this right away. You probably can think of a few right off the top of your head. I think that’s why they’re so successful, because they understand there are rules to frugality.
Break the rules and you’re in for a life of misery. Live by the rules and you’ve set yourself up for a beautiful life.
1. Build our Savings AND Build our Lives
As Buffett explains it, “Don’t save sex for old age.”
Life is a journey and part of that journey is recognizing balance. Luckily, we live in an abundant time where resources such as the internet offer us vast treasures of knowledge and entertainment.
In our 90 Day Frugality Challenge, I’m finding numerous ways in which we’re building our lives without any impact to the rate at which we’re building our savings. The difference here is that I’m equally as focused on building each element. Ignore one and, my intuition tells me, life’s journey will be difficult.
2. Don’t Forget Rule 1
That’s it. Avoiding the dark side is not so complicated after all.
Have any frugal rules yourself? Do you feel experiences can be had without the need to damage our savings?