2: UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR ATTITUDE ABOUT FRUGAL LIVING MATTERS.
Instead of being nit-picky, be supportive of others who aren’t as far on the journey of frugality as you.
There are ways to make suggestions about saving money that are helpful, and there are other ways to make those same suggestions and sound like a jerk. It is important that we know the difference.
Years ago, I sat in a group of women and the conversation got around to saving money. Everyone was talking about all the things they’d been doing to be more thrifty; some of the women quite haughty in their exposition—turning it into a contest, one gal trying to outdo the next. After a bit, a mom in the group mentioned that she’d taken her daughter out for her birthday for ice cream.
You guys, you would have thought the mom said she’d went on a shoe shopping spree or gambled her entire paycheck away at the casino.
A good chunk of the women sitting around “politely” blasted the mom for the birthday outing saying she could have done something cheaper and did they really even need to go out? As the “polite” comments kept coming, you could see the mom shrink in her chair and totally clam up.
Finally one gal—who up until that point had remained quiet—said, “You know, ladies? We all take our own path to frugality. Every step matters. We all get there in our own time.”
When you’re seeking a more simple, frugal life, it is a journey. It takes time. You don’t wake up one morning and have all the answers. You can always learn more. And Lord knows, things always come up that put a detour right in the middle of your path.
How much more difficult is it to do something like trimming all the fat from your budget when everyone you talk to says you’re doing it wrong?
Like I mentioned earlier, when trying to live a more frugal life, you shouldn’t be comparing what you’re doing with someone else—but it sure helps to have an open-minded support system while you’re doing it.
3: LEARN TO TAKE ADVICE.
Consider this: Someone posts an article online titled How I Fed My Family on $45 a Week. How long does it take before someone reads it and immediately starts punching holes in the author’s advice?
Usually, not very long at all.
Instead of reading the article and looking for pieces of advice they can put to use in their own life, some readers go into a that would never work for me because mode:
- I have more kids.
- The cost of living is higher where I am.
- I can’t eat the foods she’s suggesting.
- I don’t have the time to do what she’s suggesting.
- It’s Tuesday, and the sky is cloudy.
Listen. And believe me when I tell you that I mean this with all the love a farm girl can stick into one sentence: not every article about frugal living or saving money or tips to cut back is for your life or about your life.
Frugality is personal. When saving money or trying to cut back, we all need to make our own decisions about where to start—and that decision is usually based on lots of other things that people outside our four walls don’t see. So take the methods that are suggested, apply what works, scrap the rest, and move on with your journey of frugal living.