There’s actually a term for what “ails” us, it’s called “Frugality Fatigue!” Really! But unfortunately, there is no pill for us to take, no elixer to wash down, the only remedy? Retiring our scissors to the drawer from clipping thousands of coupons over the years…WARNING! This remedy should be temporary.
A professor at Bentley University was quoted in a recent news story as saying, “They’re sick of being frugal, they’re sick of being told to tighten their belts. They’re sick of being told to buy environmental.” Yup, that’s me.
It seems my countless attempts at trying to buy ‘on sale’ or buy what what my family needs and not wants and the coupons, the thousands of coupons I’ve printed or cut over the years, just hasn’t made a dent in the debt and it certainly hasn’t given me the opportunity to take what I’ve saved and splurge on a tropical vacation!
So what gives?
It comes down to spending. Although we may be clipping, printing or shopping the bargain aisles, we’re still spending more than we can pay off each month.
So what now?
According to bankrate.com:
1. Don’t set goals too high.
Instead, start with a series of smaller goals. Instead of saying you are going to pay off all your debt, pay off the card with the highest interest rate first.
2. Know why you’re doing it.
Of course, we can live better if we’re not in debt. Gary Foreman, editor of The Dollar Stretcher says, “The idea behind frugality is that we can live better if we’re not in debt. If all you see is deprivation, it’s going to be hard to reach your goal.” By prioritizing what’s important to you, you can cut the things that don’t matter to you and spend money on the things that do.
3. Acknowledge the mile markers.
Celebrate when you achieve a milestone. On a recent trip to Stop and Shop I noticed my “year end” savings…more than $800! For that, I drove right over to Starbucks and bought a $3.00 coffee…(ok ok, that’s a problem, I know)
4. Have a built-in splurge.
For example, budget $100 per month to do whatever you want. You can save it for six months and buy Jimmy Choo shoes you don’t really need, but that’s far better than to fall off the wagon and charge those shoes.”
5. Make a plan for the hardest challenges.
Leah Ingram, the author of “Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less,” says the key to her success in changing her spending habits is “having the systems in place.” One of her biggest budget-busters was eating out, so she developed a system of meal planning that made it almost as easy to cook at home as to go out.