Mrs. Frugalwood’s last post for the Uber Frugal Month is so good that I am quoting her email below:
Congratulations! You’ve made it through an entire Uber Frugal Month! Before we conclude our time together, I want to share that frugality is not deferred spending. In other words, just because you didn’t go out to eat or buy new shoes or get a manicure this month doesn’t mean you should binge spend in February. It doesn’t work that way.
In order to reap long-term benefits (financial independence, early retirement, freedom from debt), you have to embrace this lifestyle for the long haul. The good news is that the first month is absolutely the hardest. What Mr. FW and I found is that, after our initial Uber Frugal Month, frugality became easier and it became second nature. Now, we rarely even think about it (except, of course, when I write about it ;)!).
Getting to a place of gratitude is crucial for successful frugality. Getting to a place of feeling that you have enough is key. Getting to a place where your happiness isn’t dictated by what you buy is key. Getting to a place where money isn’t important is the final step. And once you’re there, you’re free. You’re free from the temptation to overspend. You’re free from the urge to prove yourself through your appearance and your possessions. You’re free from the desire to own more and more and more. And you’re free to live a life that brings you fulfillment.
This hits the nail on the head. Doing something for a short time and succeeding isn’t a guarantee of future success. To change your spending habits means changing your lifelong approach to money. Spending less altogether, paying off bills, saving more, investing.
We have been working on our debt snowball for a year. I am pleased on our progress, although now it’s a bit slower than I would like. Until the figures for the income taxes are in front of me, there is no point at assuming anything but the worst. This helps keeps our spending in check, and it also forces us to look ahead and prioritize. We have been doing this for a year, and have seen our progress; uber-frugalling is helping to refine that progress.
Big changes require seeing the big picture and working on it. Once the changes are comfortable, the little details can begin to be worked out. As with any change, adapting can be difficult, and doing it all at once be traumatic.
If things need to change, change has to begin somewhere.
Thanks to Mrs. Frugalwoods, our finances are a bit more polished and have a richer philosophy and understanding behind them. Both of us are better at deferring gratification and understanding that immediate satisfaction isn’t as good as getting good value for our money.
The Uber Frugal Month challenge has been a challenge, and that challenge has been very, very rewarding. I am really glad to have spend a whole month, every day, working through each of the posts I received in the mail. It has been time-consuming, and forced me to set aside other things I would have liked to have been doing, but the deferment for focus is a benefit I would not have gotten had I not stuck with my choice.