Sometimes frugality is smooth sailing.
Our family is mostly on “frugal autopilot” these days.
We believe that frugal living has a lot to teach us.
We don’t even consider most expensive activities an option. Therefore, we’re not tempted by them.
We don’t shop recreationally.
We rarely eat out.
I even gave up alcohol this month in an attempt to further challenge and discipline myself.
But we all have our weaknesses, myself included.
Sometimes I get a sense of entitlement.
Sometimes I truly believe that I deserve to treat myself.
Sometimes I don’t have the right attitude about being generous with our resources.
Sometimes I give, but in a begrudging way.
Sometimes I throw my hands up and ask “What am I getting out of this?”
This was one of those days.
I did a lot of physical activity, and I felt depleted.
We had been running around all day, and I was running on empty both physically and emotionally.
I wanted to reward myself with a beer.
I really would have liked a burger too.
The last thing I wanted was what we had – tea and oatmeal.
But I really, really didn’t want to cook anything else either.
I thought about caving.
I considered asking someone to babysit and going on a last-minute burger date with Josh.
I was almost in tears, I wanted it so much.
But I didn’t do it.
I could have easily justified it to myself, and to others. Dates are important, after all.
But I didn’t want to go on a date out of my own selfishness. That’s not at all the point of dating my spouse. Shouldn’t the focus be on each other rather than gratifying myself?
I heated up some water and made tea and oatmeal.
Josh and the boys came downstairs and joined me.
You may think oatmeal is an unusual dinner, but it’s not really that unusual for us on a busy weekend. It’s filling, pretty healthy, and very, very affordable.
Do we get tired of it sometimes? Yes.
Like I said, I really wanted a burger and a beer.
But the oatmeal filled my stomach and was pretty satisfying.
I didn’t break my alcohol fast.
I didn’t spend money at a gourmet burger joint.
Most days it’s easy being frugal.
Our lifestyle is simple, economical, and strangely rewarding.
But not everyday is easy.
Some days it actually feels like a sacrifice.
And I think that’s actually important.
When we give up something easy, there’s not much room for change or growth.
When we give up something that’s a challenge, we allow ourselves to be stretched.
It’s actually the hard days that make me thankful.
Thankful that I’m not concerned about where my next meal will come from.
Thankful that most days I have a sense of joy and peace about our decision to live on less.
My suggestion to those who want to live a less wasteful, more frugal life is to have a plan for the hard days.
Because the hard days will come, and if you have a plan then you won’t have to think about how to react.
Some people suggest having a meal in the freezer, ready to go for nights like this.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m still working on the plan.
Because it wasn’t just the food that I was dealing with.
It was the strong belief that I deserved it.
It doesn’t matter how much I biked or ran in a day.
It doesn’t matter how many things I checked off my to-do list.
Everything I’ve been given is a gift.
I’m not entitled to it.
All I can do is be grateful and generous.
That’s why we live this way.
That’s what motivates me to take less and give more.
That’s what gets me through the grumpy days.