Be Happy. Be Frugal.

February 16, 2011
I have this printed and framed in my room- get your own at!

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Many of us turn to frugality to save money and thus, to be happy.  But perhaps being happy is the key to saving money and frugality?

I was listening to some podcasts today at BlogCastFM where the podcasters were discussing the correlation between following your passions and saving money.  David Cain, the session guest, explained that while he was working a full time job, he found he was making more money, but he was often really stressed and paying more money for the sake of convenience.  When he was following his passions, he was so enraptured in the experiences, he was making less but needed to consume less to sustain himself emotionally and physically.

I think we’ve all had instances where we work ourselves to exhaustion- and shopping can feel like a great escape.  After all, we’ve worked so hard, we need something new and shiny to reward ourselves, right?  Especially if we hate our job, it’s easier to justify buying things we haven’t given much thought to.

I’ve written before about the issue of what our time is worth– and I admit, it’s hard to imagine cutting back your work hours in order to focus on yourself, but what would you do with that free time?  If you really spent just 4 hours a week less at work, would you be able to fill your time with something you love?  Perhaps it’s helpful to think of it this way next time you’re staring down an impulse buy that you just “gotta have”- how many hours of work will this item cost and why are you really buying it?  Perhaps you’re buying it to feel better about yourself, or to zone out after a long day, or to reward yourself- but are these little things distractions from the bigger (and happier) picture?

Now of course, this is not to say that everyone has this choice-  some people have intense work schedules because they absolutely have to.  Not everyone is financially stable enough, or works in a career that allows them the flexibility to be able to cut back on their work week- but that’s not who I’m speaking to.   I’m looking at those of you who “work to play,” and then have to “work to pay it off,” -perhaps it’s time to stop the cycle?

How much do you spend on fast food because you simply “don’t have time too cook?” or are you paying other people to do things you simply “don’t have time for,” (like walking the dog, watching the kids, mowing the lawn, etc)  since you’re at your job?  Sometimes having extra help is a luxury to help us out with chores we’d rather not do- other times though, the luxuries of quick food and hired help are a distraction from a work life that robs us of our personal life.

Our jobs enable us to sustain a living- to buy food, to pay for housing, to be able to afford gifts and trinkets and perks- but what is your job holding you back from?  Are you afraid that taking a dream vacation, or even taking time off work to just veg-out and relax would “cost” too much?  But how much are you spending to sustain a life you aren’t enjoying?

Since starting FruBu, I’ve noticed my spending has decreased dramatically. Though I read way more fashion blogs, and see way more ads than I have before, but I’m buying far less.   I am often so consumed in blogging and am so satisfied and challenged by it, that the compulsion to “fill up” my life with stuff is nearly gone.   Taking a step back from the daily grind to schedule in more personal time seems like a cop-out, but honestly, I’ve never felt more in control- especially in terms of my finances.

The more time you have that is truly “yours” the less time and money you will spend on what doesn’t matter.


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