Growing up poor in the inner city, I was teased for my thrift store clothes and canvas tennis shoes, and as such, I mistakenly came to the conclusion that quality material items = financial success. My husband and I created our “successful” world, complete with a mini-mansion in the ‘burbs, new cars and nice clothes. We had created a picture in our heads of what “financial success” was, and worked hard to bring that picture to life.
The mistake we made (besides falling prey to the lie that “stuff equals success”) was that we funded our success with credit cards and a bloated mortgage. To us, though, it simply didn’t seem that there was any other way. Everyone was doing it, so it must be what everyone should do.
When we moved to the country nearly three years ago, we learned about a different way of life: a way of minimalism and frugality. Part of the reason we moved to the country was to implement a more self-sufficient lifestyle. As we worked on this via drying clothes on the line and learning how to function without electricity should the SHTF one day, something funny happened: we fell in love with and learned to embrace frugality and minimalism.
CashBlog Commandment #8: Embrace the positive side-effects of simplicity and minimalism that come with frugality. When you start out trying to improve your financial situation, there will have to be a lot of fierce intention. This frugal-intensity is necessary to break old habits. But once you’re rolling along, you’ll notice that something fills the void left by an elimination of wasteful living and spending. Your frugal-intensity will make way for the frugal-lite side of your new habits. Less clutter. More time at home with friends and family. Simple, wholesome food. Board games. Long walks. Embrace it!
We fell in love with being less dependent on “the world and everything in it”. We fell in love with having less “stuff” to maintain and care for. My mom is amazed that I manage to function without owning an electric can opener or electric mixer (our broke and we simply haven’t replaced it. Why, when our strong hands work just fine for making cookie batter? ???? ) but honestly, I love the sound the manual can opener makes when I run it around the edge of a can. And I love the sound that the fork makes on the edges of our old-fashioned ceramic mixing bowl when I whisk butter and eggs vigorously for my famous “secret” chocolate chip cookie recipe.
There’s something very 1800’s about it, and it’s incredibly peaceful and gratifying to have to figure out a way to get things done without today’s “necessary” modern conveniences. And as the days, weeks and years pass by, we love our simplistically frugal lifestyle more each day. We grow the majority of our own veggies in our garden. We still hang the clothes on the line when the weather permits. We do most of our garden-tending by hand. Our frugal-lite ways are helping us to save money and dump debt, and that’s an awesome thing. But more than that, our frugal-lite ways are bringing us joy, peace and happiness. And that, my friends, is priceless.