I have written quite a bit on this blog about frugality. My general philosophy for these posts has been to find ways to live frugally without compromising the lifestyle significantly. In other words, try to adopt a frugal lifestyle without feeling deprived. But the problem seems to be that I have started to begin believing in this principle of “frugality without hardship” so much so that, I cannot convince myself to give up some things that I am used to, even if I want to! In other words, while I have been relatively successful in making sure I don’t give in to the desire to live a life of excess, I find I am extremely unsuccessful in giving up the little luxuries I am used to!
With the huge medical bills rolling in this month and possibly the next few months, I wanted to trim a little more fat out our fairly lean life style – at least temporarily. But as I look at the different expenses that we have, I find that we cannot bring ourselves to cut down on any of them. We have made sure not to fall for some of the indulgences most of our friends have given in to, but now that we have gotten used to our existing lifestyle, we have a lot of resistance against changing anything. We had a much more leaner lifestyle for a while when we got out of school and started attacking debt – but somehow we just can’t bring ourselves to go back to that.
Frugality without hardship is a luxury of those that want to live frugally out of choice and not out of need.
I remember reading a comment on some one’s blog (sorry I don’t remember whose) that all the talk about living frugally without hardship is a luxury of those that want to live frugally out of choice. For those have to live frugally out of need, whether to do it with or without hardship is not a choice. And that is so true. In some cases, it is just not possible to take the hardship out of the equation. But is the reverse also true – ie, if you are frugal out of choice, you cannot accept any hardships at all?
We have an inherent entitlement attitude that we deserve a decent life.
When you live a frugal life out of need, it is important to try and get out of that situation as soon as possible and a few sacrifices seem acceptable. The situation may be that you are in too much debt or have had a sudden job loss, etc. But somehow, when the frugality is no longer a need, we give in to the inherent entitlement attitude that we deserve a particular lifestyle and having to make sacrifices that compromise that lifestyle seem very difficult.
Short bursts of having to go through hardships can offer stretches of a life without hardships over a long time.
Now, in our particular case, it is not required to make those sacrifices just yet. We could go on having our cable television and eating out 1-2 times a week etc. But, if we don’t want our medical bills to turn into huge debt, we need to give up something some where. And without sacrifices in lifestyle, usually the savings goals fall victims. Instead of compromising our savings goals, it seems logical that short bursts of voluntary hardships now are better and could ensure that we stay hardship free for longer stretches.
If you are willing to go through hardships on choice, you are much better prepared to handle life’s ups and downs.
Moreover, if we can bring ourselves to give up some of our little indulgences voluntarily now, in the future if life throws bigger curve balls at us, we can survive them more easily. We can face whatever life has to offer without feeling like it is imposed on us and we don’t have a choice.
I understand that logically, we should be able to give up some of the little luxuries we are used to. It was not long back that we could not afford these little luxuries and got on by fine without them. Then why is it that I find it so hard to give them up now? Why do even small sacrifices feel like huge deprivations?