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Avoid Negativity and Feeling Deprived

By on February 25, 2007

A sense of deprivation, temptation, or resentment is a common experience for some frugalites during their frugal journey. These emotions can sabotage your efforts and undermine your goals. A shift in attitude can help keep you on the frugal track, or get you back onto the frugal wagon.

Frugality is about tradeoffs and more specifically, focused frugality is about choices and priorities. The key is in recognizing that when exercising frugality, you are choosing to give up something, in order to have something else. Making consistent decisions that work toward your goals versus against them, is inevitably what determines your successful achievement of your goals.

There are some strategies to combat negative emotions, such as practicing delayed consumption, utilizing motivational challenges, reviewing your goals, and rewarding yourself.

Intentional Procrastination

Delaying/deferring consumption aka postponing spending (read: saving and avoiding impulse spending) is an ideal exercise to stay on track. This is a valuable strategy for an entire family to practice. This anticipated self-control honors your internal economics and personal goals. It narrows the probability of experiencing buyer’s remorse as well, thus some seeds of discontent aren’t sown.

You can ask yourself the following questions before making a purchase:

*Can I afford this?
*Am I informed on this item?
*How will I pay for this?
*Do I need this?
*Can I make this?
*Is there a lower cost alternative?
*Can I borrow this?
*Does this purchase have other related costs involved?
*How long did I or do I have to work to pay for this?
*Can I make do without this?
*Do I have room for this?
*Will this purchase help me toward my goals?
*Have I comparison shopped?
*How do my positive decisions benefit me?
*If I waited to purchase this item, would it be less expensive?
*Is there a better place for my money to go?
*Are there negative consequences?
*Am I monitoring my reaction to advertising?

Slow, Steady Fire

Inspiration and support can help keep you motivated. Celebrate your frugal victories and small successes. You should have methods to remind yourself why YOU are practicing frugality. Planning treats for yourself can help you with your frugal goals. Rewarding yourself and giving yourself an allowance or “mad money” will prevent you from overspending or feeling resentful, deprived, or blue about your circumstances.

You can setup a mini incentive plan. This can give you something to look forward to on a consistent basis, so you can maintain the same compelling determination toward your frugal goals, as you did when you first set your goals. This isn’t to be confused with senseless splurging. Acknowledge that it’s ok to have some things you don’t want to skimp on too.

Frugal treat suggestions:

*Picnic and parks
*DVD rentals
*Food treats
*Fresh air
*Alone Time
*Small plants or garden seeds
*Try new recipes
*Thrift Store shopping
*Salon products
*Craft/Hobby items
*Meal out

Some motivators include:

* Success stories
* Forums with like-minded people
* Friends and family
* Books, blogs, magazines
* Successful mentors
* Quotes and Affirmations

Jones Factor

One surefire way to sabotage your efforts is to compare yourself to others. If you constantly focus on what you don’t have or how you measure up to others, you’re going to feel rotten. You’ll become judgemental of others, as well. You can adopt an “enough” train of thought, and comprehend that everything above food, clothing, and shelter is truly optional and make your own personal decisions from that point.

The “Jones Factor” is going to keep you on the “money-go-round”. Is it time for you to step off? Only you can make that decision. Focus on what you DO have and find appreciation and contentment. Surround yourself with the right people that are uplifting, encouraging, and supportive.

Change your perspective and develop a frugal attitude of gratitude. Without gratitude and contentment, it’ll never be enough and you’ll never stop comparing yourself to others that have “more”. Your surroundings shouldn’t have such impact on your self-worth and happiness.

Pop Quiz

What choices are the most difficult for you to make?
What was your last spendy temptation? Did you cave?
What products entice you and why?
What was your latest frugal victory and how did you feel?
How do you reward yourself?
What inspires and motivates you to continue on your frugal journey?
Have you read “The Millionaire Next Door”?

Personal Pearls of Wisdom

With each time that you say no to something that you know isn’t going to help your goals, you become stronger and it becomes easier to do. It gets to the point where you honestly don’t want to do wasteful and impulsive spending. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life. If you are spending every waking moment thinking about saving money, it’s still controlling you.

If you stumble and fall off the frugal wagon, don’t give up. Just brush yourself off and hop back on. Regroup and refocus and continue on your path. It takes time and you aren’t always going to see immediate results.

Keeping records (ie. tracking spending) will help you when you need to see the numbers and facts. You are welcome to participate in the FV forum challenges too.

I like to tell myself that overconsumption just isn’t sexy or appealing. lol Hey. Works for me! I’m not impressed by those that flash material possessions. That’s not wealth imo. However, I don’t assume that others unlike me are in debt. Many people that aren’t frugal, have very healthy spending and saving habits. Just because someone chooses a different path than my own, doesn’t imply they aren’t responsible or are buried in debt.

Show me:

What you save. (net worth not income)
How you aren’t wasteful.
Your passions.
How you encourage and support others.
What you do with your spare time.
Talk to me about lifetime learning.
How you give to others.
How you bring value to society.

That impresses me. That’s appealing.

Honor and value your priorities and long term goals and not just your short term desires and wasteful whims. Live below your means, but the operative word is LIVE! Money doesn’t buy back time.

Additional Reading:
combat temptation
do you feel deprived
motivation 1
motivation 2
motivation 3
inspiration to pay down debt


  1. AheeK

    2/25/2007 at 9:36 pm

    Excellent post. You bring a lot of great concepts together. I especially like the intentional procrastination. My parents taught me this, only they call it “delayed gratification.” Much of the out-of-control debt in North America is due to people not being able to wait for something and shop around; they have to have it NOW. This makes them victims of high-interest credit cards, being overcharged for items, and getting trapped in terrible leases for vehicles, etc. If you can practice delayed gratification, if you can walk away from the salesman, no matter how he cajoles, you’re on your way to finally having control over your spending instead of it controlling you. My parents also taught me the importance of not keeping up with the Jones’ and the effectiveness of mad money in controlling spending. To everyone that has children, these are some of the most important life skills you can teach them. They will thank you for it later.

  2. emily_hope

    2/25/2007 at 10:05 pm

    I have learned to take my time and not do impulse spending. I really think about an item before I purchase. Even something that is only a dollar. I ask myself, do I really need that, where will it go, is there something I can get rid of that this will replace…..

  3. Michelle-Lea

    2/26/2007 at 10:26 am

    Wonderful post. I’ve learned through the hard way that I can’t succumb to every “want” I have. It’s just immature and irresponsible. Not looking at the ads in the paper and not watching TV help so much to curb those desires.

  4. Maggi

    2/26/2007 at 5:47 pm

    Good Article, I think I said this in one of the other posts but usually when I see something I want I walk around the store with it, if I don’t need it or think the money is worth it. It goes back and thats about 98% of the time.
    I used to have friends that spent money everytime I turned around and tried to make me feel bad because I didn’t spend. I just had other uses for my money instead of an $80 blouse or a brand new car with outragous payments. Better friends now who understand how I am. Plus when my car needed tires or the fridge finally quit I could go and pay cash without worrying about a credit card debt.
    I would much rather go to a History Museum or free concert, chat with friends than to impress someone.

  5. baxjul

    2/26/2007 at 8:05 pm

    I usually decide also, before I leave the store that it isn’t worth the money to buy most items. Great article, thanks!

  6. Darling Diva

    3/2/2007 at 7:10 pm

    Of all the posts I have read here, this is my fav.
    We all want to be smart with our consumer dollars, but making wise choices is not always easy when emotions come into play.
    Realizing why we spend is half the battle.

    In a world of excess we all stumble…but thats no reason to give up.
    I can give you many reasons that I personally like to “collect stuff”.
    Ultimately the stuff isnt what is important, its the reason we do it that counts …to know that the stuff wont ever fill a void releases you.
    Now comes the job of real purging …who needs a bunch of stuff if I dont need it?
    Everyday a little more goes out the door and while I am purging I am finding many other treasures …
    generousity, things I forgot I had and the abiltity to see a simplier future.
    This is just one way to think green …cus while we are purging and discovering we are not consuming more.
    Think of the $$ you will save.
    So begin however you may …and the rewards besides frugality will astound you.

    thank you for your intelligent words of wisdom

    darling diva

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