Sometimes, we (frugal bloggers) make frugality sound so easy! SPEND LESS, SAVE MORE, BE FRUGAL, such a simple concept! If you can’t afford to buy stuff, then don’t. It’s not rocket science! So why do so many people struggle with it? What If Frugality Is NOT In Your DNA?
**News flash** We are not all created “equal”, some of us are born frugal but others are not. Some of us were taught frugality, others weren’t. Or maybe they did but nature took over! What if frugality is not in your DNA?
I used to get “upset” at people who, to me, wasted their money when they couldn’t afford to! I know so many of them. They will tell you they struggle with making ends meet, can’t pay their bills but they eat lunch out every day or they go out and buy a brand new car, the examples are endless.
It took me a while to understand “them”. How could they not be, or become, frugal knowing it is preventing them from becoming financially independent. Then it dawned on me. They are not wired the same!
If you have been following my blog (if you haven’t , you should), you know I love sweets, especially chocolate.
Last year, I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. I suffer from major abdominal pain and discomfort on a regular basis, in addition to other digestive health problems, usually caused by certain food I eat. And whenever I indulge myself with chocolate or other sweets, I fully expect to suffer from abdominal pains and discomfort for days afterwards.
Also as I get older, it’s getting harder to keep the weight down so eating sweets is not helping at all.
Overall, sweets are definitely not a healthy choice for me.
I Still Eat Sweets!
But you know what? I still eat them!
I know it’s bad for me, I know I shouldn’t do it but I can’t help it. Lack of will power? Probably. But when I am craving that chocolate, I tend to forget about the future pain! It comes back quickly, as quickly as the cramps! Then I totally regret it , until I repeat the cycle again!
I tried to eliminate all sweets from my diet but it was a FAIL! I thought about it so much I ended up eating a lot more, like “binge eating” the day before you start a diet!
These days, I set smaller and more realistic goals. I try to limit my intake by being more selective about what I eat. If I am going to eat sweets, I make sure it is something really good and worth it. And I set boundaries, such as how often I will allow myself to eat some. That way, I have something to look forward to and I don’t feel like it’s gone forever. Some weeks it works and some weeks it doesn’t but overall I am making progress. For every week I meet my goal is one week better than before. I even keep track of it in my monthly reports, “only eat sweets on Sundays!” because it is important to me and makes me more accountable. Baby steps:)
It would be totally different if it was life threatening, I would have no choice but to stop eating sweets at once.
So this is me and my struggle with food (it’s not just sweets!). For some of you, to not eat sweets or chocolates is no big deal. Maybe you don’t even like eating them. And you definitely can’t relate to my daily struggle with it.
What Does It Have To Do With Frugality?
Everything! It is no different for frugality, some people don’t have it in them and it is a constant struggle for them to be frugal, while for others it’s like second nature. If it was life threatening, it would be a totally different story, same as with food. But not being frugal is not going to kill you but it may potentially kill your financial independence dream.
What If Frugality Is Not In Your DNA?
Non-frugal people often know they shouldn’t spend their money the way they do, but they can’t help it. For some of them it’s a lack of knowledge and for others it is too hard not to spend. Many of them will make excuses to justify their purchases. They need to buy things, experience the thrill of instant gratification, even if it is a temporary reward (check out Helen’s post Delayed Gratification).
Sometimes they just need to keep up with the Joneses. They suspect the Joneses can’t afford their lifestyle either (or they are really naive and think they do) but they have to keep up anyway, they HAVE to!
They may justify not saving with a multitude of excuses but the fact is they struggle with frugality.
Some do pull it off but it is HARD work. It is not easy for them but they keep at it. They fight their own little demons every day, the same way I fight my urge to eat sweets daily. And they learn to live with it and try to focus on the rewards, short and long-term.
Sometimes, we forget how difficult it is for some people to be frugal and how much more work they have to put into it.
So for all of you who may not have frugality in your DNA, hang in there. Take baby steps, set smaller goals to get you to where you want to be and be realistic about your goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. Don’t compare yourself to others for whom frugality may come easy because it is in their DNA!
And for all of us, frugal bloggers, let’s acknowledge that frugality can be a lot of work for others and not make it sounds so easy in our future posts! What if frugality is not in their DNA!
So what about you? Is frugality in your DNA or do you struggle with it? How do you manage it if is a struggle?