Reframing Frugal February to "Fabulous Frugal February" has completely revitalised my passion for mindful spending , living & investing...
Let me share with you a little secret...I dread Frugal February, until now.
Around about mid January every year, I get a pit in my stomach. You know that uncomfortable feeling of dread and anxiety when you know something is approaching, that you don’t really want to do, but know you should do…like going to the dentist to get root canal – well that is how I feel about Frugal February.
Whilst I value and respect a frugal life, I feel that so easily it can be misinterpreted to being stingy, mean or incredibly restrictive. And this is because you are trying to achieve a financial goal within an already restricted boundary. You cannot save more than you earn and you can only cut out so many living expenses, which is even harder if you are already working on a frugal or strict budget. It almost seems like financial torture.
Then I feel guilty and even rude walking past my local coffee shops where I would normally pop in, order a coffee or salad, support their business and have a chat to the barrista, a neighbour or someone from my community.
And just like putting ourselves on a crazy diet with no sugar, dairy, carbs or animal products etc. If it is too restrictive, we snap and have a blow out and undo all our hard work. Like a retail blowout.
Furthermore, there is little or no self love when it comes to being frugal. And that clashes against my passion and key message that financial responsibility is about financial wellbeing. And when we have financial wellbeing where we comfortably stick to our budgets with respect – that allows healthy spending (on what we love, value, use and appreciate). We’ll have peace of mind from seeing our emergency savings set aside, our investments proudly growing and working for us and know our retirement accounts are correctly invested for long term growth opportunities. This enables us to carry ourselves with more dignity and builds an overall healthier wellbeing.
Anyway, enough of my complaining! Since reframing Frugal February to Fabulous Frugal February, I am actually loving it. Whilst I do experience these ‘dreaded’ feelings from time to time, I look for the lesson and view frugal cutback as a necessary, albeit tough part of accumulating more $$$. Here’s the thing: we all crave the final shiny end result, but we don’t realise that achieving goals comes with sacrifice, hard work and dedication. I know that what I’m giving up now will result in more money going into my $1000 Project Account.
I am also loving the deeper awareness it has given me in my own spending (mindless spending included). Spending more time at home is good for the soul and I am more on top of my life admin than ever before. I am catching myself coming up with excuses to justify to myself buying certain items or grabbing expensive take away food on the run. I have even found myself eating better quality food that fills me up for longer, have more time to myself and my family as I am not searching for something to consider buying. Best of all, I feel recalibrated financially as I am valuing things more, and finding multi-purpose ways to utilise what I have!
So if you are doing Fabulous Frugal February with me and hitting a few speed bumps along the way, hang in there, I am with you all the way. And lets be kind to ourselves knowing that we are almost half way there and focus on the excitement and satisfaction of seeing how capable we are and how much stronger our willpower really is as we watch our savings from Fabulous Frugal grow and take our new habits, awareness and lessons well into 2020.
Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is Channel 9’s exclusive ‘money expert’, founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV and best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.