Feburary has rolled around far quicker than it should have, again. The holidays are over, school is back and work is likely to be hitting us all in full gear. 2022 has officially begun. Feburary signifies another shock to the system – Frugal Feburary.
To be completely honest, I have a love-hate relationship with Frugal Feburary. I can’t help feeling frustrated when I have to say no to a coffee date, a nice dinner or a few glasses of champagne with a friend on a warm Feburary’s day. Frugal Feburary in many ways contradicts my financial philosophy which is financially mindful and free but with a healthy happy boundary (AKA my budget), rather than restriction.
However, Frugal February always becomes a time of reflection for me. Routinely, insights about my mental and physical wellbeing present themselves. Already, I have begun catching myself out. Noticing when and why I am spending money realising the holiday season has truly shaken up my structure allowing for age old habits to seep back in my daily life.
The most obvious example is my tendency to leave my office, walk down the street and buy a muffin if a day or a situation in my professional life is overwhelming me. I know that I don’t need the muffin but it at the time it really feels like I need the muffin. It is fleeting respite which doesn’t change my ability to complete the task at hand. In fact, it means I must do the stressful task in significantly less time, resulting in more stress and more trips to find muffins. It is procrastination, not actually therapeutic. By removing my go to coping mechanism I realise I am checking in with myself in a mindful and kind way. It prompts me to do something which will actually help me manage my stress rather than ignore it. A ten-minute meditation, a fitness session, a swim in the ocean. These are things which don’t require a transaction but are often second or third on our list of strategies because they require that additional effort.
I also notice the physical benefits, every single year. Being frugal requires organisation and planning. I have to think about what my family should eat throughout the week. When I plan, I always elect healthier more nutritional options. When I feel like it is within my budget to buy lunch at work or order dinner one evening, I will inevitably indulge, we are only human. However, in Frugal February I realise that I am reaping the benefits of more sustainable energy throughout the day and I am not engaging in compulsive food choices which leave me feeling lethargic or uncomfortable. Frugal February helps me come back to my nutritional needs and provide a structure to stick to them.
Not to mention the reduction of waste in my household throughout the month. Buying fewer take away coffees, not using plastic cutlery in a takeaway meal, or additional soy sauce with my sushi. I notice that I feel an additional motivation to return to my ethical values. I remind myself of how easy it is to consume plastic and non-degradable waste once we start indulging in those financial habits.
Frugal February is a financial reset. Just as we start our year with health aspirations so too can we implement that same notion restriction with our finances. Frugal February is a time to recognise how our financial decisions can impact our wellbeing.
Consider it a cleanse if you will. You may hate it while you are doing it, but you never regret it.
I am sending all my encouragement and support to anyone doing Frugal Februaury. Try and use it as a time to check in with yourself and re-prioritise what it is you truly value.
Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is also a Keynote Speaker, Financial Commentator and the founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV, including a best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.