I am frugal by nature and generally enjoy the challenge of saving money and living on a tight budget.
But every now and then, I simply get weary of it all.
Needing to carefully analyze whether every purchase is a good buy leaves me feeling exhausted, and I get frustrated that our finances (or the lack thereof!) control so much of what we can and cannot do. Sometimes I even feel like being totally irresponsible and blowing money on something ridiculous “just because.”
Whenever I am on the edge of burnout, there are several things that I have found beneficial to do to refocus and renew my energy for living frugally. And since we all seem to deal with “budget burnout” one time or another, I think you’ll find the helpful as well!
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR WEARY PENNY PINCHERS
1. Remember Why You are Saving
Why are you pinching pennies? What is it that is motivating you to live frugally in the first place?
Is it because you are working at paying off your student loans? Is it so you can stay at home with your children? Are you saving up to replace your older car with a newer one?
For us it’s been a variety of things. When we first got married it was so that we could purchase a house and pay it off as soon as possible. Once our house was paid off, our motivation to live frugally was simply that we could have more to share with others in need. Now our goal is to get my husband through college without going into debt.
Reminding yourself of what you are working towards and thinking about that goal can be helpful to refocus and make it a little easier to do the hard work of sacrificing.
2. Take a Break
You know how a vacation can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the busyness of life again? Sometimes it’s helpful to take a short vacation of sorts from being frugal too.
I’m not suggesting that you spend your money carelessly and rack up debt on your credit card. Rather, I simply recommend you take a short break from being intently focused on saving to allow yourself the chance to relax and refresh a bit.
One of the ways I do this is to take a break from using coupons. I’m an avid coupon user and it’s one of the main things that allows us to have a $200/mo. grocery budget, but it also takes quite a bit of time and energy too! So when I start feeling that exhaustion and burned out feeling creeping in, I’ll slack off on couponing for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t use any coupons during that time, just that I’ll not be as aggressive in my deal shopping. For instance, instead of going to 3 stores those weeks, I’ll just pick the one that has the best deals and shop there.
3. Count your Blessings
Take a moment and write down 20 things that you are grateful for. Or make it 40! Focusing on those things instead of how frustrating your tight budget is doesn’t necessarily change your financial situation, but it can change your outlook. And sometimes that is all that we need to help refocus ourselves and keep us going!
4. Splurge a Little
I know it might sound surprising, but one of the things that I have found helpful is to allow myself a small splurge when I’m feeling burned out with budgeting.
You know, something we don’t typically do like enjoying an evening out for dinner, buying a new book that I’ve wished I could read (I rarely buy books of any kind, let alone new) or grabbing a bouquet of fresh cut flowers at our local farmer’s market.
Yes, it may set us back a tiny bit in getting ahead financially, but something about relaxing a little like that usually gives me an incentive boost and helps me feel like doing the hard work of saving again.
While I love saving money, I’ve finally realized that I need to prioritize when it comes to choosing how to save. As we had more children and I got busier, some things just didn’t provide enough savings for the amount of time that they took to do or the benefit of doing them wasn’t great enough.
For instance, making my laundry detergent was fairly easy to do and saved quite a bit of money. But over time, due to our extremely hard water, it felt like it wasn’t really getting our clothes clean any more. So I decided that for now, making my own detergent is just one of those things that isn’t worth doing and I instead focus my energy on finding other ways to save.
What about you? What do you find helpful when you are dealing with budget burnout?
~ Lydia, ThriftyFrugalMom
Lydia is a God loving, committed wife and stay-at-home mom of 3 who loves encouraging women in all aspects of homemaking. She and her family enjoy the adventure of living in the city near the beautiful Amish country in Pennsylvania. She is also the blogger behind Thrifty Frugal Mom where she loves sharing easy, from-scratch recipes, inspiration for successful homemaking and lot of great money saving ideas!