“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need- a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink, for thirst is a dangerous thing.” ~Jerome Klapka Jerome
I’ve been living frugally for the past 2 years. It is something that stemmed initially from a pathetic debt-ridden situation I got myself into. With the course of time, I’ve grown a liking for it.
I saw one of my friends posting his resolution to try living frugally this calendar year. This essay is meant for people like him who want to explore this side to life. Others may find it ‘boring’. In my defense, it is far from boring because I find beauty in the adventures of attaining simplicity.
1. It’s been 3 years since I cut out alcohol from my life. Initially, I made the decision owing to health issues at that time but it has definitely allowed me to live frugally as alcohol can certainly be an expensive guilty pleasure.
2. No smoking means no auxiliary costs like tea/coffee (during winters) and cold drinks (during summers) to go along with every stop at a cold store.
3. I’m a tea person and so, the best tea is the one mum makes at home. Second best is the one I make myself. Third would be local tea, not the fancy places that leave you pondering if you just had tea or another variety of milk.
4. It obviously helps that I’m not a foodie. Moreover, I’ve recently been experimenting with becoming a vegetarian for a month. It is not so that I can be more frugal, but for another important reason. You may not be able to relate if you are a big time foodie, but what you can do is to search for eateries that are not too heavy on the wallet. As long as the tummy is happy and the wallet not too depleted, it should be good- unless you go to eat at certain places because of the high esteem value it gives through social media check-ins.
5. I enjoy spending time with myself at home. There are two important layers to this favorite time pass: spending time with self and the ability to stay at home without a twitch. Both greatly aid a frugal existence.
6. Our need for entertainment is what costs us the most. This is one area we’ll need to constantly review if we are to become frugal. It helps if your idea of entertainment is reading a book you have borrowed, at a park that doesn’t charge you for entry.
7. Everyday, you’ll be inundated with requests that will challenge your notion to try living frugally- requests to go to the cinema, hop around the pubs, and eat lavish food at will. The ability to say no is a vital skill to possess if you wish to tread on this path.
8. You can’t live frugally if you are constantly bothered about keeping up with the Joneses. By saying no to the things that sound cool, you’ll be saying yes to the things that truly matter to you.
9. Despite best attempts to live a frugal lifestyle, there will come days when the temptation to perform a one-off will be a little too much. We can overcome this twitch, if only we understand that this urge will pass, just the way it arose.
10. As with everything, the WHY of living a frugal existence is paramount. For me personally, I started because it was a need at that time: to un-clutter from the mess my life had become. Right now, I live frugally because it allows me to be content with less- greatly aiding my pursuit of a creative life.
There are two ways to be rich- one is to earn a lot, second is to desire little. The frugal path seems the more likely route if there’s ever a need to get there.