A Mental Habit of Frugality

From an early age, I’ve somehow understood that money was tight for my family and that it would always be that way.  I wasn’t deprived of anything I needed but I understood I couldn’t always have anything I wanted.

As I’ve observed my parents over the years, I’ve developed an automatic habit of frugality.  Growing up in mostly second-hand clothes, I can’t bring myself to buy a shirt over $10 or pants over $20.  When I buy groceries, I automatically calculate and compare the unit prices.  My arm reaches automatically for generic brands.  This is good in that I automatically save money.

However, this hurts me in many ways.   I may end up buying a lot more than I planned on simply because “they were on sale!!”.  Also, I purposely deprive myself of fun things because I can’t justify the cost.  However, this just ends up with me being miserable in the end.  I’ve had to teach myself to splurge on myself a little and try to lessen the overwhelming feelings of guilt. Mostly though, I end up buying crap stuff simply because it’s “cheaper” and suffer with constant breakdowns and mechanical failures.

I think that even if I become wealthy, it’ll be very difficult for me to break that mental habit that’s so ingrained in me.

Perhaps if frugality is difficult for you at this time, it’s good to force yourself to get into the habit enough so that it become natural.  However, make sure you’re not doing it simply for frugality’s sake.  It’s only worthwhile if you’re really saving for a goal or through necessity.

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