We do not have cell phone text messaging plan. We try to limit sending text messages. This is not looked down upon greatly by our friends. Over the weekend we were travelling along with another couple in our car. We switched off the cell phone GPS system while on highway. When we told them the reason being we were very close to our monthly data plan limit, they made faces. I could see through rare-view mirror.
This might be happening on this blog too. I know there have been readers who came, read a few posts and then left. I may have been too frugal in their eyes. Even at the time of recession, frugality is considered to be poor man’s choice. If some one makes points like below.
“What makes more sense? To make $5,000/month and save 20% or $1,000? Or to make $15,000/month and save 60% or $9,000 and live on the other $6,000? Which is more motivating and rewarding?”
Frugality is practiced by few, liked by some and hated by most. You may disagree with me but this is the reality I see around me. My Frugality was challenged at home many times. Going to fast food chain for weekly dinner is a strict ‘no’. Here’s a typical conversation we have when I try to impose frugality on SMB. Many of you face the same challenge at your home. How do you handle it?
It is often considered taboo to be frugal in nature, especially since everyone is more interested in trying to keep up with the Joneses down the street. Keep it in mind that those who still maintain an attitude of being cost conscious are far better prepared for unforeseen events occurring in the future.
What Does Being Frugal Entail
People that exercise frugalities often eliminate the need for products and services that the rest of us take for granted on a daily basis. People of this nature will often forego the things the rest of us view as a necessity in life. They don’t have cable TV or an Internet connection.
Products and services like cell phones and the plans that go with them are not high on their priority list. They reduce the amount of electricity, water and heat they use in order to cut costs from their bills. Frugal people exercise practices within the household to save as much money as possible.
Living in a House of Frugality
Living a frugal lifestyle can encompass many cost conscious exercises. Depending on the level of cost cutting practices employed, living a frugal family lifestyle can encompass such methods as keeping all unnecessary electrical equipment turned off when not in use, some will go so far as to unplug a piece of equipment when they aren’t using it to save a few extra pennies on the bill.
Eliminating the waste of water is accomplished by flushing the toilet only when necessary, taking a bath as opposed to a shower, or turning the shower on and off during the process of bathing, reducing the amount of water used for doing the dishes or laundry, avoiding such actions as washing the car at home or watering the lawn.
Frugal people will also set the thermostat for the house at a specific temperature in order to keep the house livable yet not overheated. Telephone service may also be something not found or available in such a household.
Dealing with the Social Stigma of Being Frugal
Members of frugal families can experience feelings of inadequacy when dealing with the stigma placed on them by the rest of society. This can be very stressful for everyone involved in the family that is being targeted. There are several ways to deal with the friends and social peers who ridicule those without the extravagant items others enjoy.
Explain to the members of the family why these actions are necessary, if they are old enough to understand what they are being told. This will allow them the opportunity to explain to others why they live the way they do. It isn’t necessary to detail every reason for the living conditions, a simple yet concise explanation should suffice.
If the situation exists due to economic difficulties, such as the loss of a job, or the absence of income then consider seeking other employment opportunities. Seek outside assistance programs to alleviate some of the financial stress; several states have cash assistance and food stamp programs, not to mention services that will help you provide medical and dental insurance for all family members affected.
These programs and services are in place to help those who are experiencing difficulties due to financial reasons. If the decision to lead a frugal lifestyle has nothing to do with the amount of income in the household and is rather an ingrained method of survival instituted through living under such conditions as a child yourself, then you may want to take a step outside of your comfort zone and see what others are missing.
You can still enjoy the amenities others in society are privileged to without living in excess. Start out small, order the most basic cable TV service available from your local provider. You might even consider picking up a cell phone and signing up for the smallest plan the company has to offer, or you could purchase a pay as you go cell phone and use it only when absolutely necessary. You would be amazed at how the little things in life can make you socially acceptable again.
Don’t Live in Fear of Being Frugal
You shouldn’t have to avoid contact with friends and family members because of your lifestyle. There are many reasons people choose to be frugal, just as there are many circumstances that can lead to a life of frugality that are beyond our immediate control. In these tough economic times exercising a cost conscious approach to everyday life shouldn’t be considered socially taboo but unfortunately it is.
The majority of society has allowed the advent of technology to dictate their necessities and those that don’t join the national bandwagon are often viewed as being social misfits.
It is an unfair practice to say the least; however if you are a cost conscious person that allocates their finances to suit their needs and have had plenty of success living life that way, then show it to people the advantages you have discovered by continuing to lead a frugal lifestyle.
You probably won’t have much success converting anyone to your outlook or lifestyle but they may have a much better understanding of why you have chosen this path to follow. Like everything else in life, you have to explain your way to be acceptable.
Some form of frugality I don’t like. I would spend time for earning extra money rather than saving pennies by making our own soap and shampoo. Bu,t still my practice of frugality, counting monthly text messages and data usage, eating out once a week, etc. Are frowned upon by many including my wife.
You can’t expect every one to be like you, difference of opinion happens. When it happens at home, it hurts most. Either you give-in or you create stress in relationship. I suggest give-in, we eat at expensive restaurants in our weekly eating outs. We watch only 3D movies when we go out to theaters. You can say I had to compromise to see her happy. And now I started enjoying the experience too and look forward to our next dinner or movie eagerly.
When the resistance comes from the society, you have to live with it. You need to ignore some and avoid some. But, always find balance between extreme frugality and too much spending. I try to do things that way.
Do you face similar situation when you try to be cost conscious and not liked by people around you? How do you handle the situation?
|SB is a husband and working as a software professional for a Fortune 100 corporation in Florida. Thanks for visiting the blog.
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