It’s Okay to Not be as Frugal as you Once Were

If you’ve lived a frugal lifestyle for any amount of time, have you ever wondered if it’s okay to not be as frugal as you once were?

it's okay to not be as frugal

I used to be more frugal than I am now. Let me be clear: I’m still VERY frugal. Put me in a group of people and I’m probably still one the of the most frugal.

But….

I’m not as frugal as I once was. And there are definitely many people out there who “out-frugal” me.

I don’t know if out-frugal is a term, but today I say it is.

There’s a popular blogger online who started her blog when she had to do everything she could to pinch pennies to pay the bills. Over the years her husband finished school, she started making more money from home, and they had less bills because they had been so careful with their money and paid down their debt.

So naturally, after years of being extremely frugal she had more room in her budget. Over time she became less frugal then she was when she started blogging all those years ago. However, every once in awhile she’ll receive a comment or email from an angry reader who declares that she isn’t the same person she once was, that they didn’t like who she has become because she spends a little more money then those first few years, and what happened to the days when she ate beans and rice to get by?

Here’s the thing.

Many people eat a beans and rice diet for a time so that they don’t have to eat a beans and rice diet forever.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, or how little your bills are, there are always ways you can save money. There are always wise things to spend your money on and not-so-wise things.

But, being frugal just for the sake of being frugal isn’t the point of this lifestyle.

We often spend years upon of being frugal…

So we can work towards paying down debt.

So we can save enough to fix up our homes. (Which, by the way are often fixer uppers because that’s all we could afford years ago when we bought our home)

So we can give our kids more opportunities.

So we can go on family trips and make memories.

So we can give more.

And, when our frugal choices we’ve spent years making start paying off, we loosen the reigns a little more. I mean, that was our goal all along. To get to a place where we didn’t have to feel the strain of no wiggle room in the budget.

For our house, while we still have a modest income, we aren’t as tight as we were years ago. With a little more room to breathe when it comes to our finances, one of the things we pay more for now is food.

While we have cut costs on food by growing some of our food, canning, and raising chickens for eggs, we have actually increased our spending when it comes to the food we buy at the grocery store. The reason being that we are able to pay a little more attention to our health, as well as just enjoy good food!

Once upon a time I could only buy things like margarine instead of real butter. Aside from the obvious taste difference, margarine is one of those products at the top of the list of things not good for you.

I don’t regret buying those products for a time when every penny counted. It was a necessary thing we needed to do to pay our bills. But now that we can buy things like REAL butter, I’m going to spend the money to buy it.

Of course, when it’s on sale I’ll stock up. 🙂

Because, while we spend a little more on things like food now, we are still wise about it. We still hit the sales, and we still mostly shop at the budget stores (except when we can’t find something there that we are looking for that only the other grocery stores sell.)

The reason we spent years and years being extremely frugal is so that one day we could buy things like butter without guilt. I know, it sounds a little crazy that I’m talking about the difference between margarine and butter, which is literally only a couple dollars, but the point I am trying to make is that you can still be frugal AND invest a little more money into things that are important in your life.

IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE AS FRUGAL AS YOU ONCE WERE

Investing into different areas in your life can be good for your financial health as well.

Renovating your home can one day help resale value.

Paying a little more for healthy food, vitamins, or essential oils can help you improve your health, cutting back on medical bills and the expense of medicine.

Investing in good quality items like tools, winter clothing, or dishes means you won’t have to pay to replace them as often.

Even though at the time you have to pay more upfront for these kinds of things, in the long run it can improve your quality of life and in the end still help you save money. Of course, we want to make sure we are in the position to pay for those things upfront before we spend a little more. Until then, being as frugal as we possibly can will help us get to that place.

And you know what? If you are in a place where you need to practice extreme frugality, I hope this offers you some hope. There is purpose in what you are doing, and it can pay off in the long run. It often will take years, but once those years pass by you will look back and be so thankful you made the choice to be extremely frugal when it counted.

When you are in a position where you don’t have to be as tight with your money you will hopefully have developed healthier spending habits and will most likely make wiser choices when it comes to deciding what to spend your money on.

It’s okay to not be as frugal as you once were when your budget allows. Once you live that lifestyle for so long it can be difficult to be a little more relaxed for a few reasons. First is, it’s easy to worry what others will think. Once you are known for being frugal, you can easily think people will think less of you or judge you if your path changes a little bit. Like that blogger I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Truth is, you can’t control people’s opinions of you, and that’ s okay. We can’t please everyone.

The other reason it can be difficult to be okay with spending a little more is because after you’ve lived so long on a tight budget, it can be natural to worry every time you spend a little money. You worry if you will be able to pay your bills. You worry about if an emergency will happen. It doesn’t matter what your bank account says, after years of living one crisis away from financial disaster, I think it is common for us to automatically continue to think that the progress we are making can all come crashing down in a second.

If that is you, I would encourage you to take comfort in the numbers on paper, and not what has happened in the past. Continue to make wise choices, but remind yourself how far you’ve come and be confident in your ability to manage your finances well.  It’s okay to not be as frugal as you once were.

Related:  How to Love your Life and Live Frugally at the Same Time

2 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Not be as Frugal as you Once Were”

  1. The first thing I’d do is to exchange some foods to healthier choices. When you can afford it, a healthier diet pays off. I know it can feel difficult to spend more money than you are used for, but you can choose to see it like an investment in yourself.

    1. Yep, that is usually my first exchange as well. Healthier choices always are worth the investment if we have the money to make it!

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