Thursday, March 3, 2011
Are You Suffering From "Frugal Fatigue?"
According to a poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 66% of Americans are suffering from "frugal fatigue." In a nutshell, people are sick and tired of the pressure of living below their means.
Can you blame them? For many, there is nothing readily desirable about creating a budget, examining your spending regularly and essentially cutting coupons and pinching pennies. It is unfortunate, however, that American's see some of the fundamental principles for wealth creation as such a hassle. Living below ones means should not be a strategy that we pull out only to weather a recession. These principles should technically be our way of life. I'm not saying that we must create a lifestyle of deprivation, but I am saying that we exercise discipline in all circumstances, ie. in and out of a recession.
I believe the number one issue is that people have been forced to live differently as opposed to having a mindset shift and realizing for themselves that their behavior needed modification. Despite how you "got in" on frugality, the question is now that you've been here, where do you go from here once the economy begins to look up? How do you live the life you want, but maintain the lessons you've learned?
Related Post: How To Create The Life You Want
Whether you are suffering from frugal fatigue or not, I suggest creating both a written and visual plan for your life in a place where you can access it daily. Whether you use a dream journal, vision board or any other method you can think of is totally up to you - the point is to just use SOMETHING! No matter how strong-willed you are, everyone has a moment here and there where they want to just give discipline the peace sign and do what they feel like doing - no matter how detrimental to their progress. But, when you keep the vision you have for your life at the forefront of your mind, it becomes much easier to control yourself and stay focused.
For those of you who have already given in to the pressure, let me pose a question: Was your life any better spending above your means, but not being able to take care of your priorities? . . . . Jumping out on a limb, I'm going to guess, probably not! Even if your draped in Gucci, Prada & Louis, there is nothing "fun and exciting" about walking into a home with no electricity or out to the curb where your car used to be parked before the reposession. As I've said before, why look like a million bucks if you're not worth a hundred?
No matter how fatigued you become, keep in mind, that some of the habits that got you into this mess in the first place, will get you back there if you're not careful! Remember, you can never solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them. While its easy to blame everything we can on the economy, no matter how we cut it, some of these excuses just won't stick if we get caught up in the same mess after the economy bounces back.
Related Post: How To Set Financial Goals You Can Achieve
Kudos to the 21% of poll respondents who said that "they've implemented financial lifestyle changes that they believe are positive - and intend to keep them in place." Remember life is cyclical. This isn't the first recession and it won't be the last. If we get hit just as hard next time around, it won't necessarily be shame on whoever the president is at the time, it'll be shame on you!
Here are the full results of the NFCC’s poll question with my brief commentary, of course:
Do you have “frugal fatigue”?
1.Yes, I am tired of pinching pennies, but will have to continue that lifestyle. (66%)
At least you realize its still necessary. Stick to the vision!
2.Yes, I am tired of pinching pennies, and have decided to begin spending more. (5%)
Good luck with that! One false move and you could be back to square one.
3.No, I've not made any spending changes in recent years. (8%)
I'd love to be you! You probably were doing what we all should have been doing before the recession!
4.No, I have made lifestyle changes, but they are positive and I intend to keep them. (21%)
This is the group I hope will increase! Its about changing the mindset. Money really is the secondary issue here.