This is a guest post from Travis Holmes
Spendthrifts often picture frugal people as miserly, miserable types who pinch every penny until the day they die. It’s a common misconception, but it’s just that – a misconception. Living frugally does not mean living a life of deprivation. Quite the contrary; frugality can lead to happiness and make you more fulfilled. But, how can delaying gratification, saving money and doing without the latest things make you happy? What you gain is much more valuable than keeping up with the Jones’.
Below are 7 benefits of living the frugal lifestyle that can lead to more happiness and better money management.
1. Appreciate What You Have
When you live frugally, you come to appreciate what you have. You become thankful for your resources and learn to make the most of them. Rather than envying your neighbor’s shiny new car, you drive your old one for 10 years while you put away money in savings to avoid going in debt when you finally do purchase a new or used car. Instead of throwing out items when you’ve used them up, you find ways to repurpose them. Baby food jars become lovely spice jars. Worn out clothing is cut up and sewn into a quilt. Because you’re grateful for what you have, you let little go to waste.
2. Pay Off Debt
People often start living frugally in order to pay off debt, but their frugal ways stick with them long after that last credit card payment is made. Face it, debt is a burden that ties many people down to jobs and locations that they hate just because that’s where the work is that they need to pay their bills. Less debt and a sound life insurance policy means fewer bills and more freedom to live the life you want.
3. Benefit the Environment
For those who are eco-conscious, frugal living is a great way to protect the environment. Frugal people use less disposable products and have less trash overall because you learn to reuse and repurpose what you have. You’ll also be more likely to carpool, use less electricity and be more mindful of your water use when you’re living a frugal lifestyle because you want to keep your costs down.
4. Have More Leisure Time
One of the biggest benefits of living frugally is that you typically have fewer and smaller bills to pay. If you don’t want to work a 40, 60 or 80 hour workweek as many Americans do, don’t! You can have more free time to spend on your hobbies and other leisurely pursuits like spending time with family when you’re not saddled with debt.
5. Retire Early
Do you really want to work until you’re in your mid-60s? Most people don’t, but that’s the expected retirement age for many working Americans. Rather than spending your golden years working, you could be gardening, traveling, enjoying your grandchildren, or any number of more pleasurable things. Being frugal now means that you can put more away for retirement. This can help you reach a financially comfortable retirement level long before your colleagues. Another benefit of living frugally now is that you won’t have an extravagant lifestyle to maintain when you’re older. You can live on less and still be happy, which means there’s less to put away.
6. Leave an Estate for Your Children
Many people dream of being able to take care of their children after they’ve passed on, but few are able to do so because their own expenses are so great that there’s no money to spare for savings and investments. The frugal person, even on a tight budget, will have money put away for a rainy day and often much more than that. Knowing that you’re able to take care of your children even after you’re gone can make you very happy and give you great peace of mind.
7. Give More
Frugal people are quite generous when it comes to giving to others. By reducing your own expenses and saving money, you’re able to give generously to people in need and other social causes that you support. As you know, helping others is a surefire way to make you happier.
Living a frugal lifestyle doesn’t sound too shabby, does it? Give it a whirl. You have nothing to lose but debt and time spent working hard to pay it off, but you have all these benefits to gain.
Further Reading: Money Can’t Buy Happiness…. But Happiness Can Get You Money!
Further Reading: Why Earning Six-Figures is Still Not Good Enough
Travis Holmes is a financial blogger with a passion for frugality. He believes a balanced wallet can create a happy balanced life.