Are You Tired of Living Cheap?

Tips on how to prevent extreme frugality from pushing you over the edge

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In response to the fluctuating economy, you might have decided to jump on the extreme frugality bandwagon. Even though you’ve succeeded at living your new cost-conscious lifestyle, it’s likely you’re starting buckle under the pressure. Depressed and worn down by constantly watching your bank account, you might have rebelled by going on impromptu shopping sprees or buying $4 lattes at Starbucks every day for a week. This phenomenon has been dubbed “frugal fatigue.”

I’ll admit it; I’m tired, too. Just a few weeks ago I caved in and purchased an item that I hadn’t budgeted for. This most likely happened because I took  frugalism to the extreme by depriving myself. I’m normally quite frugal, but I really ramped it up when the economy began to sour. I think a lot of us did. And who can blame us? Watching the news and reading countless articles about the state of the economy would make anyone panic. You’re probably using one-ply toilet paper, re-using sandwich bags, and diving under your couch cushions to scavenge for change. If you’re sick with frugal fatigue, here are three tips to cure what ails you.

Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t go cold turkey. You’ll be sure to rebel and purchase items that you don’t need. If you love lattes, instead of swearing them off completely, treat yourself to a cup once in a while.

Budget for fun. Set aside money in your budget to purchase whatever you want. Who says a budget has to be only for needs and not wants?

Know when to spend money. Sometimes it pays to spend a little extra. In the long run, purchasing quality items will keep more cash in your pocket. Why spend $10 on a poorly made pair of shoes that will only last a few months when you can buy a more expensive pair that will last a couple of years? Think long term.

Do you have frugal fatigue? What are you doing about it? Share your comments and tips below.

Sheiresa Ngo is the consumer affairs editor at Black Enterprise.

  • Hey Sheiresa,

    Fortunately, many of the things that we all wish we could buy can be bought for a lot less than many people think.

    I talked about this on a recent TV segment. Check out my video on how to enjoy “Luxury for Less”!

  • Crystal Williams

    I have had very good times financially and now I am in very uncertain times now. I have identified my wants and needs, but I try to purchase my needs now. I really wish I could earn enough where budgeting is not necessary.

    • Hi Crystal,
      Regardless of your financial situation, a budget is always necessary. It will keep you on track and prevent you from overspending. Check out our first Women and Money series from February 2009. It provides some great tips on how to devise and stick to a budget.

  • You know it gets really hard when EVERYTHING seems to cost more these days. Even more so because so many people have had their paychecks cut, so they don’t have the same amount of money they had even a year or a month ago.

    But even so, I will NOT be converting to one-ply toilet paper! Some things you just can’t do without! 🙂

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