Telling Americans not to spend is sort of like singing abstinence’s praises at an orgy: You’re not going to be the most popular guy in the room.
Sure, it’s not entirely thankless. Some folks will display a modicum of interest in shrinking their grocery expenditures, but beyond that you sure confront a lot of dismissiveness and blank stares.
Why do it then? You’re like the half-ass “prophet” no one asked for.
For me, it’s simple: frugality gave me a new lease on life.
Before it entered my world, I thought there were only two paths to choose from:
1. A life of relative “destitution”
2. Selling my soul to a hydra-like employer to make the “big” bucks
But there’s a third way. And I really, really want people to know about it:
3. Living modestly while working at a job that is not trying to harvest your tears Matrix-style.
You’ve been sold a bill of goods almost since the day you were born: happiness is a big house, a three-car garage, 2.5 kids (how does the .5 work?), and a lavish annual vacation. But no one told you the price of admission. In this era of wage stagnation and cost-of-living increases, it’s endless labor and your sanity. They’ve got you chasing the American “Dream” dragon. Work begets more work. Before you know it, work insidiously becomes the means and the end.
But say you elected a life defined by modesty?
Your house? Three bedrooms. Your annual vacation? A camping trip at a nearby state park. Your mode of transportation? A Toyota instead of a Lexus.
Is this sacrifice? To many it is.
But what if it helped you wiggle free of the chains?
What if it enabled you to pick the job with the so-so salary that has a reasonable commute and reasonable hours? What if that job didn’t haunt the inner recesses of your soul every waking minute (and in your stress-induced nightmares)? What if you had time and energy to play with your kids and meaningfully engage those around you? What if you could once again be present for life?
Frugal Tip: If you have a gas-powered vehicle, really screw the gas cap on tightly. You’ll fight back against evaporation and get better gas mileage.