Frugality as a Lifestyle – Part 2

By ERIN TURNER

This is the 2nd in a two-part series about living a frugal life.  Be sure to read last week’s blog post for reference!

Statistics show that money is the primary cause of divorce in America today.  Because I counseled engaged couples for years, I know first hand how money can negatively impact a marriage.

Some couples feel an incredible amount of pressure to live a certain way…usually well outside their means.  They work long hours,  keep score of each other’s expenditures and slowly become resentful strangers to each other while losing sight of their goals—that is if they ever created goals.   These couples never get a chance to experience financial freedom and this causes irreconcilable conflict.

By establishing financial goals and a budget based on a frugal lifestyle, my husband and I have found it has strengthened us as partners in writing those financial goals, as well as in parenting, farming, and planning for our future.

This is because we never compete with each other (but I always win at golf!) since we share the same simple vision.  If we do find ourselves on different pages, it’s our signal that something is wrong and we need to step back, refocus on our objectives and simplify the situation.

All couples should establish goals together and evaluate them regularly—especially if there has been a change in income (e.g. loss of a job or winning the lottery!) or an increase of expenses (e.g. medical bills or kids).

By updating and keeping your budgetary goals current, you are insulating your marriage from serious injury.  The benefits of being penny-wise should reach to all levels of your life including your marriage and relationships.

Now, you and your spouse may understand the frugality theory and be ready to tackle the commitment to live a frugal lifestyle, but teaching kids the art of frugality is an entirely different obstacle — definitely one which takes a lot of time and patience!

The first step is teaching them the joy of shopping WITHOUT buying.  How many of you fork out an extra $5-$10 each trip to the store because of this one, innocent little statement; “Pllleeeassse mom, can I get it?  Pretty please?  I promise to make my bed when we get home???” $$$Cha-ching!

Start slowly and realistically. Remember your own goals for living a simple, less complicated life first!  Then explain to your children they don’t need something every time they go to the store.

Our six year old son is struggling immensely with this concept.  So, we’re getting creative in our education.  One solution I discovered this last week is to go over with him what is on our list before we go into the store.  It seems to help him stay focused and not get distracted by other things he “has to have.”  It’s improving, but we’re still working on it!

Eventually your kids start to understand. It’s  then time to let them take their own money to the store and see what happens.   More often than not, my older kiddos look and look, only to decide they want to save their cash.  That’s when you know you’ve instilled the understanding and can then begin to challenge them more about saving and the value of the dollar.

As you can tell, frugality isn’t something you decide to do overnight.  It takes time, commitment, education, and patience. Being frugal requires self-discipline, acceptance, and maturity from both spouses.

It also requires a solid vision of the bigger picture: write out your goals and keep those as your daily priority.   The point of being frugal is to get out of debt (or never be in debt!) and build up some savings so that you can control how your money is spent.

In today’s economy, we are all faced with a lot of uncertainty and building up savings is one way of doing a little recession-proofing.  

It has been suggested tha every family should save up to 6 months of salaries so if someone were to lose a  job, there would be enough cushion to live comfortably for 6 months while finding new employment.

You may think saving that much is impossible, or at least extremely difficult. But, you may surprise yourself when you set goals and begin looking for ways to save. Suddenly, all my couponing tips may not sound so crazy!

I hope in this two part blog you’ve learned a little — and been inspired a lot!  Frugal living has offered my family a lifestyle of which we are proud and are able to enjoy our life.  It’s also a goal for Jon and me to leave a legacy for our children — and our grandchildren.

Not only has our frugal lifestyle allowed us to choose how to spend our money today, but we will eventually leave this earth knowing we passed on a rich inheritance of core values, freedom, happiness and harmony in the lives of our children and hopefully generations to follow.   Now that definitely isn’t being poor or boring!

Questions?  Thoughts?  I’d love your feedback.  Be sure to scroll down and sound-off in the “comments” section.  Back to the Save It blog home page.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for herfamily.