We are funny creatures. We start saving money and make great progress, and then we slack off. We see that bank balance not deplete so fast, or we find that we have fewer monthly bills. We then think about how hard we have worked to save money. All the sacrifices we have made to pay all those bills off. We decide that we need a reward for all the hard work we have just completed. Rewards are great, but we have to be disciplined enough to stop.
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I tease my better half that he is perfect. He doesn’t seem to struggle with the desire to do things, spend money, travel, or buy anything like I do. He plans what he is going to do and keeps to his plan. Me? I get lost sometimes. I have so many ways to spend money. My blog takes money to experiment with different cleaning agents, craft projects, and beauty products. My cooking needs plans, ingredients, and equipment. Of course there are places to go and people to see. We rarely go out and when we do, we spend time with family or with each other. The most important thing for us is to spend time having fun with each other. Other people need time to spend with friends. For me, spending time with Chris is a bit more important. I am pretty much a loner so having hours by myself is far more important for my sanity at this time.
When frugality is your goal and you have a significant other and/or children, you have to agree on your goals. You have to find the common goals and the rewards. Discipline is awesome, but rewards really help keep you on track. Some people are like my husband, and it is second nature to be frugal. I need rewards. Kids need them, too.
Once you have achieved your goals, you need to reward each other. This keeps everyone on track. Kids can be rewarded with toys, dinner out, video games, or an outing or a family fun day. Significant others can have nights out and other things that you both enjoy together. My husband does a lot of things for me because I struggle with this. He also has fewer things he wants to do that cost money. He tells everyone that when I get stuff, he gets food and things out of it.
I still struggle with his goals for our frugality. His goals are very important; we are going to be 50 this year and retirement needs saving for. His job is not easy. He is looking forward to retirement. I am attempting to create a home business that I can do even when I am retirement age.
I get, shall we say, sidetracked with ideas and lose my vision of being frugal. I get resentful and start wanting things and wanting to go places. I get frustrated with how slowly I am saving money for the business, how transitioning to Wordpress has gone, and all the things I want to do in the house.
Communication is a huge part of the answer. Talking with each other helps ease the issues that either one of you are facing. The issue for me is not talking. It is the fact that I lose sight of my own goals and desires. Life is so much better when we are working toward a common goal.
The best thing that helps me is walking and praying. The praying changes my perspective, and the exercising helps clear my head. The first step I went through in my start of being frugal is the next step I have to take. I must remove all other issues and look at what I want in life even if what I want is not what I can have at the moment.
I have to consider what my life would be like without Chris. How do I want to live if I was alone? How would I live without his income? What types of things do I want to do? Do I have enough income with our savings and my tiny part-time job? To maintain the standard of living I want to have? We can’t predict the future, bad things happen, so what would be the cheapest way to live? How low can I make the bills I have? How will I see my kids and grandchildren on a limited income?
This changes my perspective completely. It brings me down to earth and lets me find out what really matters to me. It clears away the unimportant and brings me back to where Chris and I are together as one moving forward. We don’t always agree on where we are heading on this course, but our lines of communication are open and we are working toward a common goal. It didn’t always work this way. Our communication skills needed help, because we needed to listen to each other instead of going our own separate ways to our own separate goals.
The bottom line is when working toward frugality, everyone in your home needs to be on the same page. It just won’t work any other way.
One person cannot bully the other into their way of thinking. We were house hunting three years ago. Chris searched for cheap and able to fix up. I searched for a home with room, a good kitchen, and decent-size bedrooms and two bathrooms that would be easier to fix up. We discussed what our true purpose was in finding a home, and Chris realized what he was looking for was never going to work for us. Now, we live in a house we enjoy and are happy in.
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