Feb 8, 2010

Why Live Frugally Now? Part 1 (Janssen)

On Friday, when my mom wrote about living on less, someone commented, "My husband and I have a hard time understanding the benefit of suffering now to be wealthy when we are 80. What is the use? I need valid reasons."

I think this is a terrific question; after all, it is pretty difficult to be frugal for the sake of being frugal. There has to be a reason to make the effort and some potential payoff that makes the present lifestyle worth it.

I'm all with her; I don't want to wait until I'm 80 to be wealthy, either! I hope that within 15 years Bart and I can own a home outright, have all our vehicles paid for, have a fully-funded emergency fund, a very full 401(k), and plenty of savings.


And, just as importantly, I don't want to suffer now. Like many of you (dare I say most of you), suffering doesn't really appeal to me. Therefore, I want my frugal lifestyle to not come at the cost of any happiness in the present. I don't want to take no vacations for the next twenty years. I don't want to wear only clothing from Goodwill. I don't want to never go out to dinner. I don't want to live in a tent in my parents' backyard (and I'm fairly sure they don't want me there either).

So then, what is the use? I'll give several reasons, over the course of several posts, why I live frugally, why I think some sacrifice now is going to be worth it later, and how frugality doesn't have to equal suffering. 

7 comments:

Gingerella said...

I think the key is defining "suffering." It will mean something different to everybody, and everyone has different levels of frugality that they're comfortable with. Of course, some people have zero levels of frugality....they are the ones who will "suffer" the most with any kind of financial belt tightening.

Packrat said...

One thing that many of have learned is that it would have been easier to stay out of debt than to try to get out of it. That alone is a reason to be frugal.

Mindy said...

Hey all, I'm a friend a Barts, and also a fan of being frugal, so I'm loving this blog! We've found the important thing is finding the balance between being frugal and preparing for the future, but still LIVING. I don't want to put EVERYTHING away and deprive my kids of basic activities and experiences that can only be enjoyed at their young ages, but keeping it simple will definitely pay off in the end.

Elisa said...

I am really looking forward to these next few posts .. I have the exact same question! Love this blog, Janssen!

B. Wallace said...

I look forward to this series! I enjoy you ladies' blog. :) Very nice.

Nathan Pralle said...

I do agree with the original commentator -- I refuse to live so frugally that I'm only rich when I'm old and can't do anything with it.

That being said -- there's two points to being more frugal than you are right now, one having already been mentioned -- the fact that it's easier to stay out of debt than to get out of it. I tell you, if I've had to learn a lesson over and over and wish it'd stick, that's one of them.

The second point is this: Debt and bills and creditors hounding you and non-stop fees and living check to check is very stressful. When you're young you can shrug it off and move on and figure it out, but the longer and longer you do it, the more you realize, "This is freaking killing me inside". I hate it. Hate hate. At this point, the tightening we are doing on our belts hurts, but not as much as looking at the bank account and wondering how in the heck we are going to make it another 14 days till the next check, or listening to the phone ring and not answering it because you KNOW it's bad news, or seeing all that red ink on paper. Not having to deal with THAT is very much worth something.

Alison Stewart said...

All it takes in an unexpected event in your life (that affects you financially) to realize that- hummmmm- maybe I really didn't need those $100 shoes (been awhile since I spent that kind of money on shoes-just an example).....I'm only speaking from experience of course!