And banging your head on it repeatedly…
I love talking about the benefits of frugality – creativity, freedom, independence, confidence, contentment, environmental etc and it is incredible! It has changed my life!
In June last year however, I hit a wall that I didn’t see coming! I stopped making meals in batches, I stopped using a list, bought a lot-I mean a lot- of convenience food and just generally stopped caring how much stuff cost me.
I was tired, really tired of thinking about things, I’ve worked a great system into my finances but I was making it more and more complicated every month, graphs and spreadsheets and categories and formulas. All this would have been fine. Great in fact! If not for the fact that I was feeling generally miserable. Up until now, being frugal and optimising my spending had been a challenge! A fun difficult challenge that I could humblebrag to all of my family about!
I’m a competitive person by nature and I loved knowing I had my shit together way more than most people and that I was going to escape this rat race decades early! It kept me going. Then reality hit and I realised that decades early was still ten years away.
I’d hit a plateau, and plateaus are so boring! They’re not challenging! I knew I can save over £1,000 each month because I’d been doing it for months. Yawn! I wanted the kick of the challenge and the success that came with it but there wasn’t much more I could save. I was staring at the next ten years knowing I had to keep all of this up and that I’d set a precedent for myself and it freaked me out.
Now don’t get me wrong, I only overspent by about £100 and I’m not in a bad financial state to begin with so it barely made a dent but I felt like I had failed and that my family had been right about needing to treat myself and splurge to be happy. I wanted them to be wrong.
They were. You don’t have to splurge on unnecessary items to be happy! You have to take care of yourself and that was one thing I hadn’t been doing, I’d worked a lot of long shifts, not seen my friends or taken very good care of my living space so everywhere just seemed a bit rubbish! It may be different for everyone who hits the frugality wall but these are the things I did to claw it back to a 60%+ savings rate.
I cleaned my room.
First thing. Tidied everywhere up and had a calm place to relax when I came home from work. This has an incredible impact on your shit-together-ometer. If my room is tidy I feel like a CEO and a CEO can handle anything.
I went shopping.
Once my room was tidy I looked what food I had in the house and I hadn’t really bought anything substantial over the past couple of weeks which meant there was nothing to make a meal out of and each time I went to the supermarket I was buying crisps and chocolate that would be eaten on the day leaving me in the same predicament the next day! I ate the last of my crisps whilst writing a shopping list for the next day that would give me plenty of options to eat actual food! The list looked a little like this list.
I called a friend.
To talk to them about absolutely nothing, just to feel like a human being again! We’re social creatures and as an introvert I often forget the value of talking to a good friend because I’m eyeballs deep in a good book or my phone has been dead all day. It’s incredibly restorative and reminds you of life’s purpose and your role in the world as a whole which we need as people, if you’re struggling with motivation just call a friend even if you only have the energy to listen to how their day was!
I made another list.
I looked at the things that I may actually need in the next few weeks to make life better- I had my eye on a blender for smoothies, a pair of jeans as my old pair had ripped, a piano book for my upcoming exam etc. and wrote them all down. You see, due to my recent spending I was in a bit of an impulsive state of mind and so next time I had the urge to buy something, it would be off of this pre-approved list of items that will actually do me good. I would wait a while longer to get rid of the spending excitement but it would help to wean me off.
I worked on my hobbies.
I’m a big believer that hobbies are a huge part of general wellbeing for a lot of reasons and maybe I’ll write a post about it soon but at this point I just knew that I had to make sure I was working towards something with a shorter timeline than ten years that would make those ten years enjoyable! No use being retired miserable for 40 years. I booked a piano lesson with my teacher, went running, did some yoga, booked in to go climbing with friends, tried some new cooking recipes and felt like I had something to look forward to again!
I know we all get times like this where we’ve reached the end of the ‘work’ segment of saving and now it’s the ‘grind’ segment. The main thing is to sit for ten minutes and be PROUD of yourself! If you’re in a better position than you were a year ago give yourself a fist bump and be happy! You can only make positive change from a positive mindset. Where you are is great and you need to take the time to acknowledge that before you can move on. Secondly you should come to accept that saving IS boring. Once you get over the initial thrill of whittling your costs down, tracking our savings and watching your money rise it’s a little tedious. It’s not going to change from hereon out but it’s also not supposed to. The whole ” It works if you work it” thing is true. You just need a little time to come to terms with your new life and all the time you now have to spend not worrying about money or unnecessarily shopping. You have all of this time to fill so make sure it’s filled well with things that you could do for hours every week, preferably not TV but hey whatever floats your boat!
I’ve now saved over £30,000 in 2 years and still sometimes feel like this but it passes quite quickly when I realise how much I have left to do before bed- and sometimes after a quick stint on eBay 😉
If you have any tips on hitting the frugality wall, PLEASE let me know below!
Have a great day!