How can applying the simple basics of frugal living apply to me? Let me ask you this first... Does your world feel like it is spinning too fast? Do you feel there isn’t any time to do anything? Have you passed too many beautiful flowers without taking the time to stop and smell them? Do you feel like you are treading water without a life jacket? Let me tell you . . . you’re not alone. I have felt this way far too many times. Simple, basics of frugal living is not difficult but is does require a paradigm - a different way of thinking...
First of all… STOP! Then relax and take a deep breath. Let’s explore a simple world…simple living. When all is stripped away and we are left with the basic elements, we need to ask ourselves a frugal question...“What do we really need?” Not “need” like some people mean when they say I just “need” more money and everything will be okay.
What do we really need? Before we can answer this question, we need to define the term “need”. Simply put, “need” is something that we would die without. To “want” something means you would like to have it, but we don’t really need it to survive. With this definition we need to ask ourselves a frugal question again. What do we really need? Each of us has three basic types of needs: 1) Physical needs; 2) Emotional needs; and 3) What I will call a purposeful need.
Physical needs are easy. We need a house over our head, clothes on our backs, food and water for nutrition and oxygen to breathe. Without these we die. Pretty simple! Emotional needs get a bit more complicated. They add the spice to life. We need relationships –friends, family and loved ones. We need to love and to be loved. We need to interact. We need to belong and connect. These connections provide meaning and substance to our lives.
The “purpose” need is difficult to define but easy to understand. We need a purpose to strive to live. This purpose is something bigger and more complex then ourselves. Some find it in spirituality, others in deeds, and still others in art. This purpose defines us, makes each us unique, and makes the world around us interesting.
Something is seriously out of whack! The world consumes us and we let it define us. We are battered with thousands of advertisements, too much information and countless other intrusions. We are told we need the newest, the best and most expensive. Get it and it will make you feel better. Believe it or not MONEY has become the biggest motivator in the world. The only way to get money is to earn it. How do we earn money? We get a job? We work! We work long hours. We pay for the things that we think we need to live.
Then something happens and the media helps out a bit. We buy more then we need and spend more than we make. Because we spent more than we make, we have to work more hours to pay for what we didn’t have to buy. Wooh! Do you see the cycle we put ourselves into? Think back to the three basic needs we have – physical, emotional and purposeful. Now reread the last paragraph. Do you see what listening to the world does? It tunes out the other needs and focuses a high-powered microscope on our physical needs. It tells us we can buy things and people will like and respect us. It tells us that all we need to do to satisfy our emotional needs is to get more stuff. We envy others that have more, thinking that they are happier. Our individual purpose becomes getting, more and more often, holding on to our stuff.
This “purpose” keeps us going every day. But this purpose is expensive! We are in debt. Not just monetary debt, but emotional debt as well. It is affects our relationships. We are too embarrassed to ask for help because many of our relationship are based on our need to accumulate stuff. To ask for help is admitting we are weak. We are drowning in a sea of debt. Money has sadly started to control us. It motivates us and affects our relationships and marriages. We rely on money to determine our purpose, our happiness and we let it control our relationships. We surround ourselves with such a dependence on money that we become a slave to our debt. We forget that we can find happiness without money as long as our basic needs are met. Think back to the happiest moments in your life – I bet they didn’t involve buying anything, did they? How do we fix it? How do we make it right? How do we retake control of our life? How do we find that financial life jacket, get out of the debt and back into the boat?
Here is a hint – it is not a financial issue. More money won’t fix it. It’s time to go back to the simple basics of frugal living. It’s time to learn something from our grandparents and great grandparents about a simple life and frugal living. In the following pages we will explore the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial freedom you can experience by frugal living. Join the adventure, put on your financial life jacket and hop in the frugal boat. We are about to embark on a journey to a new way of thinking, a simpler way of thinking, a basic way of thinking, a frugal way of living. Put your sunglasses on as
"The Future's so Bright, “we” Gotta Wear Shades".