Frugality fatigue sets in when you have been on a cash diet for too long. It can cause you to want to give up on living frugally, but there are some ways to combat it to keep you happy while still being frugal.
Switching up your habits is always an arduous task to master, especially if you make a drastic change. It’s similar to creating a New Year’s resolution and giving up a week later. Typically, this isn’t a result of a lack of willpower or discipline but trying to make too drastic of a change at once. It can become exhausting.
Much like this, being frugal can have the same impact. The term “Frugality Fatigue” is a common experience people get when they’re living a frugal lifestyle and become exhausted living within strict budgetary means.
When you decide to become more frugal, you might do too much too fast and causing burnout. You may take an “all-or-nothing” approach, and that seldom works for most people.
If you’re feeling the effects of frugality fatigue, here are some ways to beat it.
Boost Your Income
Easier said than done. If you’re feeling the strain of not having a lot of money to spend on frivolous things, you can find ways to boost your income to meet your savings goals.
By picking up extra hours at work or doing some freelance work, you can bring in some extra money each month. With an emphasis on gig work in our current society, there’s always a way to make some extra cash.
Driving for Uber or picking up some work on websites like Upwork and Guru are all great options.
Whether you choose to boost your savings or have a little extra spending money for some breathing room, boosting your income can help your fatigue greatly.
Keep Yourself Motivated
Motivation is a finite resource, so you must do what you can to keep yourself motivated. Based on your reasons for living frugally, you may want to keep reminding yourself why you are putting in the work. Suppose you want to retire early. You can incorporate a reminder of your retirement plans to keep you on track.
Suppose you spend time reflecting on your “why” and remembering any previous money struggles. Another method of staying motivated is to read books about frugality or listen to podcasts to keep it in the forefront of your mind.
Set Up Specific Savings Accounts for All Your Goals
Living frugally means that you’ll likely have plenty of savings to manage. It can be helpful to keep several savings account for all your different goals.
Having a specific account for retirement savings, vacation savings, emergency fund savings, or a fun fund can help you see where your money is sitting and how far you are from your goals.
Saving money for a long time, like retirement, where it can be decades, can be exhausting because you don’t reap the benefits until you’re ready to retire.
Having different savings accounts for different goals can help you get excited about things that will happen sooner rather than later. You can have short-term goals to be excited about in the meantime.
Create a Little Flexibility in Your Budget
If you’re just tired of being frugal and you want to buy a coffee on your way to work or order dinner one night, just go ahead and treat yourself.
Having a specific savings account or slush fund to do whatever you want can help ease the fatigue. Even if you put just a small amount in each month, it can help you feel a bit more flexible when splurging on the occasional “want.”
Take a Break
Being frugal for a long time can be challenging. Sometimes we just need a break. If you’ve been living on a tight budget for a while, you likely feel like it’s time to loosen the reins a bit.
When you start to feel this way, it can be a significant benefit, in the long run, to take a week or two off and give in to your wants.
Don’t go too overboard and spend all your savings, but you can feel a bit better once you relax for a few days.
Doing this can help prevent you from giving up entirely.
Consider Rewarding Yourself
When trying to lose weight, many people will set up a reward system when they reach milestones to motivate them to keep going on their journey. The same technique can be used when you hit your savings goal on a journey to being more frugal.
You can set up a family or personal reward system that will help keep you going for the long haul. Suppose you want to retire early.
You may choose to reward yourself with something small for every $5,000 you put into savings. Doing this helps encourage you to reach your goals a little faster while getting something in return.
If you’re working to pay off debt, you can use this strategy to help you become debt-free faster.
Embrace Your New Frugal Lifestyle
Finding the aspects of living frugally you enjoy will help you stick to it for the long run. Creating a game out of your savings can help you feel excited about saving or paying down your debt. Embracing your new lifestyle will help you maintain your new habits and enjoy what you’re doing.
Ensure you’re being realistic with your goals, budgeting for fun and entertainment, and don’t go for an all-or-nothing approach. You can find plenty of great budget templates online, including proportional budgeting and the zero-sum budget.
Living frugally can’t be all work and no fun. Otherwise, you won’t want to stick with it in the long term. Learn to take breaks when you need to, set some money aside each month for your wants. Even if you don’t spend it all each month, you’re just going to have more money in the future to spend on the occasional thing you want.
Even when you’re a naturally frugal person, sometimes you want to step outside of your lifestyle and relax a little. When we are consistently encouraged to have expensive items and spend money frivolously, it can be hard to maintain a frugal lifestyle.
With any big lifestyle change, you should be prepared to not be perfect 100% of the time. Suppose you feel the impact of frugality fatigue. In that case, it’s perfectly okay to take a break or work on some other strategies to feel better while still meeting your goals.