How a Frugal Life Can Be a Happier One

Here’s a million-dollar question for you: can you think of a time in your life when you were happier than you are now, but you had less money to your name? For a lot of us, that answer, surprisingly, is yes. It’s a simple question, but it makes a profound point—money is certainly not the answer to finding happiness.

Hiker on Peak Rock

So if money doesn’t buy happiness, then does that mean that happiness is achievable even when you are forced to adopt a lifestyle of frugal living? Here is a look at some of the many ways that frugal living can actually lead to increased overall happiness.

You live without debt.

As this article about living debt-free points out, frugal living, when done right, means that you can live without the burden of debt. Sure, there are some types of debt that most of us can’t avoid—a mortgage and car loan, for example—but when these are the only forms of debt you have to manage, you are in strong financial shape.

You stress less.

On a related note, living frugally simply helps you stress less. You worry less about paying off superfluous debts; you worry less about how you are going to finance the latest thing that you must have; and you don’t worry as much about fluctuations in the economy or about the strength of the U.S. dollar.

You want less.

It’s remarkable how much of a burden wanting things can be. You long for the newest model of that TV, for the latest trends in fashion, or for the most up-to-date appliances for your kitchen, all while knowing that these wants are simply out of your financial reach. The longer you practice frugal living, however, the more practice you get with simply wanting less. You learn to be satisfied with the quality of your current TV, with the amount of clothes in your closet, and with the quality of the appliances currently installed in your kitchen. Over time, the latest trends in technology and fashion simply don’t hold the place they once did in your heart.

Putting money coins

You realize that life isn’t about “things.”

On a similar note, frugal living can really help you put your life’s priorities in place, as you are forced to spend money only on those things that truly matter. Instead of spending money on a high-end pair of shoes, for example, you might choose to spend that money on a fun outing for you and your family. Or instead of getting that cup of coffee every morning, you might decide to forgoing the cup of coffee every morning gives you the means to make a donation to your favorite charity every month. When in budgeting you are constantly forced to consider which expenses best deserve your attention, you are more likely to pay attention to the things that matter.

You have more free time.

Living frugally can also grant you more free time if you play your cards right. If you have a job that pays decently well, for example, yet you budget as if your income is much lower, you have the freedom to work less than full-time if you want. This gives you more time to pursue wholesome activities and hobbies, such as yoga, music, photography, or travel.

You can retire early.

Living frugally over a matter of decades can really pay off, as it could mean retiring early. If you are more frugal now, you can put away more money now for retirement. And if you grow used to living on less, you simply won’t need to put away as much money for your retirement. Ultimately, this means that you won’t have to wait until you are in your mid-sixties to retire.

Happy Donation

You help the environment.

Those who live frugally tend to generate less trash because they learn to reuse and repurpose what they have. They also tend to use more public transportation, carpool, use less electricity, and run less water. These are all things that help keep costs down, but the fact that they help the environment as well sure can’t hurt, either.

You can give more.

Not everyone who practices frugal living does it because they have to; some do it because it gives them the opportunity to give more to organizations they care about. When you reduce your own expenses and save money, you can be more generous in the charitable donations you make. And when has giving to a great cause not made you happier?

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