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Friday, February 27, 2009

Living the frugal life ..... living the good life

I was having a chat with a friend (via email) today ... and we were both saying that living on a shoestring budget isn't such a bad thing - in actual fact we both think its really good. It makes you appreciate what the really important things are in life - what really matters - and you realise that so long as you have enough money to have a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your back - then life doesn't get a lot better than that. Does it matter if your house doesn't have a 4 car garage and swimming pool? Does it matter that your clothes aren't Armani? does it matter that you're eating peanut butter and not caviar? If you have love - if you have family - if you have friends - and if you have health - then that really is all you need to be happy in life. Once again it comes back to gratitude - to counting your blessings - to appreciating what you have in life.

This year is one of my tightest years financially (as it will be for most people with the current recession etc) but as I said to my friend - I won't notice much difference as I've always searched for bargains. Price comparisons at the supermarket is second nature - never could understand paying more for something than you had to. Have always loved op shopping or buying off trademe and take great pride in some of the bargains I've found. Gives me a real sense of satisfaction when people rave about an outfit your wearing and you can say - yup cost me less than $20 from head to toe and I've had it for years. Although in saying that - some people react rather negatively when you tell them - they say shhhh you shouldn't tell people that - let them think it cost more ...I'm like why? I don't have to pretend that my clothes are labeled clothes or that they cost me 10x what they did. They don't define who I am as a person - they don't bring me the happiness in life that can only come from within.

Many years ago I had a friend that would only buy label clothes and I remember her saying that she wished she could take the label off and sew it on the outside so people could see. That sums it up - you want people to know that your clothes/car/house are the best because in society that has come to mean success. Success is measured in material items and the cost of them. Unfortunately that misconception drives people to debt - huge crippling debts in a lot cases. They still look like they are wealthy on the outside but on the inside they are struggling to make ends meet. This leads to stress and unhappiness - which is what they were trying to get rid of inthe first place.

I have always lived by the rule that if you don't have the money then you don't buy it. I hate debt - I spend wisely - save wisely - don't put stuff on HP or my credit card so even though I might not have a lot - I don't have the stress of worrying about making ends meet because I know all I have to do is pay for the basics and that having the basics is enough for me to be happy.

Having money doesnt make you successful nor does money make you happy .....

Happiness resides not in possession and not in gold, the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul - democritus

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have - Frederick Koenig

Remember, happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think - Dale Carnegie