Have you ever been teased for being frugal? How did you react? Did you get offended? Did you blame your circumstances?
Or did you OWN it?
If this has happened to you, congratulations! If you’re being teased about the frugal changes to your lifestyle, then you are probably on track to reach your financial goals. That’s awesome! Today we want to talk about OWNING that change.
As you change your habits, surely those around you will start to notice. When you consistently turn down your co-workers’ daily invitations to lunch, they will notice. When you sell your latest iPhone and its expensive plan to get on a more economical one, people will notice. Or when you tell your kids that your living room will be the theater until you get out of debt, they will notice.
And not everyone is going to be excited about your progress.
Depending on what your pre-frugal life was like, there is a good chance you will be challenged, or even teased, for your newfound frugality.
First of all, don’t take it personally! Be proud that your change was big enough to be noticed. Secretly they are probably wishing they had the guts and determination to make the financial strides you’re making.
Stop Playing the Victim
When approached about the frugal changes you’ve made, you might be tempted to say, “I just can’t afford to eat out anymore” or “I can’t go out to lunch anymore.” Words like that make you the victim. They make you powerless and pitiable.
One way to own your financial transformation is to avoid talking like a victim. You have to be the one calling the shots and making the choices. Your words need to reflect that. When you say, “I can’t afford that” you are not acknowledging that you have a choice in the matter. Instead you’re blaming your circumstances.
When you’re invited to go out, but you’d rather stay home and save your money for something else (i.e. your goal), don’t use the “I can’t afford that” cop out. Instead say, “I’m working toward a huge financial goal right now, so I’ve decided not to spend money on anything extra.”
Or say something that fits your personality better, but whatever you say, make sure you acknowledge that YOU are the one in control and you are making a CHOICE not to spend money.
Don’t be a slave to your budget. You are the master. You are the one who is making the choice of where to put your money. Don’t blame the budget.
When you own your frugal fresh start, you acknowledge that you have a choice in the financial decisions you make! You could go out to eat, but you choose not to. You could buy new furniture, but you choose to use that money for something else. You are a grown-up and you call the shots.
Giving up what you want now for what you want more is hard, but learning to make sacrifices is key to your financial success. It’s easy to give in to the instant gratification and keeping up with the Joneses.
In a world of indulgence, self-control is a characteristic that must really be learned and practiced. Exercising self-control will get easier as you go along, especially when you have a healthy understanding of your role as an active participant of your life–a person who acts and isn’t just acted on by circumstances.
While you might initially feel embarrassed or resentful of your new frugal ways, as time passes, you will be happy that you didn’t give in. After all, if you give in, you’ll be right back where you started, and that’s not where you want to be.
The more you stand up for yourself and your financial choices, the easier it will be.
And honestly some of the most important standing up for yourself will be when you’re in conversations with your own self. Train your brain to acknowledge your financial moves as a choice. Don’t fall into the trap of acting like a victim of your financial circumstances. Real progress will come as you take responsibility for your financial future and that starts with what you think and say both to yourself and to others.
At the end of the day, you will be respected, by yourself and others, for taking responsibility for your choices and the awesome progress you are making!
Day 24 Challenge
Think about the situations that have come up (or will potentially come up) that will require you to really own your frugal fresh start. It might be facing a co-worker or a family member who is always inviting (or tempting) you to spend money. Maybe there is someone who gives you a hard time about the little things that make up a big part of getting your finances in order. Perhaps you are your own worst enemy and the arguments happen inside your head.
Have some mental role plays where you take ownership of your newly-found frugality. What can you say that shows you are taking responsibility for your financial choices rather than playing the victim? Think of how you will respond when challenged or tempted.
There is space in your Frugal Fresh Start Workbook to write down a few of these scenarios and responses. Be sure that your responses that include words like “I’m choosing…” or “My priority right now is….” Try them out aloud a few times and look for the first time you can use them in real life.
I’m a retired multimillionaire but I drive a $7,000 car. My part time consulting expense account is unlimited yet I tend to stay at Hampton Inns on the road instead of $300 a night hotels. These things confuse my equally wealthy friends but I absolutely own them. There’s no reason to spend a lot of money to get a slightly better experience than plenty good enough.
I’m the opposite. When people brag about how much something cost them (and it was expensive) I think, Well, they saw you coming. I had a boss once who, the first thing he told me was, “We haven’t sold our house in Working Class town yet. If it was your normal $250,000 home we would’ve sold it by now, but it’s a $500,000 house.” And it instantly made me lose all respect for the guy. Who buys a big fancy house in a working class town? The only reason to do it is to put on airs. Turns out, he wasn’t even paying for it – his father in law was. (This comment is not aimed at people who live where property prices are high, or people who have a large house for practical purposes, no matter what those practical purposes are – You love horses and have stables? Great! You love to work on cars and have a hoist in your garage? Fantastic! It’s aimed squarely at people who buy a house that is twice as expensive as everything around it, just so they can brag about how much bigger and more expensive their house is. Especially when they’re not even paying for it themselves.)
Now, on the other hand, if you want to brag to me about buying your gorgeous top at a garage sale for a quarter, I’m your girl. I guess I’m lucky to live in an area where most people try to make their money stretch. The people I know don’t give each other a hard time for trying to save money; we compare bargains and celebrate victories. I don’t particularly feel judged for driving an older car or wearing clothes from the Salvo’s. But even if people are judging me – well, it says more about them than it does about me.