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Frugal Fatigue - The Dollar Stretcher
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Frugal Fatigue


It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. - Albert Einstein

 

Recently I was approached by a reporter. They were doing a story on people who were tired of the effort it takes to control their spending. What suggestions, she asked, did I have for people who were struggling and thinking of just giving up?

A little time brought to mind some of the things that I've seen people do who continue when the easiest course was to quit.

The first is to make a decision. Once you've decided to pursue a goal, do not question it. Unless you have significant new information, you have no reason to doubt your original decision. So don't trouble yourself with questions. Just continue along the path you chose to follow.

The second involves breaking big goals into smaller pieces. They say that success breeds success. I believe that's true. Dividing a big goal into smaller goals allows you to have some smaller successes along the way. Each one helps to motivate you to strive for the next small goal. Pretty soon you've accomplished the big goal.

Rewards are the third tool to accomplish financial goals. Most of us want to know "what's in it for me?" That's only natural. So put something in it for yourself. If you're paying off a credit card, treat yourself to a small reward at predetermined points along the way (i.e. after $2,500 has been paid down or when the balance is reduced by 25%). Looking forward to the reward takes your mind off of the struggle.

Reminders can also be helpful. If you're saving for a vacation, you'll find that a picture of the campgrounds on the refrigerator can be a great motivation. Some people put a card in their wallet to remind them of their commitment to reduce debt. They see it every time they reach for cash or a credit card. It can help you resist needless purchases.

Finally, it's helpful to have friends to encourage you and share experiences. Most long journeys are much easier if we have one or more people to walk with us. So find a frugal living partner at work or in your neighborhood. Or join an online discussion group. Not only will you find help, but you'll become stronger when you encourage others. In fact, we have one specifically on Frugal Fatigue.

So don't let the length of the journey discourage you. The total distance is not that important. All you have to do is to stay on track for today. And, that's something that all of us can do.

Keep on Stretchin' those Dollars!

Gary

Comments

 

Anne Cross said:

Gary, what a timely post. I've definitely got frugal fatigue right now. I've been just getting by the past 5+ years, cobbling together a bunch of part-time jobs.

I've got a well-paid full-time job on the horizon and am really looking forward to being a bit more comfortable. I was thinking just this moment before reading your blog about how nice it would be turn the heat up a few degrees and know that I could pay the oil bill as soon as it arrives rather than waiting for my next paycheck and agonizing about having enough for the heat.

I have gone through phases of thriftiness and profligacy throughout my life, but the past several years of survival living have taught me a good lesson (maybe it comes to everyone at mid-life), and I *know* that I won't slip back into my free-spending credit-buying ways if/when I have a "real" job.

Even when being thrifty wears me out, I have to look at the big picture. When I daydream about buying a $300 sweater (this happened to me yesterday -- I have a friend who has a super high-end clothing store), I can step back and say "whoaaaa, is it really that important? what else can I buy with that money? would I be able to retire a week earlier if I put that in savings now? do i have very nice, warm, functional and attractive sweaters already in my closet that cost $5.00?" and I can walk away happily, rather than resentfully (as I did in the past, when I simply "couldn't afford it").

So, yeah, I've got some frugal fatigue, but I definitely learned some big-picture skills that help me cope with it in the moment. But as soon as I start working full-time, I am turning the heat up!

January 9, 2010 7:10 AM
 

sissy said:

hey there,

been there done that and yes I am burnt out I have been that way for awhile struggled one month to the next yes breaking down the task does help alot but when the other doesn't help makes the task worst of all then it takes longer to achive the task quikier at a timely manner..

Then the task has to break down to babby steps thats the only way to do it thanks for bring this up..

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About Gary

For more than 25 years, Gary Foreman has worked to manage money effectively. Prior to starting The Dollar Stretcher, he was a financial planner and purchasing manager. While helping clients manage their hard earned money as a financial planner, he applied commonsense, time-tested techniques during the turbulent 1980’s. The experience convinced him that you didn’t need to hit the lottery to accumulate significant wealth. Following that, Gary had an opportunity to learn more about how to get the best value for a dollar spent in the corporate world. As the Purchasing Manager for a computer manufacturer, he was responsible for supervising over $10 million in annual purchases. Gary began The Dollar Stretcher website <www.TheDollarStretcher.com> and newsletters in April 1996. Over 300,000 readers benefit from the time and money saving ideas presented in The Dollar Stretcher newsletters each week. His mission is to help people "Live Better for Less". He also provides private label newsletters for companies wishing to provide money saving information for their clients and/or prospects. Gary lives in Florida along with his wife of thirty years and their two children. Much of his time is spent working with the men's ministry of his church. One of their ongoing projects is the "Holy Smoke BBQ" which sells bbq on Friday nights with the profits going to support local foster kids and orphans. When he has a free moment you’ll find him restoring a Checker station wagon nicknamed “Two Ton” or cruising in a '65 Impala SS Convertible with doo-wops playing in the background.

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Gary is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who edits The Dollar Stretcher website <www.stretcher.com> and newsletters. You can follow Gary on Twitter.com/gary_foreman
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