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How to Overcome Frugal Fatigue: 5 Easy Steps

Frugality can have such a positive impact on our lives. 

It allows us to stretch our budget and save in certain areas of our lives so that we can spend on things that mean the most to us.

But sometimes frugal living can be a challenge – especially when bills, inflation, and emergency expenses take us by surprise. 

When you’ve already cut back as much as you can and it’s still not enough, you might find yourself feeling frugal fatigue.

Then there’s the other side of the coin.

Those who follow to their strict budget and feel guilty for spending any kind of money on themselves.

We describe frugal fatigue as feeling exhausted from a strict budget and being too afraid/guilty to deviate from that budget.

It feels like being stuck – especially when unexpected expenses tighten your budget further.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to help overcome frugal fatigue and avoid getting overwhelmed.

1. Take a step back and give yourself grace.

The very first thing you want to do – especially if you are feeling overwhelmed – is to take a short break from frugality.

Now that doesn’t mean to go on a spending spree, but rather, do things that will bring you joy and self care.

It’s ok to take breaks and give yourself grace enough to take care of your mental health.

This is also a great time to practice gratitude.

Once you feel like you have worked through some of the overwhelm, you can move on to step 2.

2. Evaluate what frugal habits are working for you.

Frugal living should never make you feel miserable. 

In fact, it should help you to feel more confident and creative with your finances.

If you are finding yourself exhausted and miserable at the end of the day from trying to pinch every penny, it’s time to evaluate your frugal habits.

A great way to do an evaluation is to write down all of the things you are doing weekly/monthly to save money.

Determine how much money each habit is saving you in a week/month and write that number down.

Then, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the least and 5 being the most – rate how much you enjoy doing those tasks.

If you notice that there are a few tasks that are only saving a couple of dollars a week/month and you really don’t enjoy doing them, it may be better to stop.

Focus on the habits that save larger amounts of money and do not make you miserable. 

3. Make room in your budget for guilt-free spending.

It is super important to create a monthly budget category for guilt-free (self care) and miscellaneous spending.

I have heard many people call this the “fun money” category.

Now, if your budget is extremely tight, this category might only be $10 – $20. But it can make all the difference when you are getting overwhelmed. 

That Starbucks drink, small Amazon purchase, or Chinese take-out can help lift your spirits and keep you on track.

4. Focus on your financial wins.

Sometimes when we are experiencing frugal fatigue, it’s because we are only looking at all of the mistakes we’ve made or the financial hardships we’ve faced.

But how often do we take time to acknowledge the progress we’ve made?

One thing I like to do every night before bed is write down 3 wins of the day – at least 1 one of them being financial.

It’s a great daily reminder that you ARE making progress towards your goals.

5. Reward yourself

Finally, it’s incredibly important to reward yourself as you make financial progress.

Rewarding yourself will help keep you motivated and reinforce positive behaviors. Meaning, you’ll be less likely to experience fatigue!

Your newly made guilt-free spending category in your budget should be used for any rewards.

We also suggest keeping the rewards small, but fun and in line with your goals.

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