Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Abundance and Frugal Living

Back in my very first post on this blog, one of the things I mentioned as a daily frugal activity was to express thanks for everything that I have in my life right now. I wanted to explore this in a bit more depth, because I think a lot of people have the perception that frugal people are, well, miserly and miserable!! In my case, this is nowhere close to the truth. I feel a bit sad when I surf around the blogosphere and see many people expressing how frustrating and difficult it is to be frugal - it doesn't have to be that way!!

I'm not trying to say that being frugal isn't without its challenges. Yes, it *can* be difficult to go "against the grain" in our consumer culture. This is why I think an "abundance attitude" is an essential part of a successful, satisfying, and joyful frugal life. Whether you are frugal by choice or by circumstance, it's not going to help you reach your goals if you are constantly looking around at all the things you can't afford and feeling frustrated because other people around you have those things. Imagine how much better you will feel if instead of focusing on what you *don't* have (or "can't afford"), you look around you and notice all the fantastic things you do have in your life. These things definitely don't have to be in the material realm, either! How often do we really contemplate at a deep level how lucky we are if we are fortunate enough to have a loving spouse and healthy kids, a warm, dry place to sleep, and food in our bellies? It can be easy to take for granted all these blessings that we have in our life every day. It's also perfectly okay to be thankful for the material things that *are* important to you - I would definitely miss my computer, my bike, my favourite CDs and books, and all my knitting related paraphernalia if they suddenly disappeared. Everyone's list of things they are thankful for is going to be different and specific to that person, but you get the idea. The next time you find yourself focusing on the "lack" of something in your life, try making a list of the gifts in your life. You might even want to make it a habit to write down a few every day. Some days it will be incredibly easy, and some days it may be pretty darn challenging, but I've always found it to be a worthwhile exercise. A nice frugal side effect is that the more you are aware of the abundance around you, two things happen: 1) You start realizing that there are a lot of things you don't really need or want to buy after all - you save money, plus the time you would have spent shopping, maintaining, reorganizing, decluttering, and disposing of all those unwanted items, 2) As if by magic, the things that are true, deep desires seem to start materializing effortlessly in your life - giving you even more to be thankful for, and creating a wonderful, positive cycle of abundance. What more could a frugalista wish for??

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