This week we’re going to dive into the virtue of frugality, financial responsibility, time management, and proper investment.
What is frugality?
Frugality is being discerning and honest with how one spends their resources. Thrift is not just concerned with money but also time, energy, and other resources. To think of frugality only in regards to finances shows a poor understanding of this virtue.
Internally, we have resources at our disposal that we shouldn’t waste. We shouldn’t misuse our time by watching YouTube videos all day. We shouldn’t waste our money by purchasing pointless knick-knacks. And we shouldn’t abuse our health by consuming items and products that are bad for us.
Externally, we shouldn’t waste our means on people who are not worthy of investment. To help others is not to give them free things without expectations. We must invest in people, especially when they are not dealing with the extremities of homelessness, starvation, or other decrepit states of living that require immediate attention.
When we have, say, a person who may need a little help, we should expect that the resources we invest in them should produce a positive outcome. If I spend time teaching someone how to drive, then they should take that time seriously, take the lessons at heart, then succeed at their exam.
As a closing note, when we are frugal with our resources, other people respect us. When we are respectful of the time we have, other people are less likely to waste that time. When we care about where our money goes, other people are less likely to borrow our money for frivolous things. It’s essential to understand that when we better regulate our own behavior by practicing frugality, we will see that the outside world will respond positively and with respect. This is the essence of individualism.
What does it mean to be financially responsible?
To be financially responsible one only needs to spend less than what one makes. It’s that simple. Of course, it’s simpler to discuss then it is to implement in one’s day to day life.
The first step is to create a budget. Take note of how much you produce, then compare this to your expenses. If you’re spending less than what you bring in, then you’re in a good place.
If you’re spending more than what you bring in then start looking for things to cut. Internet, cable, and similar entertainments are obvious places. However, you can adjust where you’re spending your money. So, if you can find a slower yet cheaper internet, then go with that provider. Or, if you can find a grocery store that sells items at a more affordable price, then pursue that.
The goal is to avoid undermining your health or quality of life. Mindless TV shows are not “quality of life” but areas where you numb your mind. Cut this stuff out if you need to. However, don’t stop using your AC during hot summer days for example. Or don’t drive a broken, might-catch-on-fire car because you want to save a few dollars.
When you start cutting fat, look into paying off loans and bills that continue to hound you. Start with the smallest loan, then work to bigger ones. This method helps with creating a sense of accomplishment and long-term stability.
What does it mean to be responsible with your time?
Time is our most valuable resource. It pays to respect the time that you have by refusing to waste it on pointless people, pursuits, and ideas.
To start, reject negative notions. I’m a big believer in ignoring the trash that passes for the media or the trolls that infest the internet. Many people exist only to “trigger” and disrespect others, so it pays to save your time, emotional energy, and willpower by avoiding these people.
From here, avoid negative people in the real world. I see so many individuals investing in others who only seek to bring that individual down. Whether it’s insulting, manipulating, or what have you, predators love to break and hurt others for their own pleasure, amusement, and benefit. Dodge these people. They will drain you of your time then destroy your emotional stability which will further hurt you.
Lastly, resist activities that leave you feeling numb or lost. Avoid watching YouTube videos just to distract yourself. Resist consuming negative media and works of art. For example, I don’t watch horror movies because they’re often cynical and predictable. To me, why squander my time seeing works that portray people at their worst while they’re slaughtered for my “amusement”? I could spend that time learning a skill, being with my family, or consuming more inspiring, uplifting works.
Lastly, keeping a journal, to-do list, or daily memento of your day will help you keep track of what you’re doing with your life. Set a firm life goal or two then plot long-term goals as well as daily tasks to help you reach your ends. Lastly, study the virtues that will help you build character.
By defining your life and understanding what you want it to look like, you’re less likely to waste your days pursuing nonsense.
Why is frugality so crucial?
Our time, energy, and money are limited resources. When we waste these resources, we cannot invest in the objects, goals, and people that matter to us.
Let’s take a few examples: if we spend our money on eating out, buying useless knick-knacks, and on monthly subscriptions to mindless entertainment, then we will lack the finances to deal with regular car trouble. However, when we save our money and avoid unnecessary spending, then we have the funds to deal with significant issues such as car troubles or home fixes without going into debt or being stressed.
An additional example: if we use our time playing games or watching YouTube videos all day then we cannot use that time to pursue more meaningful goals such as learning a new skill or spending time with family. When we use our time wisely, we can accomplish the goals we set out to achieve as well as develop rational pride in our abilities.
Lastly, an adherence to frugality helps in building willpower. Being able to defer gratification by evading excessive spending on unnecessary things helps us develop character as well as give us power over our own lives.
To conclude: frugality is not about resisting all enjoyment. It’s all about being intentional in the time, energy, and money that we have. By all means, eat out but only so often and within your budget. Play games but only after you’ve accomplished your goals for the day. Be intentional with your life, and you will master the art of frugality.
- What was the last thing that you did where you came to regret your actions? Why did you do this activity and why did you regret it?
- Create a list detailing how much money you bring in compared to how much money you spend. Are you living within your means? If not, what can you cut out so you can live a more frugal life?
- What do you waste your time on the most? How can you spend less time in that activity?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Wikipedia Commons and Unsplash.