My #1 Trick for Overcoming Frugal Fatigue

Earlier this spring “frugal fatigue” was in vogue.  What is frugal fatigue?  Just like it sounds, it’s when people who are accustomed to a higher standard of living become tired of denying themselves purchases they ordinarily would’ve made.  These poor souls just get sick of saying “no” to themselves, even when they need to save money.  There are times I’ve felt that way, too.  So, how can we overcome frugal fatigue and keep on track financially?

My number one trick is based on a zero-based budget.  Here’s how it works: you start with a blank piece of paper.  Then you write down your income for the month across the top.  Next you write down your expenses or transfers to savings.  When you’re out of money, then you stop spending.  Take a look at my Smart and Sassy Guide to Budgeting series for all the particulars on budgeting:

Now that you’ve got the basics of a budget, but how do you stop frugal fatigue with it?

Here’s the secret:  Your zero-based budget must be based on your priorities, which are derived from your goals which are in turn derived from your vision for your life.  Frugal fatigue comes from saying “no” to yourself, or denying yourself.  When you have your vision, goals, and priorities all lined up then I bet you’ll find that your frugal fatigue disappears.

At least, that’s how it worked for me.  When I knew my spending was in line with my goals, it wasn’t hard to say “no” to something that wouldn’t move me closer to accomplishing my goals.

Do you have any tips for overcoming frugal fatigue?

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