Two Enemies of Frugality: Complacency and Dissatisfaction
Your satisfaction rules your ability to succeed with frugality and other lifestyle changes. If you’re mostly satisfied and complacent, then there’s no motivation for change. If you’re mostly dissatisfied with your life, you’ll probably try to fix it with quick and easy amusements, which is the very mantra of consumer culture. Frugality comes not from dissatisfaction or its opposite, it’s a choice by seekers who enjoy the journey.
This article doesn’t have how-to information. It doesn’t even have poetic undertones. It’s simply an expression of frustration at those who think frugality is a fun hobby they might want to pick up some day.
Frugality Enemy #1: Complacency and Its Many Masks
- “I’m too old to learn how to do things in a new way.”
- “I make enough money, I don’t need to live frugally. I can afford to enjoy life.”
- “I have so many things to do, I don’t have time to clip coupons.”
I certainly have, and it’s infuriating. Fundamentally, they’re all the same thing – the speakers don’t want to try, and have no real reason. What reason could there be to avoid trying to live frugally? Consider each of those statements, rephrased to be less self-flattering.
- “I don’t want to do anything new, I’m on my way out.”
- “My self-esteem is derived from flaunting my money, so living frugally would hurt me.”
- “I have to work really hard to be able to afford things gotten expensively, so I don’t have time to get things cheaply.”
It just boils down to self-image, does it not? The core concept of each of them is that the speakers have no belief in themselves. I’m certainly not going to attempt to address self-esteem issues in this post, but most likely, if that’s you, you just heard a lot of negative things when you were young. And I know that’s not just a “just”, but the fundamental endeavor of becoming an adult is overcoming your childhood. Your mean old parent isn’t a reason for you to feel badly anymore.
If you were abused, seek counseling now. If you weren’t abused, get over it. Do better with your kids, don’t pass it on, and pull up your socks. Living in the shadow of inherited failure your entire life would be a waste. Don’t think you can do it? Stop being a damn wuss. Survival Sherpa’s article titled 5 De-Wussification Lessons From Daddy’s Crocked Toe is a mandatory read for wusses.
There’s no such thing as being too old or too young. Sure, maybe if you’re just getting started with guitar at age 60 you’re never going to be Jimi Hendrix, and that’s just fine. Grown-ass men shouldn’t be trying to be Jimi Hendrix. They should be enjoying themselves without hurting others.
Becoming frugal just makes sense. Living frugally reduces the amount of time you have to spend working to live, so double-down for a bit so that you can free yourself from that horrible schedule. Living frugally is a prepper skill, because you never know when your work situation or personal finances could head south.
Frugality Enemy #2: Dissatisfaction as a Tool by the Establishment
Any modern American who lives an unexamined life is dissatisfied. We’re raised to be that way. People want to be millionaires. They want to have nice things. They want to not be bored.
These motivations are not natural to you, friends! Young children are fascinated just wandering a field. I’m not calling you a child, I’m saying that there’s a magic afoot in the world that you’ve forgotten. On top of that, humanity has learned so many fascinating things and much of that knowledge is available to you! Hell, you’re reading this post using the very medium that could bring you more interesting experiments and weekend projects than you could ever hope to complete. My new project is growing mushrooms because I realized that that’s a foodstuff that will work even if there’s a volcanic or nuclear winter. There’s so much to do, and most of it costs nearly nothing.
Beyond this wonderful opportunity given to us by virtue of being free citizens of the world, there’s danger on the horizon for the establishment, and there always will be. Perhaps nothing cataclysmic will happen. Fine, but perhaps it will. If you spend your days and money on expensive things that don’t contribute to your self-sufficiency, you’re a zombie. If major SHTF, then you’ll be wandering, seeking meaning in the true world that’s revealed to you when the societal cages of man collapse and you have to fend for yourself. Preppers know this, and it doesn’t matter at all what stigma is rolled out there by crazies and National Geographic – we prep because we see deeper. It’s not just about disaster preparedness, or it shouldn’t be. It’s about independence and the ability to take care of those we love no matter what. We’re leaning away from the latest iPhone and toward the fundamental world that lies underneath the glamour and triviality of the social vision indoctrinated into us.
Consumerism is addictive. Once you’ve been publicly praised for having some nice clothes or whatever, you get that rush of recognition and you want to reproduce it. Social status from money seems somehow easier than social status from ability, doesn’t it? You just need to slave away for a bit and then, boom, you’re the king of crap mountain for a day. And so entire lives are spent slaving away to be crap king. But if you work for it, self-esteem can come from your capabilities. And that’s the real deal, friends, that’s real confidence.
You’re supposed to be aggressive, social, and happy. These are things we’re born with, that are stripped away during indoctrination so that we can be neatly recreated within gender roles, race roles, work roles, and other “hats” that we wear when the time comes to wear them. Perhaps there’s some value there, too, if you consciously choose which attributes describe the person you want to be. It’s stereotypical that the man is a provider, and I love to work at being a good provider. Wasn’t born with that, but I consciously choose that for myself. I also choose to not define myself by my occupation, to not compete in prestige wars with those around me, and to keep a low profile. These things describe the life I want to live, and so these things are what I work on to maintain my happiness. Whether you have consciously chosen or not, you’ve made decisions about who you want to be.
Living frugally helps you disengage from the machine, to discover yourself underneath all that dogma and imposed identity. If you’re dissatisfied, don’t distract yourself from it. Figure out who you want to be, really, not who you have been taught you should be. Then go hang out with dogs and children, and be that person. They’ll help you remember what all those advertisements have made you forget.
Thank you for stopping by, dear readers.
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