I have long wanted to be frugal, to live well within my means and have something saved for a rainy day, but it has only been in the last year that I’ve made considerable headway towards my financial goals. Admittedly, I’m earning a bit more than what I used to two years ago, but my expenses have also increased, so I can’t attribute my better financial state to a fatter paycheck. What really changed though was my mindset.
Because I was a student for so long and my first job paid peanuts, I always turned to retail therapy or a good meal to comfort myself. There’s nothing like a new pair of shoes to erase those years of subsisting on a small allowance, or so I told myself. The pairs of shoes and swag from blogging eventually piled up, but I wasn’t any happier, and after a while, accumulating stuff just got old and tiresome.
In due time, stuff became exactly that, and I was no longer enticed by the shiny and the new. And with that slight shift in mindset, I finally succeeded in setting up an emergency fund (after my first attempt was an epic failure) and investing in stocks and mutual funds. Here’s what I’ve come to realize so far:
- When you get rid of your feelings of helplessness or your woe is me mentality, you’ll have better emotional intelligence to resist the retail sirens. Clearly, you have to wrestle with your demons to find out why you act the way you do.
- Stuff, no matter how they package and trumpet it, is just stuff.
- Yes, it is possible to have enough shoes/ clothes/ makeup / bags or whatever it is that makes you lose your mind. Don’t believe the marketing machines that proclaim otherwise.
- When you’re feeling weak, simply avoid the source of temptation, in this case the mall, until the moment of weakness disappears.