How to Overcome Frugal Fatigue

Tired of Living Frugal

Tired as heck from saving too much?

One of the issues that has arisen with the recent economic troubles (and is likely to rise again with concerns about the U.S. deficit and the recent S&P credit rating downgrade) is that of frugal fatigue.

Many people began living more frugally after the 2008 global financial crisis, and continue making efforts to live frugally in the face of further economic uncertainty.

However, after a while it can become wearing to save too much. We make restrictive budgets, and we try to avoid spending money.

Over time, all this restrictiveness can result in a condition known as “frugal fatigue,” in which you simply get tired of always pinching pennies and trying to deny yourself. In some cases, frugal fatigue can result in getting a little crazy with the spending in order to “make up” for all of the ways you have denied yourself.

Before you let frugal fatigue get the best of you, here are some things you can try to combat the feeling:

Focus on What You Already Have

Take a look at what you already have. In many cases, frugal fatigue comes from wishing you had something else. Before you get too wrapped up in what you have been denying yourself, take a look at the good things in your life. Some of these might include:

  • Good food to eat
  • A few comforts at home
  • Family
  • Good friends
  • Your health
  • A roof over your head
  • Good books to read
  • The park nearby
  • Family game night
  • The occasional treat

In many cases, you might have more than you thought. Focusing your energy on being grateful what you have, rather than always pining for what you don’t have, can really help you get over frugal fatigue.

Splurge on Something Small

Another great way to avoid falling prey to frugal fatigue is to plan small splurges. You can set money aside each month in a “splurge fund.” This will allow you to get something fun, and keep you going.

Rather than just getting sick of it all and splurging big, a few small splurges, when they make sense for your budget, can help you feel as though you are enjoying life without breaking the bank or sacrificing your frugal lifestyle.

Some small splurges might include getting ice cream, buying a new book, visiting the cheap theater, buying a piece of sports equipment, or getting an inexpensive used video game. When you take the time to enjoy yourself, and use some of your money for “fun,” you will be less inclined to give up your frugal habits altogether.

Look for Discounts on Things You Like to Do

You can also enjoy yourself, and avoid frugal fatigue, by looking for discounted activities. Look for discount passes to amusement parks, or join a daily deal site to help you get access to great deals. (Just make sure you are careful of what you buy.)

You can also look for discounted activities around town, such as summer concerts in the park, sledding at a local hill, camping, bike riding, and checking out books and movies at the library. Keep an eye out for free museum days, or kids eat free days at local restaurants.

This will help you stay on top of your frugal budget, while still ensure that you have some fun and avoid frugal fatigue.

What are some of your ideas for avoiding frugal fatigue?

Photo by MandCo

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  1. For me it’s all about planning. So many times I show up at work with my lunch prepared. Other co-workers show up scrambling for food and complaining about the fact that they’re hungry.

    “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”

  2. I really like the idea of starting a “splurge fund.” Just knowing I’ve got a category of this type is worth waiting for until there’s enough to go ahead and splurge. That way, there’s no going into other categories in the budget and taking what funds are set aside for specific things. I really dislike the concept of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

    For me, a special frugal splurge is a free book I can download for my Kindle (this I received as a Christmas gift).

  3. Kody @ Financial Money tips says:

    Ya frugal fatigue hits me hard sometimes. I had this just a couple days ago. I have been living frugal all year long until i had no choice but to go buy a cheap used book, and a cheaped used video game. With all this work ive been doing it felt good and eased my mind. Thanks for the tips

  4. Carrie Smith says:

    Frugal Fatigue is very similar to being on a diet. You starve, starve, starve until you can’t handle it anymore and just binge on everything in sight. But you have mentioned great ways to avoid that endless cycle. Keeping your life in perspective, enjoying the small splurges and finding high quality of life in low cost activities are great ways to overcome frugal fatigue. Awesome advice!

  5. krantcents says:

    What works for me is to switch things up before I experience frugal fatigue. Whether it is finding discounts for necessities or other cost saving measures helps keep you on track.

  6. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Sounds like an eating disorder but with money. What helps me is celebrating with family and friends. Splurging on going out to eat for lunch or dinner. Or doing something fun with someone because of a coupon. Two-for-one adventure, anyone?

  7. says:

    I love that reflecting on what you’ve accomplished so far is key to this idea. It’s a great point and could do a lot to prevent the frugal fatigue!