We’ve been having one of those months. The kids’ schedules are incredibly busy. Work schedules and extra projects are in full swing. Then add car repairs, travel for work, stomach flu and colds, holiday shopping, and the need for new shoes.
It’s exhausting! And I must admit, the frugal fatigue has kicked in.
When you’re physically and mentally exhausted, it’s easy to let all of your frugal tendencies fall by the wayside. The couponing fatigue sets in and you quit clipping coupons and end up paying more at the store. You stop caring if the kids eat 3 bowls of cereal for breakfast because you just don’t want to fight with them in the morning. You start eating out or grabbing take-out. You end up throwing away some leftovers you no longer recognize in your fridge. You’re more likely to make a poor decision when it comes to repairing or replacing broken things.
The stress costs you money. And as a frugal person, you know that. And that causes you more stress. So what can you do?
How do you handle frugal fatigue during those busy times?
Stop stress at the source. It’s okay to start saying “no” to things you’re asked to do. There are only so many hours in the day, and you need to use those hours in the way that makes the most sense for you and your family. Make a list of all of your commitments, then determine what you can delegate to others or scrap altogether.
Reduce what stress you can’t avoid. Sometimes there is just no way around doing certain things. For those times, look for frugal ways to reduce your stress. Carving out a little free “me-time” can do your soul a world of good.
Map out a plan. If you have a good list of things you need to get done, it is much easier to map out a plan. Make a master calendar, make a menu plan, and make sure everyone in your household knows the plan.
Start with little things you can do to save money. Focus on the little things you can do around the house to save money, and they’ll start to snowball into little things. Institute a leftover night in your house. Line dry your clothes. Make something for dinner from scratch.
Then do something completely unrelated to money. It’s always been in my nature to be thinking about ways I can save or make money. But I find that the best ideas come to me after a period of NOT thinking about money. So pick up a good novel from the library. Watch an old movie or play with the kids. You’ll feel much more ready to tackle your money issues after a little break.
Connect with friends and family. Surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Let them know you’re stressed and let them offer you support. A good network can get you back on track in no time.
Frugal fatigue can sneak up at any time, but the good thing is that it usually goes away quickly without causing any real harm. You’ve just got to pick up where you left off and remember to do your very best.
Your turn: How do you handle frugal fatigue?
About Christina Brown
Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.