I once stayed at a home in which everything was perfect. It was a beautiful home – beautifully decorated and landscaped – and it felt like it was ripped right from the pages of a Better Homes and Garden magazine.
When I was younger, I would have let jealousy get the better of me after visiting this home. I would returned to my house and immediately started shopping and pinning things on Pinterest. But when we made a change in our thinking about debt, I started finding contentment in a frugal home.
Now, when I talk about a “frugal” home, I’m not talking about its market value. It doesn’t matter whether you have a $40,000 house or a $400,000 one. What matters is how you live inside that house. Are you living well within your means? Do you shop for the best deals? Do you buy secondhand? Are you taking good care of what you have? Are you willing to take on DIY projects? Are you living a frugal life? That’s what matters.
I found contentment in a frugal home through several changes in thinking. Most of these below are pulled from a helpful, life-changing, yet simple book Little House Living: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life
First, I stopped caring about everything matching. It doesn’t really matter if all your dishes match. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a complete bathroom towel set or sheets that match with your blankets. Just enjoy what you have and embrace your own eclectic, thrifty style.
I also began to seek out secondhand goods. The oversized Lazy Boy recliner I picked up at an estate sale for $75 brings great comfort to my husband after a long day at work. The mixing bowls I picked up at a garage sale are perfect for my baking projects. I love that I’m not contributing to a big corporation and I’m helping the environment by keeping other people’s stuff from the landfill. When I look at my secondhand things, I feel content knowing that I never paid close to full price. The money I save can be put toward more important things.
Another way I found contentment in my frugal home was to let go of an obsession with things. Clearing out excess clutter allowed me to find more space in my home. More space means less mental clutter. And if I put that excess clutter in my garage sale, I might make a little extra money. If I donate those items, I can sleep easier knowing they’ve helped someone in need. When you start to see stuff as just stuff, it becomes much easier to be content without it around.
I found contentment when I stopped following trends. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at home decorating magazines or watching shows on HGTV. I don’t “oooh and aaahhh” over new decorating lines at department stores. I stick to what I like and find to be useful, and I don’t really worry much about what others think about it.
When I didn’t like something in my home, I found frugal ways to change it. I found pleasure in scouring shops and sales for the perfect low-cost piece to furnish my family room. If I couldn’t afford to remodel a space, I waited for a great sale and bought paint to give the room a new look. If the couch cushion ripped and couldn’t be repaired, I flipped the cushions over and made it look new again. If a space felt cramped, I decluttered it. Sometimes a good cleaning is all you need to make your space more enjoyable.
Gratitude is a great way to find contentment in a frugal home. I found that the more I looked around my home and really thought about all that I have, the more I appreciated those things. And the more I appreciated those things, the happier I was with my frugal home and frugal life.
We all have many reasons to live a frugal life. For some, it’s an absolute necessity for survival. For others, it’s a way to ensure a stable financial future. Regardless of your reasons, finding contentment in your frugal home is a key to lifelong happiness.