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Lynda Moore says a big picture plan it makes it much easier to make choices that are going to lead you in the direction you want to go. Then it is not about frugality now but abundance later

Personal Finance / opinion
Lynda Moore says a big picture plan it makes it much easier to make choices that are going to lead you in the direction you want to go. Then it is not about frugality now but abundance later
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I don’t want to have to be frugal; to count every penny that I spend, restrict myself to only one coffee per week when I might want more. Or even worse; well in my mind anyway, buying the inferior brand knowing full well it won’t last as long but doing it because it is the ‘right’ thing to do.

But on the flip side I don’t want to cringe every month when the credit card statement arrives and I have that sinking feeling of having to pay for over indulging; or have the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that my retirement fund just isn’t going to last as long as I do.

I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this.  There has to be a happy medium somewhere, being able to enjoy life today knowing that you will be OK in the future.

I read an article over the Christmas break, and it talked about the difference between being frugal and being cheap.  The article defined it like this; “A frugal person is going to prioritize their spending and where their money goes, usually buying things they really want, need and value.  While being cheap is just looking to spend as little money as possible."

I follow Ramit Sethi, and in one of his recent newsletters he put it this way “The Point of Money is to spend it Meaningfully”. This I can relate to.

Full disclosure, my Money Personality is Spender, so this whole concept of a frugal lifestyle kinda goes against my grain.  But what I have learnt over the years since studying Money Psychology and applying it to my own life, and helping clients apply it to their own as well, is that being very conscious of what you are spending and why, means that even my spender personality gets a kick out of being a tad frugal.

I completely acknowledge that when times get tough and choices are limited, we have to be frugal and probably cheap as well. Hopefully, those times pass by making the tough decisions, and doing what you need to do through that season of life.

How do you find the happy medium? It’s all about having a plan and making choices.  It’s about getting very clear on where you are now.  Where you want to be in the future and then putting a plan in place on how to get there so you are making your own choices, not someone else’s along the way.

Like every aspect of money, it is never as easy as it sounds.  It takes commitment, consistency, and yes, some discipline as well.

It’s very much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  Mum and I would spend hours on rainy days doing a jigsaw puzzle. We would start by spreading out all the pieces, then hunt for the corners and build the outside edge first and then start filling in the middle.  Sometimes we would get several pieces that fit together but we didn’t know exactly where they went and we would move them around, and then put them to one side until we had more of the puzzle done and they slotted into place.  There was always a huge sense of satisfaction when we put the last piece in and the puzzle was complete.

Life is very much like a jigsaw puzzle.  The only difference is we may never finish it and just like a Wasgij, the picture we start out with may not be what we end up with. To make it as complete as possible we need to start with our own corners, which are our values, our beliefs, our behaviours, and our goals.  Aligning these four areas will enable us to complete the framework for our lives (the outside edges), and as we move through our life, the middle of the puzzle will become clear.  Sometimes things won’t quite fit, and we will go off track, but if we keep coming back to our four corners and our alignment the rest of the puzzle will fall into place as well.

What has all of this got to do with not wanting to be totally frugal?  Well, if you have your big picture plan it makes it much easier to make choices that are going to lead you in the direction you want to go.  You will make your own decisions about how you want to spend your money, based on what is important to you.  It stops being about cutting expenses and sacrificing and feeling miserable, to a view of abundance.  'I am making these choices because I have a goal that is going to give me more pleasure and satisfaction than cups of coffee or a brand new car'.

*Lynda Moore is a Money Mentalist coach and New Zealand’s only certified New Money Story® mentor. Lynda helps you understand why you do the things you do with your money, when we all know we should spend less than we earn. You can contact her here.

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