I have never been known as a frugal person. Up until our decision to explore the possibility of early retirement, my wife always said that I spent too much when we go out or when we were on family vacations. Moving the frugality gage upwards is not going to be a cake walk. I am well aware of it and I know it will have to be a slow and steady change for our family.
Another thing about frugality is the stigma attached it. Some how it is associated with being cheap. I don’t believe that it is a fair assessment. When did being smart with your money and spending it on things that bring you happiness become synonymous with being cheap? Shame on you frugality shamers and haters. ?
I believe one of the biggest roadblocks to frugality and reaching eventual early retirement will be our friends. It certainly feels like having fun and enjoying each others company is always attached to being out and spending money. Is there a painless way to break away from this? Do we really need to spend money to have fun and socialize?
I think there is a vast number of people that believe going to a local watering joint or a popular restaurant is necessary to have a fun night out with friends. We have a few of those friends in our lives and I’m sure they know who they are. Why does it always have to be a night out when we get together? Why can’t it be a night in? Do we have more fun when we are out? As far as I am concerned, it is the company we keep what makes the fun, not the place we end up. Let’s be creative on how we socialize and keep our money in our pockets while doing that. We shouldn’t be eager to hand over our hard earned money to establishments and short change our early retirement goals.
The other day I was thinking about how much a night out with friends was costing me. With the same amount of money that I pay for my dinner and drinks at a restaurant, I can make dinner and provide drinks for 4 or 5 of us at my place. At least, I would be the only one footing the bill. Same amount of fun no expense for the most. All we have to do is to rotate whose house we meet at. Sounds like a great idea, right? Well it turns out, that is not the case. For one reason or another, not everybody wants to host gatherings at their home. Why do we own these huge houses if we are not going to use them? So what do you guys think is the problem?
On a personal note, I am not the foody type and I could care less if I go out to eat. I just eat to live, not the other way around. In addition to that, when we prepare our food at home and make it ourselves we know who is cooking it. It’s a well known fact that many low paid fast food and restaurant workers show up to work their shifts when they are sick. We cannot blame them without knowing their circumstances. However, it’s unfortunate for the customers that providing for their families is more important than our health – priorities, priorities.
Just read the NPR article “Survey: Half Of Food Workers Go To Work Sick Because They Have To” published last year around this time. According to the article, fifty-one percent of food workers – who do everything from grow and process food to cook and serve it – said they “always” or “frequently” go to work when they’re sick, according to the results of a survey released Monday. An additional 38 percent said they go to work sick “sometimes.” Flu season is coming. Brace yourselves.
Please, remember friends don’t have to break the bank.