If you tell a lie enough times you can come to believe it.
From people stuffing down a cheeseburger between salads, pretending debt doesn’t exist, hiding a drug problem in the family, or even ignoring domestic violence, it can get extreme. Keeping up appearances dictates a lot a of external behaviour and harbours internal issues. On many levels we all do it.
I blog about frugality. I pride myself on being frugal, conscious of my spending decisions and able to think beyond the good something will do for me and how it will affect others. This leads me to try to be sustainable too. Frugality is not just about saving money it is also about saving resources. I want to share this message and live it to show others it can be done.
Am I really living frugally and sustainably?
A friend called today wanting to meet for a meal this evening. A meal out in this city can cost a pretty penny.
Of course, I allow myself to eat out here and there. It’s a vice that we fit into our budget. The thing is, I already have plans for tomorrow eve and Saturday, so the meal tonight would throw me well over budget.
I was going to just say ‘yes’. Excuses are easy to make when it comes to spending over budget or making non-frugal decisions. My partner reminded me that we need to take our budget serious.
In the last few weeks, I have found excuses to go out for expensive meals or do extra last-minute activities. We have been more or less sticking to budget but we could have spent below.
It started me thinking about my real level of frugality. I think I am pretty good but at times I am lying to others and myself. I have told people that I cook everything from scratch, and whilst that is quite true, it doesn’t count the fact that I ate out at least 2 times a week (often cheaply but it’s still happening) over the last few months.
I talk about the abuse of animals and why a vegetarian diet is the responsible and sustainable way to go for guilt free eating but then I pick up and somehow justify cheap milk.
I’ll throw a few dollars away on a can of soda when I could drink juice or coffee at home. I’ll toss a piece of paper into the general waste instead of into the recycling, or use several paper cups for drinks instead of bringing a reusable drinks bottle.
These could be seen as small issues but I think it’s a big deal because I have been letting them slide. I talk the talk when it comes to being a frugal and sustainable and, for the most part, I walk the walk. But occasionally I slip over. I have been casting those slip ups off as if they didn’t happen.
It could be seen as extreme to dwell on such things but if you don’t they can grow. A soda once a week could turn into a daily ignored habit and end up costing $15 extra a week, $780 a year! Ignoring any problem gives it an environment to grow and that is why we need to keep ourselves under constant watch and work to improve anything that works in the opposite direction to the standards we have set and believe in.
The answer to the question for me is ‘yes’. I am living a frugal and sustainable life but I could do better to live to a standard I have set for myself. There are areas that need work and habits that need to be kept in check. There are regular budget and lifestyle adjustments that need to be made.
I don’t expect others to live to my standards because everyone is different and we all have a different set of standards and morals. However, you should live up to your expectations and not allow yourself to cast off little secrets and slip ups.
So, ask yourself: Are you practising what you preach? Living to your morals? To the standards you expect of others?
I look forward to your thoughts and comments.