Frugality and the selfish gene
Frugality in a global
recession makes sense. We need to make cut backs and step up to austerity; the
government and big business will tell you that. It’s true of course that we
need to improve our budgeting skills but can it be actually done with a full
and generous spirit?
Frugality hurts; it’s a
painful process to constantly keep a tally of your outgoings and then to make adjustments that feel like sacrifices. In relationships, since opposites attract,
achieving the right balance between couples is tricky especially when money
issues are one of the most common causes for family breakdowns. He wants to increase the cable subscription
and she wants to splash out on a designer treat for herself. One partner is usually on the side of saving
more and spending less and the other is more prone to throwing caution to the
wind. To live for each day is impossible if you’re a committed frugalite. Just like the ant and grasshopper in Aesop’s
fable some of us have the ant like qualities
of saving for a rainy day and whilst others prefer to relax like the
grasshopper until reality bites.
I’ve known many a frugalite but for all the wrong reasons.
These are the self proclaimed Scrooges who exist on the bare minimum – rice and
beans if you please and they never ask for more. They have no debt and a
sufficient income that affords them the privilege of being smug and
self-righteous. They are tight fisted and judgemental of others who do not
adopt a severe lifestyle. They balk at the idea of spending on anything other
than the bare necessities.
Whilst I applaud true frugality I believe that without
generosity and kindness to yourself and others it’s an empty gesture. Ask any
miser’s family - they are good providers but they do it with resentment. They
believe that whatever they provide (even a pittance) is a luxury. People from
impoverished background are sometimes the worst culprits and to live within
your means is to live like a pauper. Their wallets rarely see daylight and
whatever you buy is always " a
waste of money!"
Mean people often
hide behind a façade of frugality. There’s a selfish gene that cannot be put
down and it’s no doubt what got Adam and Eve banished from the garden of Eden.
When we become self-absorbed we lose our sense of social justice. When we don’t
feel blessed or have gratitude for the simple things then we become mean
spirited. We walk past the person rattling a tin at us in the street, we ignore
the homeless person sleeping in the doorway and we switch channels when we see
another heart wrenching appeal for money. We don’t value ourselves or the
people around us.
means that we never lose our humanity. Just sharing our spirit through a smile is to
reconnect with what’s important. Generosity does not have to break the budget
and genuine frugality is an enriching
experience. Frugality is a tool for
seeking the path of peace. The incessant chatter in our heads is the cause of
mindless spending and frugality is the first step towards emotional and financial
organisation. Put your money where your mouth is and get a grip on your cash
flow, squash that selfish gene and live frugally ever after.