One internet member wanted to know what other members of the community thought about what is called frugal fatigue. According to his reasoning, frugal fatigue is “… the phenomenon that when poor people come into any extra money, they tend to blow it on something they don’t really need, instead of doing something smarter with it, like saving. Or even if you don’t come into money, you get tired of constantly having to curb your desires, and so you “treat yourself” even though it appears you haven’t really earned it.
Or maybe you spend a little bit of money on a tiny luxury, like the brand name detergent, you love the smell of. And it ends up royally screwing you at the end of the month. Then you feel like a worthless schlub because you don’t even deserve nice detergent.”
Have you ever felt like that?
The OP continued highlighting how he would one time be broke and the next time spend extravagantly on things he did not need and how he felt guilty about it afterward. Although he claims to have found a way to get rid of this fatigue, he wanted to hear what others thought about this.
Many Reddit users chimed into this conversation, and here are some of the best responses;
Being Poor Is Heart-breaking
One user notes that people who have never been poor cannot understand how hard it is, “The way being poor grinds on you is really hard to explain to people who haven’t had to live it. There are actually studies on the subject. It’s kind of like decision fatigue.”
Feeling Guilty for Making a Purchase
Another user couldn’t help feeling guilty for making a purchase even though they had saved money for that, “I once bought a small TV on Black Friday for really cheap, and felt so guilty about it I kept it in my closet for 3 months. I mean, I saved up for it. It wasn’t a whim-buy. Still could not handle the buyer’s remorse. (I still have the tv 5 years later, at least).”
Some Are Lucky To Have Enough They Don’t Worry About Frugal Fatigue
One user quipped about how lucky he felt after being able to make more money, “I’m lucky to have enough coming in that when there’s extra, I can set aside a portion to blow and let off steam. My favorite right now is to take the kiddo to IHOP on kid’s eat-free days every few weeks or months. I get a decent meal I didn’t have to cook for less than $10, and she gets her giant chocolate pancake for free. Feels like a mini holiday every time, and I feel spoiled enough is easy to tuck the rest away.”
Being Poor Is Expensive
Another user put it very distinctively, “The most expensive thing in the world is to be poor.”
A Breakout Is Almost Impossible
One user noted how hard it is for her not to give in to her pleasures because she is afraid of spending, “And sometimes the break out is almost unstoppable. I find if I give myself “permission” for something small that isn’t a need but a want that it helps me keep going. I actually find if I have that little bit of cash that I can use as this breakout, that I usually don’t use it. But it’s there, and knowing that it’s there helps.”
Take a Break From Buying Stuff
Another user urges people not to be fast with spending what they have, “I think of it as instead of saving money to buy things, you save things to buy when you have money. There’s always a backlog of stuff waiting to be bought as soon as you can afford it, or can temporarily afford to relax slightly. That’s actually my mental definition of ‘poor’”
The Cycle of Guilt and Feeling Poor Is All Your Fault
“The cycle of guilt and feeling like being poor is all your fault when you do spend or when you make a poor decision. It’s so easy to get depressed and down on yourself when this happens. But I feel like you have to plan ahead for a treat. That way, you can keep it reasonable. You’ve stuck to your plan, but you don’t feel so trapped in the cycle of always being frugal,” advises another user.
You Accumulate Junk
A user states that the fear of not affording something in the future makes us buy things we do not need now, “And then if you buy something tangible, you can’t get rid of it because if you do happen to need it one day, you won’t be able to afford to buy it again so you just end up accumulating way too much junk.”
Keep Your Budget Balanced
A user advised people to keep their budgets well balanced to avoid frugal fatigue, “I read somewhere that a sustainable budget has to include wants; ideally, it was something like 60% need, 20% save, and 20% want. You can adjust those numbers, but it has to be balanced, or it’s like a crash diet: it only works for a short time.”
Buying Stuff Is a Choice
When you get over the frugal fatigue, you are at peace to buy whatever you want, “This is a very good point. I’ve found that once I got over that first hurdle of just having anything put away in the bank, saving became much easier. Now I know that if I really wanted to or needed to, I could buy something, but it’s my choice not to and save it.”
Do Not Justify Your Expenditure by Saying You Earned It
According to one user, this term is misused because some people take advantage of the phrase, “”Earned,” is awfully relative. I know people who “earn” a trip to Pizza Hut’s lunch buffet every twelve minutes. “Unreasonable” expenditures are often necessary expenditures. If buying lunch for $4.50 at McD’s is the only thing keeping you from breaking into tears during your break and getting sent home, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than losing the $40 from four hours of work.”
Fatigue Affects Everyone Irrespective of Their Economic Wellbeing
One user states that everyone can and does suffer from frugal fatigue, “I don’t think the fatigue affects only the bottom end of the earning spectrum. One might better call it “Budget Fatigue.” Though the aftermath, the consequences, certainly are greater in poverty situations. I still “stub my budget toe” with this even though I am no longer at the bottom.”
Some Find Creative Ways To Get Rid of This Fatigue
Some users have found a way to get rid of frugal fatigue, “I totally agree with you all around OP. Like you, I am gaining a bit more financial footing by living with my parents (paying utilities instead of rent), having a full-time job that doesn’t wear me to the bones, and being on SNAP. These three things have gotten me out of the “frugal fatigue,” as you put it. Before, I would splurge on stupid things like a big bottle of liquor or some new plugs because I didn’t see myself getting out of the bat situation I did. So I would rationalize I could have a few nice things if I kept eating my rice and beans.”
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.