It’s that time of year that everyone posts examples on Facebook of things for which they are thankful. It almost seems to be a contest over who has the best life, who has the most stuff, or who can fill up a whole 23 days of different ‘thankful’ photos.
While it is great to be appreciative of what we have – and, in fact, we have much for which to be thankful – I hardly ever see these posts in mid-May or early-September.
Why is that? Do we have to be reminded by large turkeys and cranberries that we should be thankful for the privilege in which we live?
Well, yes and no.
It is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to take a step back and see how great our lives actually are. But setting aside a time once a year to contemplate on why we should be thankful is much better than not at all.
We should always be thankful
There are many things for which each of us should be thankful. From our family, pets, homes, cars, and even electricity, there is always something there to really appreciate. These things are there for us every day of the year. But many of us only contemplate being thankful once a year – while stuffing our faces with too much food.
Every one of us, no matter what situation we are in, have things for which to be thankful that we take for granted. For example, we are all sitting at a computer, tablet, or smart phone using this amazing thing called ‘internet’ to access content that would otherwise not be readily available. We have these devices quickly accessible at all times, yet never stop to really think about what life would be like if we could no longer afford them.
As it sit typing this, it is close to 45 degrees outside. While that is pretty mild for winter, even in Georgia, I am very thankful for heat and the money to pay to turn it on. And in the summer, when temps rise to above 100 for weeks straight, I am extremely grateful for air conditioning.
Yes, it’s easy to be thankful for these things in the moment. But are we thankful for air conditioning in winter and for heat in summer?
While this is a very simple example, it is just there to prove a point – we should always be grateful for what we have.
We are very fortunate
It has taken time to fully comprehend this, but I have come to realize that I have been given much in life and am in a very fortunate situation of having excess. Every need of mine, and more, is met without question.
I have never had to worry about from where my food will come. I have never wondered if my lights will come on when I flip the switch. Other than a serious lack of planning, I have never thought I might run out of gas in my car on the way to work – or if my car will even start.
Richard and I both have great jobs with great paychecks. We have enough, plus some.
There are many people who just do not have excess money. They honestly do live every day wondering if they will be able to afford their next load of groceries. They barely make minimum wage and worry about missing a couple of days of work if they get sick because they count on every dollar that they make. Their budget only has necessities and nothing left for ‘splurges’, even little ones.
Take a moment to think about everything you have and how fortunate you truly are. Having trouble finding something? Start with your ability to read this blog and go from there.
Becoming thankfully frugal
I am very thankful that I can live my life in a state of fortunate excess. That is really where I am, and most of you are, too, as we have learned from the previous exercise. We have more than enough to live our life, enjoy our experiences, waste money on unnecessary things (think meals out or new clothes), and even spend money on other people (have you bought anyone a gift recently?).
Seeing everything for which I have to be thankful, it has opened my eyes to how much we have been given and how much it is necessary to efficiently use what we have, both time and money.
Sure, we could always have more stuff. We could travel more places and eat out every night. But doing that at the expense of working longer, would it be worth it? You could have even more excess and greater peace of mind, but at what cost?
It all comes down to your motivation and priorities in life. You have to determine what you are truly thankful for and let it point you to your frugal drive.
Finding your frugal drive
We have been given a beautiful son. It took much time and money to conceive him. We are very thankful to have him entrusted to us to raise.
He is our main drive to become more frugal because we want to spend more time with him. More money means nothing if we miss the time we can have with our Monkey.
We choose to be frugal so we can retire early. We can live happily without waste and will be able to invest our excess so we can begin to slow down and enjoy life and its experiences.
Are you thankful for unique cuisine? Would your drive be to save money so you could travel and taste authentic food from across the world?
Are you thankful for your photography skills? How would you like to save money, retire, and start your own photography business? You could even do it completely for fun (even with monetary compensation) because there is no pressure to earn a living wage from it.
In short, living frugally lets you spend your time and resources on things that really matter to you.
Becoming frugal, we start to enjoy life’s experiences for what they are – without the cloud of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ hanging over us. Since we have found everything for which we are thankful and determined why we want to be frugal, we can push forward living frugally and enjoying our lives to the fullest instead of running the rat race and allowing these moments to slip by.
What are you thankful for this year? Does that drive you to become frugal?