Frugality fatigue

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For the past three years people have been paying more attention to frugality. We have practiced frugality at every turn and we are tired, but just because we are tired is no reason to give up on being frugal. The recession taught us that we had done some silly shopping in our time; we tried to mend our ways and, for the most part, we have done much better.

When you are forced to become dedicated to a cause, the emotional toll is often depressing. Standing in front of the mayonnaise section of your grocery store and wanting that Hellman’s Mayonnaise that you had always bought, you are mentally checking the prices of other brands which are usually cheaper. You end up with a cheaper brand; this was not a satisfying purchase; it was emotionally draining.

Repeat such maneuvers over and over for years and you find that you are not just tired; you are drained. What you have is frugality fatigue.

Frugality fatigue is a common disease during a recession. In most cases, this disease is a temporary malady and can be easily cured. A day at the beach or a night on the town is good medicine as is taking a break from the financial worries. A short weekend trip will do wonders for your health.

This is not to suggest that you “shoot the budget” as this would only make the matter worse.

Back in the days when the country was coming out of the Great Depression, workers were rejoicing that better times seemed to be upon them; however, having experienced the horrors of the depravation of a depression, they were reluctant to release their hard- earned money on anything considered frivolous.

Some bright money manager came up with the idea of The Mad Dollar. Each payday, put one dollar in your pocket (keep in mind that a dollar could buy quite a bit more at that time than it can today). Then, pay the bills as always.

The rule was that the dollar had to be spent on something that you really wanted or something you wanted to do. The preferred spending would be just on you, not in a selfish way, but as a small token of your worth and as a small release from the bonds of frugality. Using your Mad Dollar, you could feel you were doing something you wanted to do and that you were not being deprived. A woman who dreamed of a beautiful flower garden bought four daffodil bulbs. A man who dreamed of life where he fished from his luxury yacht purchased a fishing lure.

Small things that allow you escape from the rigidity of a tight budget can become a part of a dream to be cherished forever. The daffodil bulbs now are in a beautifully landscaped garden and are a source of enjoyment for the lady’s children and grandchildren.

The man never got his yacht, but he spent many happy hours teaching his children and grandchildren how to fish in public lakes using his Mad Dollar lure.

Try the Mad Dollar or make it more than a dollar. Don’t make it too much because the creativeness of making your choices gives you as much pleasure as does the satisfaction of knowing that you are able to obtain this much pleasure from so little.

Frugality fatigue is normal in this time of forced frugal spending. Just don’t let it get you down. It is not fatal. You are going to be surprised to see how much pleasure you can bring to yourself and to others with your Mad Dollar.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net

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