On frugality

The challenge of being frugal is the requirement that you say no” to more. You’ll have to say no to eating out all the time, to buying new things, to making impulsive purchases—any other answer would lead down a slippery slope of spending.

What I’m talking about isn’t being cheap, either. An impulsive purchase of food you could’ve eaten at home is far different than buying a tool or investing in a business.

Sometimes you have to say no, and this is painful if you strongly desire the things you’re denying. It might feel sacrificial and brutal at times. Your solution is not to be iron-willed and develop the ability to say no to any and all temptations. Rather, question your desires. Why do I want to eat out tonight? Why do I want to buy this gadget? Why do I desire these pieces of clothing?

Sometimes you want something because it makes you look better in the eyes of others—not because it brings you peace. You want to eat out tonight because you can’t stand to say no. You want a new gadget because you’ve been advertised to and told you’re behind the times. You want to buy new clothes because you’re vain and worry too much about appearances. Once you realize these root desires, you will hopefully be able to think of your decisions in terms of fixing your wants rather than altering the actions that come from them.