Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Power of a Pause in the Frugal Rhythm of Life

Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013

Every now and then a book falls into my hands that brings about multiple "ahas!".  Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman is one o:f those books.  It's the last thing I read at night, and this morning it was the first thing I picked up -- finishing off another chapter while the coffee brewed.

Every "aha" is followed first by "why didn't I read this book 5 years ago?" and "hmmmm, maybe we should move to France....this fits us!".  You may wonder what a parenting book has to do with frugal living -- the answer is simple.  Do you pause in your financial life?  If not, you should.

Pauses are the root of her parenting techniques.  Wait before picking up a fussy baby at night, they'll likely quite down.  Wait before offering goldfish crackers to a cranky toddler; constant snacking means they really aren't hungry come meal time.  And that idea of a pause dominates my financial world.  During a pause one can assess before acting.  One might ask:

  • do I really need to go to the store or can I make do with what is on hand?
  • am I bored and looking for stimulation at the mall?
  • can I find this cheaper someplace else (Amazon Prime, re-sale, Craigslist)?
  • do I have to own this, or can I borrow it somehow?
  • how much does" buy now pay later" really work out to costing/
I find that in that moment of pause more often than not I ditch my idea to make a purchase or somehow spend money.  The pause causes me to think, question, and figure out what is really going on.  I'm bored, I'm acting out of habit, I've had a bad day and want some sort of treat, etc.  The pause allows me to spend far less than my contemporaries. Yet I don't feel deprived.  Frugal living allows me to stash away the money I might have spent but for the pause.  And that nest egg yields security, comfort, and freedom to take risks in my career.  The pause is key!

Reading Druckerman's book I'm amazed, I pause in my financial life, but not in my parenting life.  Perhaps that should read, used to not pause.  Whether it is the demand to eat, play, or get up in the night, my children are entering a french influenced phase of their life.  Mama is branching out the power of the pause.  It will help them cultivate patience.  And if the book is correct, give me more pleasure in the day to day of parenting.

Thanks for reading, and please share stories of how pausing in your financial life brings about a frugal one.

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