Frugality, Generosity, and the Holidays

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Living a frugal lifestyle has many benefits – lack of debt, financial stability, less clutter and ‘stuff’, and a mindset that will get you ahead when saving for large purchases and planning for retirement. Frugality, however, shouldn’t be equated with stinginess. Being responsible and deliberate with your finances should not be an excuse for becoming miserly or tight-fisted. The excesses you avoid by being frugal such as over-spending and hoarding should allow you a little more freedom to be generous, especially during the holidays — the time of year the needs of other become more apparent. Here are some suggestions on how to balance your (perhaps new-found) frugality with a generous spirit.

Spare some change. As mentioned, frugality isn’t about pinching and accounting for every single penny. If you have a good handle on your finances and a frugal mindset through the holidays, you should have a little to spare. Instead of passing by the infamous bell-ringers in front of retail stores this year, dig in your pocket and see what you can spare. Will you really miss it? Think of it as an opportunity to further your education on living with less instead of more.

Say yes, and donate. This time of year there are numerous charities and fundraisers for good causes, often in the check-out line. Instead of saying no, say yes for a change. You may be in a hurry, but a few extra moments can help make a difference in someone else’s life.

Give personally. Putting money in a jar while at the checkout is a good thing, but it isn’t personal. During Christmas time, the Human Development Commission and other agencies take wish and needs lists from under-privileged families and offer them to businesses and non-profits to personally fulfill. This can be a great way to feel personally (yet anonymously) involved with the specific needs of others. You can even get your church, family, or office involved in sponsoring a few families together.

Take it one step further and give a food basket to a family you know is struggling this year. Utilize your couponing and saavy-shopping skills by taking advantage of sales so you can be frugal at the same time you’re being generous.

Give the gift of yourself. Being generous doesn’t always have to be about donating money. Giving of your time is one of the most frugal ways to be generous, because all it costs is a  little time, effort, and a smile. Look for practical ways you can volunteer in your neighborhood.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Sorting and packing at a food bank
  • Soup kitchen cooking, waiting tables, or clean up
  • Free gift wrapping
  • Caring for animals at a shelter
  • Caroling and other entertainment at a senior center

Living a frugal lifestyle is an important part of living a generous one, as well. Without having your own spending under control, Christmas is the time of year you’ll be least likely to want or be able to give a little extra. As you can see, they go hand in hand. So this Christmas don’t be a Scrooge in the name of frugality, because you won’t do it any service. Instead, give generously and you will be greatly rewarded in so many ways.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

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