Does Living Frugally Make You Happier? – Part 4

I am on vacation this week and thought it might be fun to revisit some “vintage” posts. This was originally posted in February 2009.

This is the final chapter (part 1 , part 2 and part 3) in our discussion with Danny Kofke, author of How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s salary. I concluded my discussion with Danny by asking him follow-up questions about happiness and how living frugally impacts that attitude.

When you have done the homework of writing down your expenses and budgeting carefully, then deal-finding directly impacts the joy you experience when you do make purchases. Danny says that this is

… pretty much icing on the cake. When we go to purchase something, we already have the money set aside so we will not have to use credit to buy it. If we can strike a deal and get this item for less or for free, then we can use the money we had set aside for something else – we might even splurge and go out to a nice restaurant and a movie!

Danny enjoys the hunt for bargains. He relates a story about a special treat for him:

This might surprise you, but we have The NFL Sunday Ticket. This is one splurge that is important to us—we have family time together watching football on Sundays (plus I never miss a Miami Dolphins game). I saw an ad in a local magazine saying that new subscribers to this service would receive an added feature worth $99 for free. I called up my satellite company and said that I already subscribed and wanted this free feature too. Well, after about 15 minutes of being placed on hold and being told that I probably would not be able to receive this free item, I got it free and clear.

Living frugally does not mean sacrificing good things that are important to your family. Travel is something that was important to Danny and his wife before they had their daughters, and it remains an important part of their lives with children.

Tracy and I do love to travel. We lived in Europe for two years and visited over ten countries. We did this before we had children. We still like to travel, but our trips are more centered around what would be enjoyable for our children too. They are pretty much happy with a swimming pool. As they get older, we will visit more interesting places but for now we try to visit kid-friendly places.

With careful budgeting and tracking of your expenses, you can save for special trips and enjoy traveling with your family. Living frugally increases your happiness because the special treats are so much more special when you’ve anticipated them and saved for them (or gotten bargains on them)!

I really enjoyed my conversations with Danny Kofke. I hope you have enjoyed his perspective as well.

You can find out more about Danny Kofke and his book at his blog:

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