The subtitle of a recent AARP article is “Spending is out, simplicity’s in. Why the nation’s thriftiest people are also the happiest”. This isn’t a story about middle class people giving up lattes and recreational shopping.
Instead the subjects are members of Jeff Yeager’s miser advisor network surveyed when he wrote The Cheapskate Next Door . These are people who won’t run the dishwasher because they perceive it wastes water and electricity and wear clothes until they’re threadbare.
I don’t aspire to live like them but think there’s something to learn from the superfrugal.
1. Develop income streams. One man owns a duplex and rents out the second unit. Two of the couples in the article started and work at their own businesses.
2. Delay Purchases. One couple won’t buy a major purchase until they’ve saved twice as much as it costs. I don’t use the same tactic but do have a delay tactic for online shopping by just adding to my Amazon wish list (and closing the broswer).
3. Eat at Home. Not only does preparing food at home save money but the family ends up spending more time together preparing and eating the meals.
4. Giving. A common trait in Yeager’s research was giving to others. The average amount of income donated among the group was 5% compared to less than 3% nationally. Bruce Jackson said, “the more careful I am with my money, the more I can pass on to someone who really needs it”.
I didn’t see where it was proven that these people are happier than others, but does it really matter? They’re happy with their lifestyle and can teach us all to be better stewards of our money and time.
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