So I really like reading Mr. Money Mustache’s blog even though sometimes I think he’s insane. That being said, I’ve even met him and his wife at FinCon and they seem extremely content with their super frugal lives. They maximize a lot of healthy life choices, which save them a ton of money, and don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything.
If you’ve managed to chop your expenses down like a Mustachian and don’t think your quality of life has suffered, good for you. But for most of us, when you have to tighten the belt, our quality of life does suffer.
There comes a point when you turn into a Netflix hermit. And I say you, but maybe I just mean I. I don’t think it’s just me though.
There were points when I was deep in debt that the only thing I really spent money on was groceries and so my only social activity all week was to go buy them. Other than that, I just sat in my apartment and watched TV.
Winter especially was the worst time to be in debt. It’s too cold to comfortably go for walks and a lot of the free events in the places I lived were much harder to find. Even just motivating myself to go to them when I did find them became a monumental task.
And so I would slip into this slow, sad, hermit-y depression.
I can clearly remember a full year of the sad, hermit-y depression and it was further fueled by dating a guy at the time who hated spending money. So all we did was watch a ton of TV. Even with company, I still look back now and think of all the opportunities we missed by not just setting a small budget to actually do stuff and wonder if it would’ve made us less miserable towards each other.
I won’t lie. The worst of the depressive, hermit years was absolutely the best of the debt payoff years. But in retrospect, staying in debt a month or two longer definitely would’ve been worth it.
Also looking back, the years when I actually saw friends regularly and got out and was overall a far happier human being – didn’t cost that much money. Frugality has a way of embedding itself completely in your life after a while. I knew how to work Groupon and LivingSocial to my advantage. I knew how to find free activities to do together so I just had to worry about travel expenses or a meal.
We can get so crazed about paying off debt that we forget to continue living life. If you’re really passionate about getting out of debt, you’re not going to derail all your progress with a budget line for fun.
Take it from someone who’s been there, it’s better to look back on your memories of inexpensive fun with friends than how many TV series you binge watched in a year, even if it sets back your goal a little.
Unless you know how to be perfectly happy binge watching TV on your own or with your partner, then more power to you.