Living it Up: Zero Dollars

Remember those MasterCard commercials:  “Seats by the Dugout $100, 2 Hot Dogs $50, Being at your son’s first major league game: priceless”

… That was just like our weekend but it went something like this:  “Movie in the Park $0, Block Party $0, Time with friends and neighbors: priceless”

There is a perception out there that those of us that are trying to be frugal either for the short term OR long term are no fun.  We can’t go out to eat, we can’t go to the bowling alley and we just stay inside and darn our socks to keep from buying new ones.  Not true – frugality CAN be a lot of fun but it takes two things:  an attitude adjustment and creativity.

Let’s start with attitude.  When someone suggests a free event or you see something listed as “Free” what is your first reaction?  Do you hear your grandfather in the back of your head saying “Nothing in life is free” or maybe you laugh because who would print off coupon for a free ice cream that is only $3 or maybe, just maybe you check your calendar to see if you are available!

I, like most, have a laundry list of things I think would be fun to do.  I would like to travel Europe, eat at the top 15 restaurants in Chicago and get an iPhone 4 – just to name a few.  However, our current situation does not lend itself to those things quite yet.

So I have a choice.  I can get really annoyed, focus on the lives of others and feel poor and downtrodden.  OR I can remember that even in our financial situation we have more than 96% of the rest of the world and be thankful for what I have and ENJOY IT!  (Check the Global Rich List – where do you rank?)

Change your attitude.  Instead of focusing on all the things you don’t have, places you can’t go and the life you can’t live.  Live the life you have and be thankful for it.

Once you have an attitude adjustment it makes being creative a lot easier!  I will note that this is when living in a big city has its perks.  Our museums have free days, our parks have beautiful gardens and fountains and organizations around the city are always showcasing their art, food and music!

Even if you don’t live in a big city there are always things to do.  When we hit winter it is frigid here so we have to get creative indoors.  Last winter my husband and I had several ongoing games of Scrabble (he’s a word genius – I lost every time!).  We invited our neighbors over when the first cold weekend hit and everyone brought a dish.  We even spent time decluttering and selling things on Ebay (both productive with our time and money!).

Also – when you think about being creative don’t just think about you, think about your neighbors, neighborhood and city.  Where can you help?  Is there a beautification day in your area that you can help out with?  Is there a neighbors dog you could walk or child you could babysit for a couple hours?  Maybe you can organize the first every block party on your street!

Saving and frugality does not equal a dull, never ending depression, but that all depends on you.  Take the next step – next time you see that coupon for a free scoop of ice cream print two and go on a free date with that special someone in your life.  It won’t cost you a thing and the time you spend together will be that much sweeter!

What does your MasterCard add look like?  Mine:  Living it Up: Zero Dollars

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~ by Rachael Judd on June 28, 2010.

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