The very concept of frugality makes many people worry. It’s commonly thought that people who save money or live frugal must be miserable, constantly watching their pennies and being unable to spend money on the things they love.

Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth… many frugal individuals end up millionaires, and those who don’t simply use their money for the things they really want, making them happier in many ways than people who go to buy a new car every year but never quite fill that empty space inside by shopping.

Budgeting is an intelligent and necessary activity for those who want to do well at personal finance. Some people believe that budgeting is a sure way to drive yourself crazy, but in fact, it’s really not that hard or misery-inducing. It allows you to get a complete financial picture, which might be scary at first, but with good money management skills you can pay off even the worst of debts and put far more money into your savings than you thought was possible.

Shopping smart is another way many people save money without ending up miserable. It’s often cheaper to buy a larger size – but not always, so bring a calculator or pen and paper. Other ways of saving money are to purchase a brand that isn’t commonly recognized, or simply buy a product from a different store (bathroom products can be found in the same brands for less money in dollar stores).

Getting extra money is another way of freeing up money to spend as you please while still saving money. If you are only living with the minimum and can’t cut back your expenses any further, because you have no cable TV and you already shop smart or cook in bulk to save money, then you may need to increase your income in order to save money. Some people do this by taking a part-time job at a local store, mall, or even online. Others take up a hobby and find a way to turn it into their own business. Still others find a way of providing a service to those who need it to generate extra income. Just remember, the money you make isn’t all “free money” to do as you please with… set up some type of system where you can spend a percentage of what you make and put the rest into savings.

The essence of saving money without being miserable, however, is to determine what’s really important to you and what you really need in order to do these important things. For instance, if your passion is fishing, you don’t need to become rich and retire in order to go fishing… you can take a few week’s vacation and travel, or even turn fishing into a job by writing, speaking, or teaching about it. When it comes to most hobbies or true passions in life, you don’t actually need a lot of money to pursue them. Just be aware of what you truly want and what you’re aiming to get, and make sure they’re the same thing in the end.

Saving money without being miserable is entirely possible. In fact, once you start, it can even turn into a fun activity in and of itself!