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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Develop Contentment {Week 52}


Every week for 52 weeks, I’m sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

Can you believe it? We’ve made it to the end of this 52-week series. It ended up taking me a few months longer than 52 weeks, but I’m just going to celebrate the fact that I followed through with writing all 52 weeks! 🙂

For our final installment of this series, I want to talk about contentment. Because truly, this is the heart of frugality.

I’m slowly reading through In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day (it’s so good!) and this section challenged me at a deep level:

Man’s Search for Meaning ranks as one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. In it, Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl writes about his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp.

Everything was taken away from the Jewish prisoners. They were stripped of their clothing, their pictures, and their personal belongings. The Nazi captors even took away their names and gave them numbers. Frankl was number 119, 104. But Frankl said there was one thing the Nazis couldn’t take away: ‘Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.’

The most important choice you make every day is your attitude. Your internal attitudes are far more important than your external circumstances. Joy is mind over matter.”

In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, page 68

When you learn that stuff doesn’t buy happiness, your life suddenly becomes much richer. As I wrote about in this piece on contentment (stop right now and go read this post, if you haven’t already!), when we were first married and our budget was so tight, I quickly learned that contentment is a choice.

You can choose to be contentment — whether you are in the middle of a feast or a famine. Why? Because contentment isn’t about what model of car you drive, how big your house is, what brands of clothes you wear, what kinds of foods you eat, or how much money you make.

Contentment is first and foremost about your heart. It’s an attitude you can get up and choose to have (or not have) every single day.


If you struggle with contentment, I encourage you to read my post on 16 Ways to Become More Content and 6 Things That Will Help You Have a More Positive Attitude.

Also, here’s a snippet from a guest post published in 2012 on How to Be Content With Less by Tessa who blogs at The Recreational Word Slinger:

3 Ways to Be Content With Less:

1. Expect less.

Stop expecting to buy something every time you run an errand. I was so guilty of this before we switched to using cash. I would think that I deserved a little treat for having to get out and grocery shop or run errands. Direct your thinking towards expecting less.

2. Ignore the urge for more, more, more.

This is easier said than done in today’s society. We are constantly bombarded with different advertisements telling us that we need more. We have to retrain how we listen to or pay attention to such ads. When you become immune to advertising, you might find that your desire for more decreases.

3. Look at what you do have.

This idea is by far the one that has helped me get over my obsession with stuff. One way to do this is by verbally thanking our Creator for what He has given us. When I am more mindful of the blessings that I have been given, then I find that I am less mindful of my humanistic desire for more.

Read the full post.

What practical suggestions and ideas have helped you become more content? I’d love to hear!

photo credit

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  • Luba says:

    When we realize how much we do have–salvation, health, a home, friends, family, a loving church family, and so many other things; we cannot really wish for more. God has blessed us immensely. When my mom grew up in the former Soviet Union, she had her school uniform, a church dress, and a couple other outfits. That’s it. The family did not have a car, no indoor plumbing, or many other conveniences that we take for granted. We are so blessed here in America!

  • I have learned to be more content by making a list of the things I’m thankful for each day (inspired by the book 1,000 Gifts). It helps me to see all the little things I have that I miss so easily. Thanks for encouraging us to be content!

  • For me it was also a realization of how much my time is worth. When the hubster went back to grad school we had to live on less than a third of our previous income and I learned that shopping once a month helped us save big time.

    More importantly I learned how much more I’d rather be at home on Saturdays than the store. I’m much happier with less stuff in my life and more hugs, giggles, smiles, and love.

  • You hit a real key for me dead-on: looking at what I do have, not what I don’t have. Another big thing for me is looking at what God IS doing–not at what He’s not doing yet. It’s way too easy for me to get discouraged if I look at the negative thing. But the positive thing keeps me encouraged and motivated. It’s not always easy to keep my eyes and mindset under control looking at the positive stuff, but the more I practice, the easier it’s becoming.

  • Annie Kate says:

    Yes, contentment is truly the key. I try to encourage it in our children by talking about what we are thankful for. We do this every day after supper, and then we thank God for all these gifts.

    I’ve also been realizing that contentment is the key to obeying the 10 commandments too. Every single one of those commandments is, in some way, related to being discontented with one’s present circumstances and trying to change them.

  • Amy b says:

    Oh wow. What a blessing this post is to me today! Just yesterday I found myself in a funk because “I want to eat out more and our budget is too restrictive. ” My poor husband soothed me as I had a bit of a tantrum about the whole thing. Budgeting is hard! Budgeting isn’t fun! We aren’t fun anymore! Yeah it got to that point. Geesh.

    Reading this post reminds me why we are budgeting and that being content is a choice! Thank you for sharing this with me. God is so good!

  • Rachel says:

    My husband and I often remark to each other, “We don’t have any problems, we just don’t have any money!” It’s so true for us. We are blessed with good health, a wonderful relationship, plenty to eat, and so much more.

    Just taking a quick look around at the folks with HUGE relationship and/or marriage problems, serious health issues and more really helps us to put our minor issue of chronically empty wallets into perspective.

  • Lana says:

    The funny thing is that when our children were growing up we never had extra money and now that they are grown we have a good bit of money that we can spend any way we want and have little desire to do so. As we have gotten older we have come to see all of those ‘things’ as more things to maintain and we just do not want to spend our time maintaining more stuff.

  • Lynn says:

    Not long ago I read a post here on MSM and there was a quote (not sure if it is Crystal’s or she was quoting someone else) along the lines of “Comparison is the thief of joy”. I cannot tell you how much that struck me and how often I think about that now. It is so so easy to let those thoughts seep in without even realizing it, so when I start to get a bit restless and discontented in my thoughts I remind myself of that quote. When I do, I really stop to think about our lives and how in reality we are blessed beyond measure. It helps me feel content again – right now, with what we have and I usually realize I don’t really want/need anything more!

  • Hannah says:

    I am newly pregnant with our first and was up all night worrying about money, childcare, etc. My husband has a broken leg right now too so it’s a bit of a mess around our house 🙂 I started reading a book in the middle of the night that I had picked up from the library called “Living Simply with Children” by Marie Sherlock. It was absolutely what I needed to read, I ended getting 100 pages in before getting back to sleep, and I highly recommend it to anyone struggling with financial contentment and issues with materialism and trying to keep up with the Joneses. I have SO much compared to those who are contented with so much less, and I have a lot to be thankful for….I look forward to raising children who are content and at peace with what they have 🙂

  • Joanne Peterson says:

    I was serving on a short term missions trip in Venezuela a number of years back in a 500 person village deep in the Amazonas. One family there who had a home made of branches with huge gaps, a single hammock, a single bare lightbulb, a yucca grinder with a squeezer and more than a day’s worth of food to feed their family were considered wealthy. People were often sick, and often the gardens did not produce as much as what was needed. But, in the Sunday service, testimonies were asked for and I saw real joy, and gratefulness for salvation, family, a harvest, etc.

    I was ashamed of my “wants” and realized just how rich I am. I wept for much of the service. I have not forgotten this experience.

    When my children complained, we had “poor days” eating what the poor in the world eat and just a single smaller portion. We then ate that for each meal.

    I still treat myself some, and realize I can enjoy myself, but to be very mindful of the real blessings I have. I have a second family now and try to still remember that we automatically have more than most in the world and even having more than one room, running water, heat, electricity, clothing for the elements and food are more than most have.

  • Carol says:


    Thank you very much for this series. I have enjoyed it very much.

  • Alicia Hupprich says:

    Crystal this is an amazing end to this series. Contentment is something I struggle with a lot. I’m very mindful and grateful for the people, health experiences in my life etc. but I’m always in pursuit for more. You’ve opened my eyes that contentment is not only being grateful for what I have, but not always striving for more. God is sending me a very clear message this morning through my Proverbs 31 devotional and through you. Thank you for sharing and Gods blessings to you and your family!

  • Annabelle says:

    Thank you! What a blessing I found your blog; mind you, the 52nd and last in its series. Perfectly summed here in your series and I promise to go back to the 1st. Contentment is knowing you’re a child of God and from there, life’s changing journeys become endurable. One by one, from being child to a spouse, busy parent, homeownership, starting to ending a career; God has His almighty hands on all the big along the small and mundane things we do (or did). The value of our belief is what ultimately carries us through lasting contentment!

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