The Bare Necessities: An anthem for frugal living

Yesterday we took our son to watch The Jungle Book (wonderful movie!) and when Mowgli floated down the river on Baloo’s tummy singing about The Bare Necessities it suddenly occurred to me that this song is an anthem for frugal living.

Take a look at the lyrics (shown below) and tell me if you agree.

The Bare Necessities

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn’t be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin’ in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue ?

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!

So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
‘Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You’re working too hard

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you

I must admit that I absolutely love this song. Baloo is something of a con artist (although he does come through in the end, bless him) but his recipe for happy living is simple and uncomplicated. If only we all just enjoyed and were grateful for the bare necessities and stopped thinking about stuff we covet but can live without. We would all be much happier.

Retail therapy might give you a high, but it does not last for long
Retail therapy might give you a high, but it does not last for long

Instead we get caught in a crazy race to acquire more and more things that we believe will make us happy, only to discover that the thrill wears off pretty soon, leaving us craving our next fix. It never ends, does it? There is always a new collection of season “must haves” or a new model of a cool electronic gadget or new restaurants that are “the place to be seen”. There is no point getting involved in this race because it is one you cannot win. The finish line just keeps moving and you never get there.

Obviously I am not implying that we should all move to the jungle and forage for food 🙂 What I am talking about is opting out of the consumerist rat race that wreaks havoc on our finances. If you allow yourself to be sucked in you will find that however much money you earn, the list of your “must-haves” will keep pace and decimate your savings.

Lifestyle creep is the scourge of financial independence. Whenever we get a raise we get an urge to upgrade our lifestyle. The result is that as our income goes up so do our costs and the bump in salary gets us no closer to our financial goals.

It is important to be aware of this phenomenon and to work hard to overcome the urge to upsize. Everyone deserves a treat every now and then, however it is important that today’s treat does not become tomorrow’s habit.

I have found that tracking my expenses helps overcome the urge to upgrade lifestyle. It’s easy to indulge and spend money on the spur of the moment, but once you get over the high and get to log the expense (I use a mobile app), you get to see the impact on your savings and the odds are that next time round you’ll pass.

Remember, each time you overcome your urge to go beyond the bare necessities and save your money instead, you are putting another nail in the coffin of your financial worries and getting a step closer to financial independence.

Author: Mrs Smelling Freedom

After selling my business my priority is consolidating my family’s financial independence. I blog about Entrepreneurship, Financial Independence and living life to the full!

3 thoughts on “The Bare Necessities: An anthem for frugal living”

  1. Never have I looked at the jungle book as a way to teach our kids to be frugal people…! There are almost 4 and 6 now, it sounds like a god moment to start. Did you fins something on the power on compounding in the movie 😉

    In order to avoid the life style inflation, we have a budget system where each month we can use all the money we keep after saving and investing. Sometimes it accumulates for bigger splurges, like a kids free weekend. For us, this is the best system.

  2. love the song too! And I HAVE to watch it with my 3.5 years old! (I just use her as an excuse to go and see it myself :))
    I didn’t know that Baloo was a fellow frugality/FIRE evangelist… hahah…great!
    On gadgets: i have to say, I’ma little bit addicted to new tech and all the new gadgets. I keep finding reasons to buy them. Mostly I get bored of them, find them completely useless (see smartwatches) or they simply bother me in a few hours after unpacking them. But the money is spent.
    My frugality is stronger than my love for gadgets, so my trick is to buy them and if they turn out to be uselss, if I get bored of them, if they don’t help me be more efficient, if they don’t make me happier or simply not worth their vaue…I just send them back and get my money back.
    So, if you, dear reader, are tech junky like me, don’t worry, you cans atisfy your tech-hunger and don’t spend any money at the same time!

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