52 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Your Life
This time of year is all about the holidays. There’s no shortage of articles on how to save money on gift shopping and the best gifts to buy every person you know. But since it’s Thanksgiving and in the spirit of frugal living, I wanted to write about something else: gratitude. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right?
One topic that I don’t find addressed much in discussions on frugal living is the role of gratitude in a frugal lifestyle. An attitude of gratitude (I love how that rhymes) contributes to the feeling of a meaningful and satisfied life, even when you don’t have everything you want. A frugal lifestyle is not meant to be one of extreme deprivation. It may feel like that for a while if you’re going financially hard times like paying off major debt or unexpectedly supporting a family on one income. But frugal living isn’t meant to cause you additional hardship.
At its best, frugal living is about living conscientiously to make the most of what you have. It requires turning a desire for more and bigger things into an appreciation for what you have today. So this year, I thought I’d write about 52 ways to cultivate gratitude in your life. Fifty-two so that you can do one each week for a year if that appeals to you. Or you can just pick the ones you like and do them whenever works best for you.
Keep a gratitude journal
Take a reflection walk
Count how many times you say thank you in a day
Thank someone for something they did for you in the past
Tell someone how much he or she means to you
Cook a meal for someone
Donate money, time, or goods to your favorite charity
Volunteer an hour or two of your time
Have a conversation with someone you don’t normally talk to
Share something of yourself with others such as a talent or food
Praise someone else’s work
Pay a compliment to each of the regular people in your life
Apologize when you do something wrong
Surprise someone with a handwritten note or letter
Call an old friend to catch up with each other
Pass on a favor you’ve received to another person. Pay it forward.
Make a vision board of the things you’re thankful for
Cut out something negative in your life
Set personal goals for yourself
Clean your closet and see how much clothes you actually have
Donate everything you don’t want or use anymore
Spend a day (or two) practicing mindfulness. Shut off the electronics and focus on the present.
Catch yourself in a complaint and find the advantage or benefit in the situation
Bite your tongue every time you want to complain on a given day
Give a hug to someone who needs it
Write a thank you note
Write a letter to yourself in appreciation of your good qualities
Reflect on your recent accomplishments and the help you received to get there
Write down 3 things you like about someone special in your life
Name 3 people who inspire you and state why
Take time to play with a baby or child
Take time to play with a dog or cat
Take a day trip to someplace new
Make something for someone (a dish, a card, etc.)
Find the item that you’ve owned the longest (shirt, photograph, etc.) and reflect on how it’s impacted your life
Bring your partner flowers or a special treat
Surprise someone with a favorite dessert
Treat yourself to a favorite indulgence
Put down the phone or electronic completely every time you’re engaged in conversation
Listen to those people speak with your full attention
Accept another person’s opinion and hold your tongue when you want to refute it
Take one someone else’s chores for a week
Write a positive customer service comment
Provide a generous tip for good service
Host a celebratory gathering or meal for someone
Send a picture of yourself using something someone gifted you
Ask a family member what you can do to help him/her today
Lend something without expecting it to be returned
Return something your borrowed, if possible in better shape than when you received it
Put together a care package for someone (a college student, a budget traveler, an elderly person)
Write down your biggest challenge this past year and how you survived or overcame it
Share your experience of growing gratitude with another person
When I look at this list, I’ll admit that I’m a little overwhelmed. I’m not the best at practicing gratitude in my everyday life, so I’ll be putting more of the above ways into action this coming year. I want to start by saying that I’m thankful for every one of you for taking the time to be a part of From Pennies to Plenty. Whether your email me, leave a comment, or read a post, I appreciate your time and attention, especially because I know how valuable they are. With that, I hope you and your loved ones have a happy Thanksgiving!
What do you think about the value of gratitude in a frugal lifestyle? What are some ways that you show gratitude in your life?