If your frugality feels like deprivation, you are frugal beyond your means. Resolving it requires either spending more or developing the skills needed to make that level of frugality within your means.
I was introduced to this concept via Early Retirement Extreme today, and it really strikes a chord with me:
Ditching Super Frugality
Making reductions in expenses that will last is really about increasing one's frugal means. All of the money saving ideas - from living in a smaller home to buying groceries based on price per ounce, they come down to this concept.
An example of being frugal beyond your means and fixing it:
Early into a period of unemployment, I went to see a movie at a theater 3 miles from my home. Without a car, I walked there, expecting to pay $4.50. To my surprise, prices had been raised to $6.75 (50%!!!), which was more than I thought I should afford. Instead I opted to keep walking another 3 miles, ending up at the mall, planning to read magazines for free at the bookstore.
By the time I arrived, I was hungry and my feet were tired. I opted to grab some lunch ($10). After visiting the bookstore, my feet still hurt and I had no interest in walking 6 miles back home. Instead I took a cab for $20. Saving $2.25 cost me $25.50...
I'd learned my lesson. Next time I was looking to leave the house for some entertainment, I took my bike and threw a little food in a back pack. I skipped the theater and went directly to the mall. A similar day out cost me nothing. My frugal means had increased.