Saturday, January 16

Why are you frugal?

I think we forget to ask this question. It's assumed that we do it to get out of debt or otherwise out of necessity. But that's not always the case.

I was raised with a mom who knew frugal inside and out. We didn't live in penury, but she taught me to be careful with money, to stock up on sales and to find cheap entertainment.

Of course, I'll be the first to admit that I'm also frugal out of necessity. We have credit card debt. Even after that's gone, Tim and I will probably always have to be extra careful with our finances, to be sure we can survive.

Still, I cannot imagine a scenario where I wouldn't be careful. Even if Tim I could both work full-time, could pull in "respectable" paychecks, I just can't picture a life where money isn't watched and planned around.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be a little more relaxed about it all. I'd probably buy more clothes, eat out a little more, and maybe even buy some books. But I cannot imagine a life where I thought standing credit card debt was acceptable, or where we consistently lived beyond our means.

As they say: Momma didn't raise no fool.

Besides, I like the victory that comes from saving money. The smug victory of watching those coupons bring the total down by $20+, or seeing a movie without paying ludicrous prices for tickets.

And, when I have a child, I want to pass on the enjoyment of the smaller (or, at least, cheaper) things in life. I want my kid to be able to appreciate simple pleasures in life: to be happy going to the free day at the local museum, running around in the local park, marveling at the possibilities of the library.

What's more, I want him to be free from this society's belief that more is always better, that you have to have the latest thing (no matter the cost), and that the thrill of the purchase trumps all.

So, I suppose I'm frugal for all those reasons and more. I want to be able to enjoy life in all aspects -- from the occasional indulgence to the freebies that abound. I don't want to go numb to spending; I want to always feel the joy in simple experiences -- not always be beholden to the latest gadget to find fulfillment.

What about you?


Anonymous A.B. (Mrs. Modern Tightwad) said...

For all those reasons and more. I really feel that frugality for frugality's sake is without merit. There has to be a purpose. I'm frugal so that I won't be dependent on other people. I cherish the concept that one day we will have a home and pay for things, but not ever have to ask a person or bank for a bridge.

January 16, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Blogger Meg said...

Easy, I hate waste -- whether it's wasted money, wasted physical energy, wasted time, or other wasted resources, even ones that I don't see. Frugality is the opposite of wastefulness.

Wastefulness just seems wrong to me. I'm not against enjoying things that aren't necessities. Far from it. But why buy clothes that you don't love only to have them go unworn because you have too many? Why let food go bad because you bought too much, especially when so many are going hungry? Why waste gas accelerating right up until you get to the red light and then slamming on the brakes? Why turn on the heat before you even think of putting on a sweater? Sure, none of us are perfect all the time, but it just seems so selfish and inconsiderate to live a life of waste.

It certainly helps financially, and that good because I dug myself a deep hole, but if it was just financial there are a lot of things that I'd do that aren't frugal so much as cheap, and I wouldn't necessarily do all the frugal things I do because they don't all save lots of money. Some even cost more.

January 16, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Anonymous frugal zeitgeist said...

I'm frugal for the simple reason that if I screw things up, the cavalry isn't coming. So far, I've done pretty well.

January 16, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Anonymous Elizabeth said...

My parents were teachers and they were frugal on everyday things, spending their money on private schools, and helping with college, for all 5 kids, and travel - relatives in Austria/Germany. I'm grateful I learned how to be frugal. I always will watch my spending so I can spend my $ purposefully, whether it's just being able to afford the nice things of life and/or helping others. (I never want to spend 2x as much as necessary on paper towels!) However, at the present, I'm paying off debt due to an emergency, so for now, being frugal is a necessity, and the priority is staying current on my debt and, eventually, getting out of it.

January 17, 2010 at 6:13 AM

Blogger Paula Wethington said...

Once you get into a habit of being frugal for whatever reason, or for multiple reasons, it seems very wasteful to spend more money than necessary on anything.

So yes, there are those of us who will be frugal for life even if the actual circumstances should change.

January 18, 2010 at 5:55 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home