The Frugal Life: Is It Really That Hard?

Is being frugal a tough road to walk? Does being frugal make life easier?

A Quora user wanted to know whether life was hard or easier for frugal people.

Many commented on this thread, and we have sampled some of the best answers here.

Being Frugal Allows One To Travel the World

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Speal points out that being frugal is easier because it allows one the freedom to travel, “Definitely easier. I have a friend who would be considered frugal. She is a single mom who homeschooled her children and was considered to be living below the poverty line. Even so, her 3 children have done more by their teens than many adults: they have been to numerous countries (Italy, France, Greece, Switzerland, London, etc.). They regularly ski, go horseback riding, and own their own pool. They have sailed to different countries on a small boat…and so much more. And she did all this, making less than $24,000 a year. She had to pay a mortgage, food, homeschooling curriculum and supplies, clothing, etc.”

Life Is Hard for Misers, but Not for Frugal People

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Winonah notes that misers have it tougher, “Misers won’t buy things until the lack of necessities causes them problems, while frugal people won’t spend any more than necessary to fill their needs, and hopefully some of their wants.”

Frugal People Can Live Debt-free Lives

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Klinder says that frugal people can manage without having to sell something they own, “It’s much much easier. The majority of people live paycheck to paycheck and can’t put $400 together without going into debt or selling something they own. Living like this is miserable, especially if you hate your job and can’t afford to quit because you can’t miss even a week without pay.”

Frugal People Are Rich Although They Seem Poor

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Leow notes how people perceive him because he is frugal, “I have learned to live so frugally over the course of 30 years that a fair amount of people think I’m poor. I am retired. My house is paid off. I own an SUV and a pickup truck. I have a house in the burbs with a pool, and the mortgage is dead. I have 3 retirement accounts and SSI. I remain active investing in a stock brokerage account—still buying em.”

You Get Enough To Put Aside

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Kaplan says being frugal has helped him put money aside for investment, “Being frugal is much easier than spending too much. Even though I don’t get a paycheck, I have few money worries because I spend as little as possible. When I get periodic large sums from my trading, I have enough to put aside in case there are several lean years.”

They Retire Early

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According to Brian, frugal people retire early, “No, and it’s typically happier for them. They certainly get to retire earlier. There’s a weird paradigm that sadly most Americans don’t understand no matter how much money you make, how long you have to work is not dependent on your income as much as it’s dependent on your spending.”

You Do Not Have to Worry About Money

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Whitney says frugal people never worry about money, “Life is so much easier when you don’t have to worry about money or are living paycheck to paycheck. For me, I’m frugal on everyday things like gas, food, toiletries, etc. However, I regularly spend more money on things like eating out with friends or traveling – I value experiences over objects. Also, don’t confuse being “cheap” with being “frugal.” If you’re cheap, your money decisions impact others around you. If you’re frugal, they impact only you and your choices. I’ll never say no to an expensive meal at a great restaurant, but I usually won’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. The experience of being with friends is more important than money in these scenarios (at least for me – your mileage may vary…).”

You Avoid Buying Unnecessary Stuff

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Frugal people can survive on less and be happy; according to Favaretto, “Frugality – once autonomously mastered and not imposed by a third party – is frankly amazing: very close to a superpower. You don’t need 99% of the stuff that people and companies out there would like you to buy.”

Frugality Is Relative to Income

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Nandan argues that what is frugal to one may seem cheap to another depending on the level of income, “It doesn’t become easier or harder because you spend more or less money. Besides, frugality is relative. To a person making $70,000 a year, a $700,000 home is a splurge, perhaps even out of reach. To a person making $70,000,000 a year, a $700,000 home is frugal. Who’s to say which of these individuals has an easier life? I know plenty of persons making $70,000 a year (or less) living into their eighties or nineties while some who have made millions have attempted suicide (sometimes successfully).”

Frugal People Are Moneywise

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Shenalyn points out that frugal people know how to spend money wisely, “No. I believe it’s much easier for them. Frugal people are money-wise but don’t wrong them as someone cheap. Because they are not, frugal people just don’t waste money on unnecessary expenses like super expensive clothes, coffee, and restaurants. They understand that most of this stuff can be acquired for a lower price but with just the same quality.”

Being Frugal Can Help You Save

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Maria speaks from experience about her frugal journey: “There was a time when I was super frugal, living in an affordable home within my means. I made laundry detergent, dish soap, and baby food. No lawn service. No lavish vacations. No cable. No internet. No newspaper service. No car payment. Going out to dinner was a rare treat, and even then, I usually used gift cards that were given as gifts during holidays. I was probably earning about $40,000 a year back then. I socked away close to $100,000 by the time I was 30. That’s after putting a $20,000 down payment on my house.

Being Frugal Can Be a Rewarding Challenge

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One user notes that if you make frugality to be a challenge, you can save a lot of money, “I think of it as a challenge. My wife and I have a budget where we can live on $150 a day (after all the bills are paid and I have put money into my 401k). Instead, we challenge ourselves to live on $100. Every day we do this, we “win” $50 in our savings. If we spend less than $100, we “win” even more.”


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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.