Frugal Life

Living a Frugal Life

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What does it mean to live a Frugal Life? I think there is an inherent positivity in choosing a Frugal Life, even if that decision is not based on money.

I live a frugal life. I talk about living frugally and how to save money because that is my life. That is how I live. Living a frugal life is more of a mindset than having to do with money. You can live a frugal life even if you have all the money in the world. Of course, there is a world of difference between choosing to live frugally and being forced to live frugally because of your circumstances.

What does it mean to live a Frugal Life? I think there is a an inherent positivity in choosing a Frugal Life, even if that decision is not based on money. Click To Tweet

Living frugally does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of every joy in the world, I think everyone is sick of all the articles and memes telling us to stop spending money and coffee. We get it. Coffee isn’t frugal. Starbucks is the devil blah blah. That’s not the point of frugality. Frugality also doesn’t mean never spending money or always buying the cheapest thing.

Frugal Life

The Frugal Life isn’t The Cheap Life

I have an uncle who always buys the cheapest things. They can afford to spend more but he doesn’t want to. An appliance breaks- he goes to the store and buys the cheapest one. Unsurprisingly, they go through many, many appliances. Their appliances are always breaking. In fact, they have bought more microwaves in the past 2 years then I have bought in my adult life. (I only ever bought one). That is not particularly frugal. Frugality would mean choosing the best option even if it means spending more money. Besides for probably saving money in the long run, the aggravation of constantly having broken appliances does not lead to a peaceful life.

Being frugal doesn’t mean picking the cheapest option always. It means choosing the frugal option always.

What does that mean?

Living a Mindfully Frugal Life

Living a frugal life means being mindful of where your money is going. It is choosing to spend your money on places where it matters and not spending your money in places where it doesn’t matter. Now, most people who live a frugal life tend to agree about what matters to them and what doesn’t. Designer handbags and fancy clothes are usually categorized under the “doesn’t matter” category.

However! The thing is that if that doesn’t apply to you and these things DO MATTER to you than that doesn’t mean you can’t practice frugality. You don’t need to be frugal in everything- just in the things that matter.
For the things that matter- buy them. Try to get the best possible deal on them- but buy them (if you can afford them, of course).

On the things that don’t matter- well, this is where it gets fun.

Choosing what matters

Living a frugal life means making do for what doesn’t matter. It means not filling your life with things that don’t matter. It means stripping down to the things that matter. It means not devoting time and money to things that don’t matter.

There is an inherent value in doing with less regardless of the amount of money you have. Even if you have a lot there is a value in doing with less, in eschewing materialism, in reducing your waste as much as possible, in leaving the smallest physical footprint in this world as possible.

There is something good about living a frugal life. Frugal living can be rewarding in many ways.

There is something about doing with less. About trying to have less materialism in your life.

2020 stripped away a lot of what we consider to be essential. We just had months of doing with less and dealing without things that we usually have. We were forced into a frugal life not because of money or because of any frugal ideals but because we had too. And maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world?
I wonder if maybe this year could be the year of embracing the frugal life. Of embracing the simple life. Of embracing the life of less. Of encouraging ourselves to have less, to buy less, to consume less. I wonder what that would look like.

Would we miss the old ways? Would we miss the things we have always had or always bought “just because”? Or would be ok without them? Would we be able to realize with new clarity what things we really want and really miss and acknowledge that some things are just trappings? Would we realize that some things are materialistic that we truly enjoy but that not everything materialistic do we enjoy? Can we pick and choose the things that we want and leave the rest on the ways did?

As illustrated in my story about my uncle above, living a frugal life doesn’t mean the cheapest life. It doesn’t mean constantly making decisions based on money alone. It means making choices that are the best value for us- the best value monetarily and the best value emotionally.

Why am I now writing about this?

Before, a few months ago, we were all forced into lives stripped away from things. Now, things are different. Now we have more choices. We can get the things we want. We can go to the places we want to go. We can go shopping, we can go eat out whenever we want. We can go get what we want- even if the government has deemed it frivolous or non-essential. Now we get to decide what is essential.

Now is the time when the choice is up to us. We get to decide the life we want to live and the life, we want to create for ourselves. We get to choose how we want our lives to look. When you have a roadmap for your life, when you choose the type of life you want to lead-based on what you think is important- not based on what other people think- then you can truly decide what is important for you and what is not.

These months in isolation made me realize how many of my decisions and what I deem important is based on what other people think is important and what other people value. We truly are very shaped by what other people think and what other people value,

The question is: what do you value? What do you deem important?

Make that the priority of your life. Make that the priority of your money, and then you will be truly living a frugal life.

A Dime Saved

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have my MBA and I have been studying Personal Finance on my own for as long as I can remember. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

1 thought on “Living a Frugal Life”

  1. You’re right – being cheap doesn’t equate to being frugal. Being cheap is being cheap. Like you, I support a frugal mindset, which entails paying for quality, i.e., not continually replacing your microwave (that’s bad for both your wallet and the environment!). 2020 has indeed been an interesting year. People who never gave much thought to saving before suddenly found themselves forced to save and live a different way of life whether or not they wanted to. Unfortunately, some of the people I know who needed to learn those lessons the most are the ones who turned right back around and resumed their normal levels of consumption as soon as they could. For people like us, this year reinforced what we already knew, that it’s okay to live a simple life and not spend, spend, spend. There’s joy in this life too, probably more so than in a life dedicated to consumption.

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