My Definition of Frugal

by Marcy on December 4, 2008 · 0 comments

As I have mentioned before, I am not a frugal person by nature. It is not in my blood to be a smart shopper. I am the girl who if given the choice, would unknowingly choose the more expensive of two seemingly like items. I like to shop and I like nice things. I will compromise on some things, but hold firm when it comes to many others. It is a part of who I am.

All of that being said, I have still found a way to become a smarter shopper. I have found a way to live within our means because my desire to stay at home with my daughter (and any future kids) is strong. I have learned how to spend less on things that aren’t so important to me in order to get the things that I really want. This has meant that I am shopping less overall, but an added benefit is that I am not filling my house up with as much “junk” as I once was.

I don’t believe that being frugal means that you have to deprive yourself of fun or of the nice things that you want in life. I think it is all about balance. For example, when I quit my job, it was still important to me to get my hair colored at a nice salon. When I worked I went once every 6-8 weeks (7 times/year). Now I go once every 12-14 weeks (4-5 times/year) and went a little darker with my color. This is a somewhat superficial example, but my point is that I found a compromise that fit within my budget. Is this being frugal to the most zealous of frugalistas? Maybe not. But it is being more frugal to me, the work in progress.

What does being frugal really mean, anyway? To me, a frugal person is a wise spender, a smart shopper and a good manager of money. A frugal person is aware of what they are buying and consuming, and typically have their eye toward wasting less. Frugal people are resourceful and creative, and there is often a good motivation for their actions. They are not necessarily cheap, miserly, poor or folks with nothing better to do. They are simply trying spend the money they make wisely, perhaps (as in my case) with end goals in mind.

Living a frugal lifestyle is different for everyone. We all take it to different levels and live frugally for different reasons. What are your thoughts? What does being frugal mean to you? Do you have any examples of trade offs that you have made in order to continue living the type of lifestyle that you want, on less money?

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