What is Frugality

What is frugality, you ask. Perhaps the best approach to understanding frugality is to start off with what frugality is not. Many people mistake frugality for being cheap or miserly.

This is not the case at all.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of cheap:

At minimum expense

Now, how about the definition of miserly:

of, like, or befitting a miser; penurious; stingy.

Spending the minimum. Stingy. You can begin to see to see why being cheap or miserly is considered a negative trait. However, being frugal is not being cheap or miserly.

The following example serves to differentiate the two:

Person A is a miser. Person B is someone who leads a frugal lifestyle . They both need to a get a new refrigerator. Person A will glance at all the high-end refrigerators in disdain, and choose the cheapest refrigerator in the entire store.

Person B, on the other hand, will go about finding the refrigerator that best fits her needs. She realizes that she’s not interested in the high-end refrigerator because it has many features she doesn’t need. She then takes into account the remaining fridges, and considers various features before making a choice.

Some of the features that are taken into consideration are: energy consumption, how much space she really needs, warranty period, and so on. Once she has found a refrigerator that fulfills all her requirements, she’ll pay for it, even if it isn’t the cheapest refrigerator in the store. If there were two refrigerators that fit her requirements, but one was slightly more expensive than the other due to a cool silver metallic exterior compared to a plain white one, Person B will pick the cheaper, plainer one, as the refrigerator’s aesthetics doesn’t figure into her requirements.

Someone who is cheap or miserly can hurt others as well as himself. For example, not leaving a tip for excellent service after a meal is a classic case of meanness of spirit, and forces waiters to work that much harder to earn a decent wage. Taking a less-effective medicine because it’s cheaper than the one you should be taking puts your health at risk.These examples are not representative of frugality.This lifestyle is best answered by the question:

what is frugality

What is frugality?

Here’s one definition of being frugal:

economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful

Being frugal is not about buying the cheapest thing in the store. It’s about using the resources you have as efficiently as possible.

In it’s simplest terms, it is finding clever ways to save money. The goal of being frugal is to live within your means so you will have the resources to accomplish what you want to achieve.

Spending money you don’t have by using your credit card is not being frugal.It's the opposite of frugality. It’s living outside your means. Living a life of frugality means that you reduce your debt and spend responsibly.

A spendthrift is the polar opposite of being someone who adopts a frugal lifestyle. Sure it’s great to splurge on some new gadget that everyone is buying; however, before making such a purchase think about the many other things that you really NEED, like paying off your car, student loan, mortgage and other debt.

Also, living frugally frees up more money to spend on things that add to your personal growth such as taking vacations to broaden your life experiences or going back to school to get that degree you’ve always wanted. Being frugal means buying things that you will be making use of over and over again. A wasteful action like buying a dress and only wearing it once before tossing it in the back of your closet is the exact opposite of being frugal.

A frugal lifestyle is not one of deprivation; you don’t need to walk around in clothes that are ragged and have holes in them, and you definitely don’t need to subsist on 30 cent instant ramen noodles.

Frugality is not an all-or-nothing lifestyle. There are different degrees. We all have different life situations. It’s important to find what works best for you. Determine what you want most in life and use your resources as efficiently as possible to make that happen. Frugality is about determining what you want most in life and using your resources as efficiently as possible to make that happen.

The possibilities are endless. The answer to 'what is frugality' is limited only by what you want to achieve in life.

For more on the Frugal Lifestyle, click here

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