Back to the Basics Part 4: Frugality

We’ve touched on having an emergency fund, keeping cash savings, creating and maintaining a budget, and now a little less fun (or potentially a lot more fun!) topic…FRUGALITY.

What is it? My definition is short and sweet: saving money where you can save it.

There are some out there who say you do not need to be frugal with daily expenses like lattes and fast food. That you only need to watch major expenses like vehicles, houses, furniture, etc. But what if you did both? What if you saved money wherever you could save it–on the big and the small?

Right now, on my income and with my budget, it’s important for me to not buy a latte or a Starbucks drink everyday. It’s important I don’t buy every book I want to read. It’s not that I couldn’t–it’s that I’m choosing to save that money instead.

And in the future when my income is higher, I’m still choosing to take that view on daily frugal living. Why? Because nothing has really changed. My income has gone up and I have the money for it (just like I did before.) But now I get to save even more.

Call me a tightwad.
But I’m not.

Being frugal doesn’t mean you never go out. It doesn’t mean you don’t give your money to charity. It doesn’t mean you hate having fun. In fact, it means you love to have fun so much you’re going to not spend now and save instead so you can have a TON of fun later.

But being frugal does mean you might cut coupons. Or take advantage of Starbucks free pastry day today before 10:30am. Or  take your lunch to work. Or wear clothes more than once. 😉

Or–a  huge one for me–NOT spend your money on the dumb vending machines at work. They SUCK your money. All so you can just get up from your desk to “do” something for a minute. Go ahead, throw your $2.25 on an energy drink! But I’ll keep mine and hope you do yourself a favor one day and add up how much you spent this month on that machine.

There’s no cut and dry, “This is what frugal is. This is what frugal is not.” But regardless, frugality DOES exist and regardless of your rate of income you should be practicing it. Because no one needs to spend $150 when they could spend $140 for the exact same thing just with a little more effort.

Overall, I see frugality as a lifestyle. And as such it is one that you give yourself permission to break out of instead of vice versa (where you live an extravagant lifestyle and ‘make yourself’ live frugally when you have to.)

What is frugality to you? Do you think it’s portrayed in a bad light? How do you practice it?

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