I recently wrote about the flip side of frugality. I got some negative responses (as expected) and surprisingly I also received some positive feedback. Today I’m going to defend frugality.
There’s a common axiom out there in society: frugal people have no fun. Admittedly, I believed in this axiom until I joined the personal finance blogging community a few years ago. I won’t get emotional or tell you how you should treat your money. I just want to show all the young people (even if you’re over 30 you’re still young at heart) that you CAN be frugal and have a life. Frugal people are not boring. This is why…
Experiences are worth more than stuff.
Anyone can take your possessions away from you. Nobody can rescind your memories. You have your memories for life. I’m a strong advocate of finding ways to enjoy life, without going broke. This also means that I make a trade-off between possessions and experiences. I would much rather have a backyard get together with a few friends than buy a $100 dress shirt and go to a downtown night club where drinks are $8 a beer. Frugal folks may not have the fanciest gadgets or the newest Ed Hardy jeans, but they certainly do value their experiences in life.
Just because someone isn’t keeping up with the Joneses it doesn’t mean that their life isn’t meaningful. In fact, a lack of credit card debt and an emergency fund can actually lead to a serious reduction of stress.
Being frugal isn’t a 24/7 thing.
Yes being frugal is a lifestyle choice, similar to working out. However, it’s not a 24/7 thing. The reason I save money by going out less is so that I can travel more. Most of you reading this that save money, do it for a reason, whether it be to help your child pay for college, go on a family vacation, or move to a better location. Just because someone is frugal, it doesn’t mean that they never spend money. So stop making assumptions.
Frugal people aren’t “cheap” and they don’t hold on to every penny. They spend money. They just happen to spend their hard earned money wisely. Consequently, being frugal can be hard. Once you make the decision to give frugality a try, you need to realize that you won’t always need to stress about saving money. The emphasis is placed on planning your purchases and cutting out the junk. If you value your family trips, then you’ll eventually find ways to cut back on other expenses to ensure you’re annual family vacation goes through.
Frugality is a minor aspect of life.
Most frugal people will agree that they move on with life once they get their finances on track. Frugality is about saving money/cutting back expenses, not about drastically reducing the quality of one’s life. Frugality doesn’t transcend to all areas of life. Once you embrace frugality, you simple learn to make conscious financial decisions.
When I hear people my age bash frugality because they think it’ll ruin their life, I just laugh. Being smart with your money will almost always improve your life. Once you get over the negative stigma that unfortunately follows frugality, you’ll realize that you can be much better off. Stop bashing and join the frugal revolution!
I’m curious to hear from the rest of you frugal people that manage to have a life…