The dictionary definition of frugal is “characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources”. How does a person reflect economy in the use of resources? This is what it means to me.
First, being frugal means prioritizing. I make wise decisions for my time and money. My priorities are reflected in my decisions about time and money. Food and housing are more important than a brand new car. My long term future is more important than the latest tech-no gadget on the market. If I can afford both, great. If I can’t, the car and the tech-no gadget don’t come home with me. The same is true for my time. My family time is more important to me than having the latest and greatest stuff, so I’m a stay-at-home mom. It means paying off our debt takes a little longer, and we can’t afford to buy a house in our expensive area of the Pacific Northwest, but that’s OK.
Second, being frugal means living within my means. If I don’t have the money, I don’t buy it. Paying extra in credit card interest isn’t a frugal use of money. This means I have to learn to be content with what I have. They say money doesn’t buy happiness, and it’s true. Sometimes that’s hard to remember when you’re admiring your friend’s new house, but learning to be content is key to living a life of frugality.
Third, being frugal means not wasting. If I can’t use something, I find out if I can recycle it or give it away before I resort to throwing it away. I take care of my things. It’s not frugal to break something and have to buy a new one, because I didn’t take care of it in the first place.
I desire to live a simple life that reflects good stewardship of the resources God has given me. Do I always succeed? Not by a long shot. After all, I am paying off some stupid credit card debt that reflects poor decisions I’ve made in the past. I keep in mind, however, that nobody is perfect, and there is always room for growth. It’s important to make a goal. You’ll never achieve your goals if you don’t define them in the first place. My goal is to get out of debt and live a simple, frugal rest-of-my-life