Frugality: Is it Bad?

26 Jun

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If you look up the word frugal related words include: cheap, closefisted, mean, miserly, penny-pinching, stingy, and tightfisted. Of course, there are positive words like: preserving and foresighted, but they are mostly negative. Why do we approach saving or spending less as a horrible way to live? First, it could be argued that we live in a society that operates on the selling of consumer goods and anything that goes against buying goods is viewed poorly. Second, and maybe more importantly we do not truly celebrate being frugal. Being frugal or money-minded does not have to mean self-denial.

In Frugality and the Myth of Self-Denial Kentin Waits writes: “Simply put, frugality isn’t about self-denial — at least not entirely. It’s about logically and purposely directing where our resources go to accomplish specific ends.” He goes on to address that the point of being frugal is to control your spending so that you can buy things that make you happy. Moderation is the key. But as humans we often try to go all in on everything we do and end up doing too much. Never spending your money can make you just as unhappy as never saving your money. Maya Angelou said, “Everything in moderation. But, also moderation in moderation”.

Balance can be the goal. Sometimes it tips too much one direction or the other, but bringing it back to center is ideal. It can be liberating and wonderful to buy a home or car or go on vacation, so don’t let being frugal stop you from that.

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