Frugal Living Does Not Equal Depriving Yourself
In today’s materialistic society, it seems like everyone tries to outdo everyone else. If Joe buys a 42-inch TV, John goes out and buys a 60-inch model. And the irony of it all is that neither one of them even watches much television!
Because of this way of thinking, those who try to live frugally have often been viewed as stingy. People often think that frugal shoppers are depriving themselves and their families of the finer things in life. What they don’t realize is that frugality is not about never buying anything except for the essentials. It’s about getting more out of your money so you can have the things you need and some things you want on a smaller budget.
Those who do not subscribe to the frugal school of thought often work long hours and acquire truckloads of debt to support their spending habits. They may have designer clothing, shiny new cars and all the latest electronics, but are they truly happy? Frequently, they’re not. If they’re working lots of overtime, they don’t have the time to truly enjoy those things (much less priceless time with the ones they love). If they’re running up lots of debt, they probably spend a lot of time dodging bill collectors and worrying about how they will ever pay it back.
Living frugally affords a more laid back approach to life. When you’re not concerned about having the newest thing from the hottest designer straight off the shelves, you can dress fashionably at a minimal investment. Instead of paying a premium for that designer label, you can find a nearly identical item at a discount store or thrift shop for next to nothing. You don’t buy the latest gadgets just so you can be the first one on your block to have them, but you purchase electronics that you know you will use while they’re on sale.
Frugal shoppers also strive to save money on essentials so there’s more left over for savings and wants. They scour the sale papers to find good deals at the grocery stores, and clip coupons to save even more. They turn off the lights when leaving a room and hang clothes out to dry to lower their electric bills. And they run all of their errands in one day to conserve gas. These measures alone can add up to significant savings each month.
Frugality doesn’t mean keeping your expenses to a bare minimum. It means stretching your dollar as far as it will go. While frugal shoppers may not have the newest and most expensive things, they can buy much more with a given amount of money than the average consumer. For the price one might pay for the latest cell phone, they can buy groceries, buy the kids’ school clothes, pay a couple of bills and have enough left over to treat the family to a movie.