There’s been a lot of talk about being frugal and being thrifty. Living frugally has also become a necessity for many of us. Let’s talk about what it means to be frugal, dispel some myths and misinformation and look at what it means to live frugally.
What Does Being Frugal Mean
Being Frugal Doesn’t Mean You’re Poor or Cheap
There are two common misconceptions about frugality. The first is that people who live frugally are poor. It’s actually the opposite. People who live frugally are smart with their money and use it wisely. As a result, they aren’t drowning in debt and their bills get paid on time. Yes, you can live frugally on a small income, but many frugal people earn a decent living. They chose to live well below their means and spend money on what’s important to them.
Just because you are frugal doesn’t mean you’re cheap. Not having the biggest house on the block or brand new car in the neighbourhood doesn’t make you cheap, it makes you smart. Yes, there is a fine line between being frugal and being cheap, but there is a difference. Being cheap often involves hurting someone else, while being frugal means you decide to give up on something so you can spend your money elsewhere or save it for a rainy day.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re going to your favourite fast food place and grab a burger and some fries. A cheap person will grab a big handful of ketchup packets to use at home later. A frugal person will save any leftover ketchup packets and use them later so they don’t go to waste. It’s a fine line, but there’s a difference.
Being Frugal Means You’re Smart About Spending
The main thing I want you to understand about being frugal is that it means you’re smart about how and where you spend your money. It’s a conscious decision and often needs a bit of planning. Instead of giving in to impulse buys (be it groceries you don’t really need or a new outfit), a frugal person decides they don’t need those items and saves the money instead. As a result, you can then turn around and enjoy a fun trip or make a down payment on a house. Or it may mean she can stay at home with the kids. Being frugal means you have options and that’s a beautiful thing to have.