Frugality has gotten a bad rap lately–almost as bad as the term “Housewife”–and that’s is super unfortunate because embracing frugality would help a lot of us live more within our means and be able to enjoy our money more while hitting our financial goals. Remember those? Hopefully it’s not been so long since you believed you could reach them that you’ve forgotten what they even were.
There are a lot of myths surrounding what it means to be frugal, but these are three of the most common ones I hear all. the. time.
Myth # 1 Fugal Living= CHEAP
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Being frugal is not the same as being cheap. The goal of frugal living is to make the most of your money by being mindful with your financial choices. It’s spending your money wisely so you have more money to spend. It’s making conscious money buying choices in order to meet your financial goals.
Being cheap is trying to spend the least money possible for the sake of spending as little money as possible, often at the expense of practicality, functionality and others. Not tipping reasonably, donating to church or charity, buying only the cheapest food at the sake of your health, buying very poor quality or broken items simply because they are inexpensive—these aren’t examples of frugality, that’s being cheap!
Forgoing a drink or dessert while dining out, buying on sale or clearance, shopping ads and meal planning to stay within your grocery budget, buying the best quality items you can with the money you have budgeted–that’s being frugal. See the difference?
Myth #2: Frugal Living=No Fun
Afraid that being frugal means never going out to eat, going on vacation or going shopping? Think again, my friend. Frugal living means spending purposefully and within your means. Yes, it means living on a budget. But remember, if you want go out to eat on Friday nights, or take an annual family vacation, plan for it and do it!
Frugal living is making the choice ahead of time to spend $50 less month on groceries so you can go out on a monthly date night with your spouse. It’s choosing not to spend money going out to restaurants and saving that money for a family trip next year. It could be going to Disney during the off season and bringing your own food so you can afford that dream Disney trip with your family.
See? Frugal living can actually make room in your budget so you can afford to have a little fun, without the guilt of over spending or going into debt.
#3 Frugal Living is Just for “Poor” People
This seems to be another common myth about frugality, that frugality is only necessary for people who are struggling financially. It’s true. People with limited incomes have an even greater need to live frugally. Their budgets obviously must be tighter because they have less to spend, duh.
But, I know people who struggle financially who make more money than we do. They spend every dime they make and have very little saved. They’re in debt up to their eyeballs and are one financial crisis away from disaster. Frugality is for everyone, at any income, in any financial situation. I know families with great incomes that are consistently struggling financially and families with moderate incomes that seem to have more than they need. I’ve heard moms, whose husbands have well paying jobs, complain that they wouldn’t be able to afford to go part time or stay home with their kids, and I know wealthy people who are “cheap” when it comes to everyone but themselves.
Frugality simply means making wise choices so you can do more with your money, and reach your financial goals. Frugality is for everyone. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, I guess, then, by all means, spend yourself silly.
But, for the rest of us.? Yes. Frugality is for the rest of us.
What myths or misconceptions have you heard about frugal living? Are you frugal? Why or why not? If making frugal choices could help you spend less money each week, what would you do with the money?
Leave your comments below!