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You're a frugal if....

August 30th, 2009 at 09:44 pm

While reading some financial stuff elsewhere, it occurred to me just how a frugal person can be so distinctly different from a non-frugal. Not in a "I'm better than you" sort of way (although I admit I do think frugality is a better way of living), but... I'm just musing how because we are different, I sometimes forget that not everyone is like us.

For example, I believe frugal people actually enjoy doing their budget. I know I do. But it's easy to forget that many people find it daunting, or at the very least boring.

Another example is that hunting bargains and even clipping coupons may scratch a certain itch that non-frugals may not possess. It gets us rubbing our hands together, perhaps even doing a victory dance, while non-frugals think we've fell off our rockers.

Yet another example is that non-frugals only find joy in spending I think. Therefore, saving and even investing is often times seen as a lamentable exercise in necessary evil rather than giving one warm, fuzzy vibes.

Last but not least, I think frugals might find all this to be "perfectly normal" while the rest of the world may think of us as odd or even extreme. For example, I think debt is generally a "bad thing", best to be avoided unless it can't be helped, or it somehow pays back even more (such as a cash-back credit card). Non-frugal people may think that having debt is as normal and American as apple pie and Fourth of July. Yuck.

That said, I don't consider myself as a natural frugal though. I think there are some people who just seem to have a knack for this, and therefore, didn't have to "train" to become frugal. I, on the other hand, had to be re-born and taught from scratch. But at least I'm on the path now eh? It's also heartening to know that anyone can learn to be frugal, even if they didn't start out that way.

So, do you think there are differences between frugals and non-frugals, and if so, what other distinctions do you think there are?

16 Responses to “You're a frugal if....”

  1. HELPmeFriend Says:

    Here's to hoping that my rebirth goes as smooth as I hope. Takes a first step!

  2. baselle Says:

    The big issue is that we think of saving as spending too ... its just spending on ourselves for the future instead of spending on an item in the now.

  3. whitestripe Says:

    one thing i notice between myself and say, my parents are, that i actually know how much money i earn and how much i spend, whereas they have absolutely no idea at all. i think frugal people take a kind of pride in knowing exactly how much their bills and expenses are, whereas those who aren't frugal (or those that might be learning, like my DF Big Grin) always guess the amount (ie. MY phone bill is $77.87 - DF would say it's $70 or $80...)

  4. gamecock43 Says:

    You know your frugal if.....

    you understand the reasoning behind picking up coins from the ground.

    you do not throw pennies in wishing wells.

    your idea of a "splurge" is a starbucks coffee or a little gadget amounting to less than $10.00.

  5. Caoineag Says:

    I would add that a frugal person thinks nothing of going without an item that others consider a vital necessity such as a dryer or car simply because they have an easy workaround.

  6. Joan,of.the.Arch Says:

    I'm a little bit different kind of frugal than you describe. I don't enjoy doing a budget, in fact I don't make one. Yeah, it would bore me. It's all much more casual than that. One thing I think some non-frugals might not understand about the money I am saving is that I _do_ intend to spend it. I intend to spend it when we are retired, when there is an emergency, when there is someone who needs our help, when we need to make a purchase too large to come out of the regular income. I'm not saving just to be a miser. I'm not saving because I love money, but because I will need it.

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    I agree with you Joan. I don't think people who save for the love money is a true frugal, but a cheap-skate.

  8. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    "Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character. ~S.W. Straus"

    or a facsimile thereto, I found this quote on
    http://www.quotegarden.com

  9. Broken Arrow Says:

    That is a great quote! Thanks for sharing!

  10. monkeymama Says:

    I like Joan's post. I know plenty of frugal people who are not budget minded and who don't care for numbers.

    Baselle (& others) nail it on the head. Saving for later is the end goal of most frugies. Delayed gratification is often misconstrued as "Cheap" and "deprived."

  11. dmontngrey Says:

    Whoa, scary - you couldn't have described me any better! Everyone around me thinks I'm quite strange and the current topic is: what will they do with all that cereal? Yes, sometimes they show jealousy - but no one around me really wants to be like me. My cupboards are absolutely bursting with food - mostly free from catalina deals. My favorite time of the week is when I go over the finances and I get no joy out of spending money. This comes naturally to me, although it wasn't always first and foremost in my mind. I had to learn to be an adult first. Frown

  12. Seven of Seven Says:

    I derive a great deal of joy in the process of saving for something and purchasing it with cash. If I don't have the money now, I enjoy the anticipation. In the time that I'm saving for that item, I often find that either a) I no longer "need" it, or b) it has gone on sale or I have simply found a better and less expensive version of it.

    I have also taken largely to second hand items. I discovered Craigslist and now it is the first place I go when I want or need something. This is very satisfying to my newly found desire to contribute less waste into the landfills and to get something for a bargain. For example, we need new closet doors, a wall hung sink, and a rug. I can wait on each of these items. They will, eventually, show up on Craigslist and I will get them for a steal!

    This brings my frugal heart much joy!

  13. Seven of Seven Says:

    There's something else that makes me different from my non-frugal friends and that is that I do not "need" much of anything. If my car breaks down, or the water heater goes kaput, then I do "need" to repair or replace. BUT, almost everything else is a "nice to have." My previous post said we are looking for closet doors. We are. The other ones were broken (teenager kicked a hole in them) and there are no doors on the closet now. That's okay. We don't "have" to replace them. We'd like to. But we don't have to.

    I am also not driven AT ALL to have the newest, trendiest, anything. Not clothes, not technology, not cars. I am a satisfied person. I have everything I need to be happy, productive, and safe.

    That's a big difference between frugal and not-so-much.

  14. Nika Says:

    What about a third camp? Those who don't belong to either frugal or non-frugal.

    Those who enjoy nice things, good quality, beauty, new experiences, great food... Those who are kind of hedonistic, but think debt is not normal and not ok.

    Those who enjoy doing their budget, but not stick to it exactly.

    Those who save, and know how much they spend and save, but could/should save more.

    Those who can control their impulses to meet their obligations and responsibilities, but have difficulty restraining themselves after that point....

    Are they just confused frugals or confused non-frugals? Smile

  15. Broken Arrow Says:

    Nika, that's a frugal! Smile
    Please see my entry on "Viva Frugality"!

  16. monkeymama Says:

    The second-hand part is good. A willingness to buy second hand is probably a large part of what helps many stay frugal. It's not mandatory to be frugal. But it sure helps!

    I was just thinking about it yesterday because I picked up the kids yesterday and LM had a video game and about TWENTY games in a plastic bag, that go with it. Dh is a gamer and we have every game system known to man. Thing is, if you look at our budget, it is not something we spend money on. I said, "Holy cow LM. Where did you get all those games??????" No doubt dh found most of them on Craigslist and bought them with his game buy/sell profits. It just occurred to me someone could look at us and assume we were insane to have so many games. If we paid full price for all that, yes, I would consider that insane. They would probably be surprised to see no games in my budget, at all. (I personally can't keep track - and just had no idea LM had amassed so many games). As a score, he is about to outgrow this particular game system. Could probably sell it plus games for $100 when all is said and done. Probably more if we individually ebay the more popular games. Which will probably pay for his next system (DS?). BM got a used DS for his birthday. It didn't cost us a dime.

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