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The nature of frugality

September 27th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Once in a while, I will get questions like, "What do you like to do? What are your goals or ambitions? Do you even have hobbies?" When pressed, I often times tell them that my hobby is saving money. It's the truth, and yet, I will get quizzical looks in return.

I guess it's understandable in that the nature of frugality is paradoxical in many ways. It's not like chopping down a tree, where you would see a lot of physical effort being exerted with a concrete end-result. Rather, it's largely mental.

In short, I think frugality is meditative. Unlike many other activities, the goal is largely achieved through deliberate and decisive inaction. And it's not even self-deprivation really. It's also a way to search within yourself what is really important to you in this world, and focusing your money towards those things.

But I also want to stress that frugality isn't literally doing nothing either. Like many others, my money is limited too, and sometimes, I have to get very creative about making the budget stretch. Creativity, I think, is the hallmark of any true fruggie. It's not about blasting something with more money until it works. It's about being savvy, being determined, and minimizing frivolous waste.

Alas, for a man in a western society, this sort of quality is not often noticed. In many ways, my life would be simpler if I was a lumberjack, chopping trees. But... that would not be me.

And besides, I can't imagine why there would be anything more important than building actual financial safety. Do people really not know just how much of a financial danger they are in? Thin ice and egg shells does not a sound foundation make, and yet, many seems content building their house and future on it....

In the end, I will continue to do what I do because I know in my heart this is the right thing to do. When you know that, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.

Still though, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try out a hedge trimmer eh? It's not quite the same as a chainsaw, but at least it will get the HoA off my back. Big Grin

8 Responses to “The nature of frugality”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Yes, get a hedge trimmer. Buy used, refurbished, with a coupon or on clearance if you want to stick to your frugal ways!

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    Boy, you're fast. Big Grin

  3. retire@50 Says:

    I get just as many positive reactions as negative on my frugal ways. Some people are astonished and think it's great when I get 51 boxes of cereal for free, others just think it's weird. Either way, it's a fun hobby and it means I can be retired and read all day if I want, while they have to go to work Smile

  4. rob62521 Says:

    We each have our own way to find happiness and being frugal and having a little cushion is a true way to feel "safe>"

    Maybe you can borrow a hedge clipper from a friend or relative.

  5. ThriftoRama Says:

    I like this post. I feel the same way often.

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I guess a lot of people don't see how being frugal could amount to a hobby. While reading this, I thought maybe I would say something such as, "I try to learn one new handyman or domestic skill per week." If I were male, I might say "survival skill instead of domestic skill because I know people make judgments about those words. Reading the ins and outs of what to do with money is a domestic skill. Making your own mittens is a domestic skill. Sizing up clearance hedge clippers is a handyman skill. Setting up graphs to plot home energy use day to day, month to month, season to season, & year to year is a domestic skill. Or is it a handyman skill?

    In my family we have two phrases for saying that we are doing something in our heads that maybe we do not even care to explain, or maybe we fear that the rest of the world does not understand/approve/value. We just say we are "writing poetry" or "planning fishing trips." It is our jokey way to rib ourselves about being weirdos, while confirming that we like ourselves that way. But if we use those metaphors outside the family, it would give a different impression than the truth.

  7. Petunia Says:

    "It's not about blasting something with more money until it works. "

    I've often noticed this amongst some of my relatives - they solve every problem by spending themselves out of it. Most of us simply can't afford that approach. And where would the fun challenge be in that anyway? Smile

  8. dmontngrey Says:

    I love the challenge of being frugal! It's such a different way of life than how those around me live. This suits me much better though. Like retire@50, I also get mixed reactions. They lean more towards the positives and I'm starting to rub off on some people.

    So go ahead and question why I bought 20+ bottles of Dulcolax when I don't use it! $4 money maker on each one I bought. Laugh - while I sit back and enjoy my $400 printer that will cost me $10 after rebate. Big Grin

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