Misconceptions About Frugal Living: Frugal People Are Stingy

So this is probably one of the more common misconceptions, and to be honest there is some truth to it. Frugal people are stingy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. In fact, I think more people should be stingy with their money.

Now I’m not talking about sticking pennies instead of dollars into the offering plate at church. Or being the office party pooper who never brings anything for potluck day. I think if you are the type to penny pinch by inconveniencing or denying others…frugal living is not your problem. You have a much bigger problem. Maybe it’s an entitlement issue or maybe it’s a fear thing. Who knows?

Either way, don’t hide behind frugality as your reason for getting out of being a good person.

No. The kind of stinginess I’m referring to is the kind where you throw money at problems to make them go away. Where you attempt to change people and attitudes by overwhelming them with your generosity. Where you think your money can make up for past indiscretions or failures.

It can’t. Most frugal people know this. They know that they can’t buy affection or kindness. So they don’t even try. To some, this is viewed as being stingy.

“Well if they really loved me, they would buy me what I want.”
“If he would just give me the life I want, I can forgive everything else.”
“All I have to do is give them everything and then they will love me and be thankful for me.”

It’s not true. Sure you might get the initial reaction you are hoping for. Will it last though? Doubtful. Our actions speak so much louder then our gifts.

Frugal people know this.

That’s why frugal people spend their time with their loved ones. They know that time is more valuable then money. They know that experiences are worth more then gifts. They know that what you say matters long after what you buy is thrown to the curb.

Money can not buy love.

Money cannot buy happiness.

Money cannot buy gratitude.

Society today has told us that in order to get rid of problems, we need to throw money at them. That if we can’t be there for our loved one, we send them a gift or flowers and that is a perfect replacement for our time and affection. It’s not.

Frugal people know this. Or at least…I hope they do.

Sometimes frugality is used as a facade for selfishness. I’d argue that those people don’t get *it* though. They don’t understand the benefits of frugal living and how it can enrich your relationships with others. How looking at life from the perspective of love instead of dollar signs can make you a better, more complete person.

I am guilty of throwing money at problems. At thinking that my money can bandage a situation where I have not been present. It doesn’t work though. Our loved ones don’t want our money. They might think they do! What they really want though is your time, your affection and most of all your presence (not presents!).

So yes, people who live frugally might be stingy, but it’s because they feel they have something much more powerful to offer. Themselves.

Click to read the rest of this series: Misconceptions About Frugal Living

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

One thought on “Misconceptions About Frugal Living: Frugal People Are Stingy”

  1. A great posting. People in general fail to understand what money is all about. We are not taught about finances or money in this country, and as a result, most of us squander what little we have – I know I did!

    I get a lot of hits on my blog from people searching on terms like “why are my parents so stingy?” or “why are friends stingy” or something along those lines. Apparently, some folks feel they are entitled to a mound of booty, merely because others, they perceive, are “lucky” and “have lots of money.”

    But luck has little to do with it. And everyone in any society has an obligation to take care of themselves before lavishing gifts on others. It is not “selfish” to put aside enough money for your retirement and your own needs – it is a social obligation.

    And unfortunately, we are seeing an entire generation – the 401(k) generation – lurching toward retirement, many of them having little or nothing in the way of savings – and having learned little or nothing about money over the decades they have spent on this planet.

    And yes, you comment that the most powerful thing you have to offer is yourself is a comment that has great merit. While my parents worked hard to provide me with a life of booty and money when I was growing up (and themselves with status items), I realize now that I would have been far happier living in less luxurious conditions and spending more time with them.

    Great blog. I look forward to reading more of it.

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