I get a lot of questions about frugal lifestyles. Some are positive, some are very very negative. There are people who simply do not understand how anyone could voluntarily choose frugality. If you have money, you should spend it. Sure you should save some of it, but they feel they need the house, the cars, the big screen, the clothes, and can’t understand why others wouldn’t choose the same. I started to write about it, and realized I have way too much to say on the topic! So I decided to create a series about it. Hopefully this series will shine some light on this new age of frugality and why it really isn’t such a crazy choice!
What is the Meaning of Frugality?
First, I have to define frugality. I think I did a pretty good job at explaining my own personal definition of frugality in the past. For the purposes of this series though, I’m going to expand on it a little bit. There are definitely involuntary reasons to live a frugal lifestyle. Loss of income, loss of loved ones, declining health, etc. are all valid reasons why some might find themselves having to be a bit more frugal. Why would anyone choose it voluntarily though?
Definition of Frugality
This is my absolute favorite definition of frugality:
“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”
— Elise Boulding
Elise Boulding makes frugality sound like a beautiful, Utopian concept, one that is very contrary to the way our society lives today. In many ways, she is right.
There is a shift happening right now though. Call it a new age of frugality; or the Dave Ramsey & Suze Orman era. Frugality is making a comeback. Simplicity and from scratch are words dominating the net. Everyone wants life to be simpler, less cluttered. Our environment is a mess, our priorities don’t make sense and we are so stretched for time that rarely a day passes that I don’t hear someone ask for just one more hour in their day.
A Shift in Thinking
Rather than a Utopian concept, frugality feels within reach and a way of living that society is ready and willing to accept. There’s a growing number, a rapidly growing number, of people who are crying out for an easier way of living. The problem is that these people keep looking for the next gadget or device that will make their life better. The easy button that will streamline everything and they are willing to pay a lot of money for it.
The problem is, nothing fixes everything. Nothing can give us more time. I think people are starting to realize this.
Realizing that maybe getting back to basics, getting back to simplicity, might be exactly what they need to make life easier and more enjoyable.
What is the Meaning of Frugality
Making Frugality a Habit
I loved this post. I think your series is an excellent idea! Thanks.
Thank you Diane! I meant for it to be one post, but I had so much to say! Clearly I feel very passionately about this topic, LOL.
Katie R. says
I love it too!
Thank you Katie!
I really love that quote, Heather. Thank you so much for sharing!
I came across it not long ago and it really resonated with me!
Sofia's Ideas says
I love that quote! This was very well written and I can’t wait to keep reading!
Its funny, because there was just a discussion on my blog – I was basically saying that people ASSume that the reason I choose frugality, or the reason I live with “rustic” things, is because I can not afford to do differently. They can’t understand the concept that the lifestyle I am attempting to live is a conscious & intentional one.
I’d love for you to come by my bog when you get a moment – seems like we have stuff in common! 🙂
You can find me @ http://sofiasideas.com/
BTW, I’m tweeting this too! 🙂
Thanks Sophia! I’ll be sure to stop by!
Voluntary frugal living seems to baffle a lot of people I’ve noticed!
karla T says
I appreciate your post and look forward to reading the rest. My husband and I made a decision to keep our lives simple and live modestly on one income. There are times when money is tight and I wish I could get what I want when I want. But really the peace of mind that we have more then makes up for the hard parts.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I think we all go through tight times every once in awhile! Peace of mind is priceless though!
I am so glad that you are covering this topic. It is so interesting to me to find out just how frugal I can live my life. My kids laugh at me because I make my own dish detergent, fabric softner sheets and I just keep looking for new ways to make what we use to save money. People ask me “WHY” I say because #1 is saves money and #2 its just the satisfaction that I can do it. Thank you so much for your information. HUGS
It is such a thrill knowing you saved a bunch of money isn’t it? Seriously I still get so excited when I checkout and I see my savings.
I’m glad you are enjoying! the second post of the series just went live!
An epiphany I had many years ago affects me to this day. I was checking out at the grocery store and an elderly man was bagging the groceries. Now, I have no idea what was his actual situation (he very well could have been working in that job because he wanted to be there), but the emotion it brought up in me was that I NEVER wanted to be in the situation where I HAD to work in old age because I had run out of money. And it brought to my mind a sentence that I repeat often to myself when looking at the bigger picture about spending money… I would rather be voluntarily frugal now than be involuntarily frugal later.