Frugality (also known as thrift or thriftiness), often confused with cheapness or miserliness, is a traditional value, life style, or belief system, in which individuals practice both restraint in the acquiring of and resourceful use of economic goods and services in order to achieve lasting and more fulfilling goals. In a money-based economy, frugality emphasizes economical use of money in meeting long term personal, familial, and communal desires. From Wikipedia
I’m a frugal girl; I am not a cheap girl. In America there isn’t really a distinction but to most Europeans, there is. It’s why I will buy a $900 office chair but use plastic boxes for a side table. It’s why I spend lots of money on organic, healthy food but won’t go on a shopping spree at a mass retailer.
With money, I budget like crazy to make sure that all my bills are met, that my savings is growing, that my retirement is being contributed to, that I have a financial plan in motion. With what is leftover I use for things for the home, for myself, for friends, and travel. And with that money I then decide what is the value of something to me?
Sometimes, flying first class is a value if I have to be at a business meeting and need to be fresh for it – sometimes being crammed in coach in the least expensive seat is what I need. A chair that I’m going to be sitting in for most of the time that’s going to help me do my business is a value at $900 if it really supports me and is warranted for 20 years but a table from a mass table that’s going to fall apart in a year but only costs me $20 is not.
Everything thing I buy is paid for with cash; if I don’t have the cash I don’t buy it. If I can’t have it I don’t try and buy something just to make up for it – to me that’s a waste of money. I’d rather save up for the exact thing I want than have 20 “kind of’s” in my closet or home.
Each purchase I make, I think about whether it’s $1.00 or $100.00 – that’s frugal.
I’m often critisised States side for my spending habits by people who think I preach something I don’t practice. I receive a lot of mail from my site Pet the Pretty Things in which people often complain about the high cost of some of the items and how I must be crazy to buy them. They never mention the less expensive items, however. And that’s because I’m neither cheap (only subscribe to shopping at Thrift stores or Targets) nor snotty (only buying something because it costs a lot).
Money is important to me. Owning things I love is important to me. Not being overwhelmed or feeling guilt over either is the most important to me. And being frugal allows me that piece of mind.