Frugality not Miserly

Being frugal allows me to live very well. I’ve spoken to this topic before but it seems to continuously confuse; frugality is often seen with being cheap or poor. But I believe in spending money when you need to and saving it when you need to – it’s not just buying $700 shoes because you can but it’s not about going without, either.

The Worsted Witch posted the following today which I think sums it all up rather nicely:

From Frugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul by Tracey McBride, on frugality versus miserliness:

There is a vast difference between practicing frugality and being miserly. To be frugal is to set higher standards for your thoughts, behavior, activities, surroundings, and possessions. A frugalite (a word of my own making) is one who enjoys comfortable, attractive surroundings and endeavors to transform the simplest foods into a feast. You exult in keeping the bonds of family and friendship alive through simple and elegant entertaining. You enjoy quality accoutrements to daily living, although many frugalites have a (sometimes stringent) limit to their income. Frugalites prefer to make wise decisions on how to spend money and time … They know that money, saved by wise spending, can be used to enhance their lifestyle, contribute to worthwhile charities, or both.

Born from the Latin word for “wretched,” miserliness is the absence of generosity. A miserly person will spend money reluctantly and deprive himself of all but the barest of essentials, for the sole purpose of hoarding money. In my humble opinion, to live a miserly existence would truly be wretched. To wait for “someday” is the ultimate futile exercise.

I wrote an article “How to Save Money Shopping that speaks to this.

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2 Comments

  1. August 8, 2007 / 10:02 AM

    I live a similar lifestyle; spending most of my money on travel, own a few quality items and very little otherwise. For birthdays, I purchase dinners and services as gifts, rather than objects. I’ve never, ever encountered criticism for my frugality, and I grew up in America (and now, live in France). I wonder the criticism that you encounter is more a result of your immediate environment or the fact that there seems to be such a gross generalization about Americans and the implication of our low standards that provokes this backlash. I have many friends and acquaintances on both sides of the fence – total consumers and not – and nobody really talks about other people’s things or how they spend their money. On the other hand, I know quite a few French friends who buy everything under the sun and whose homes are overflowing. And then there are those, like my husband (and I) who barely own anything, aside from his collection of books. And those people exist in the US as well.

  2. August 8, 2007 / 3:18 PM

    Wonderful and perfect timing. My husband and I are working on a budget for the first time…to be more responsible and mindful of our spending…it will be called ‘the frugal wenrich’s budget’!

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