It used to be where the word frugal brought up negative emotions and had a bad reputation, often being confused with extremists, cheapskates, penny hoarders and a host of other words. While each has minor differences, they all come to mean the same thing when used so interchangeably. This was also in part due to their not being too much information in circulation other than a few books and a website or two. In many ways this has now all changed thanks to the collapse of the economy.
With the collapse of the economy, people have all of a sudden taken a deep interest in their money and ways to stretch it, save it and use it more efficiently. Now frugal and finance blogs are everywhere and trend setters everywhere are shouting frugality is in! Many however still see being frugal as what one must give up and what sacrifices must come in order to cut expenses down. For many, if you were to ask them to sum up the meaning of “Frugal” in one word, it would most likely still be deprivation!
Yet even when one must choose frugal endeavors due to necessary unfortunate circumstances, it does not mean a life of deprivation. It is about simplifying one’s life and making choices that weed out all the unnecessary items and expenses. It is about making choices based on values. When we build on our values, it becomes easy to make decisions on what we can do without and what we can weed out in order to keep the things that truly enhance life. This will be different for everyone as each family and individual is unique.
Being frugal is about making choices with focused intent, removing all unwanted spending areas in order to direct the finances in a direction that builds value and enhances our lives rather than detracts from it. This applies no matter what income level one may have. Sometimes that value we strive for may be simply to pay all our basic bills in a month without causing undue hardship! For others it may mean cutting eating out twice a week in order to purchase quality antiques they may treasure or furthering their education.
It truly is all about figuring out what is important to you and what is not, then starting the removal of anything that is not important. Focused intent allows us to live a life with deeper meaning and more true to ourselves without all the wasteful spending that puts us off course and distracts us from our true desires. Try to always keep in mind; being frugal is not about depriving ourselves of a good life with nice things. It is about building a life according to values and putting our money in areas that will enhance it according to the things that truly matter to us.
Carrie Hetu is not a financial expert, but has been passionate about finances since the age of 19 years old when a neighbor introduced her to taxes. From that time, she has made a point to increase her financial literacy into areas of frugal living, investing, real estate, budgeting and passive income. She currently blogs at Poor to Rich a Day at a Time and Simply Homeschooled.