I love what I do. The thrill of the hunt, getting awesome deals, and saving tons of money where i can – there’s nothing quite like it. I also love teaching others about doing the same thing. Some convert to frugal living, others don’t. Either way, I’m happy to help where I can.
One obstacle I run into all the time, though, is people who don’t understand my frugal way of thinking and living. There are a bevy of naysayers and disbelievers out there with heads full of misconceptions about the lifestyle. I’m constantly answering questions and setting people straight on the real objective of living this way. It get frustrating at times because I feel like I have to defend the way I choose to live my life. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already at least a little intrigued by the idea of living frugally. You may still have doubts, and you may even be one of the ones with a misconception or two in your head. So, without further ado, let me try to help you understand frugal folk and why they do the things they do.
1. Living Frugally Means You’re a Hippy
I can see how this misconception came to be. In the sense of a hippy being a peace, love and happiness always type of person, no, frugal people are not hippies. However, in the green living, earth-loving stereotype, yes – sort of. In my case, while I do make my own cleaning supplies (usually just vinegar and water for most things), and buy reusable versus one-time use products, and avoid waste as much as I can; I only do these things because it’s cheaper – not specifically because it’s better for the environment. So, I suppose being considered a hippy because I live frugally isn’t so bad.
2. Being Stingy is Part of being Frugal
Yes and no. Frugal living doesn’t mean you stiff the offering plate at church or never give to charity. Being frugal doesn’t get you out of being a good person. No, there is no excuse for this type of stingy. There are two types of stingy, and frugal people fall into the second category: smart stingy. Frugal people know that throwing money at problems to make them go away is stupid. You can’t buy love, affection or happiness, so why bother wasting money to do so? Rather than giving the kids money to entertain themselves while you go out on the town, opt to stay in and spend quality family time together. That kind of stingy is something money simply can’t buy.
3. Frugal Living Means NOT Being Materialistic
This is a big one. To be honest, I’m probably one of the most materialistic people I know. I absolutely love technology and have an iPad, computer and cell phone. Having said that, I refuse to go into debt to have these things and will save my money, no matter how long it takes, to pay cash for what I want. Saving money where I can on things like groceries, toiletries and utility bills allows me to be able to buy the things I truly want later. It’s win-win all the way around.
4. Frugal People are Crazy!
While I absolutely love what I do and get extremely excited when I talk about it, I never try to push the lifestyle on someone who obviously isn’t interested. Having said that, I have talked to other people who make frugal living their life’s work, and yes, some can be fanatic. To each his own, I always say.
5. People Live Frugally Because they’re Poor
There are many reasons people choose to live a frugal life. For some it’s out of necessity; for others it may be that they desire a simpler way of living. Just because someone chooses to live this way doesn’t necessarily mean they are poor. In fact, some of the richest people I know got that way by being frugal and continue to do so even when they don’t have to anymore. Once you’ve mastered the art of living frugally, it’s very hard to go back to paying full price for anything!