Day 1: Redefining Frugality

“Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough.”
~Old Testament Proverb
How did we as a society loose touch with frugality?

Somewhere in the middle of the twentieth century, frugality started to gain a bad reputation. The “more is better” mantra of the industrial revolution was sweeping through the hearts of individuals. The lure of the almighty dollar and it’s power to buy began to replace the practice of thrift — stealing our contentment — and frugality took on an association with poverty and deprivation.

Since that time, it seems as if the “more is better” mentality has been entrenched into our minds. It has lead to excess in so many areas and the promise of happiness has never come; possibly due to the fact that no matter what it is…it’s never enough. There’s little appreciation for what we already have. Read more here…

The interesting thing is, we have so many things to be thankful for! Unfortunately, we’ve been trained to believe there is only one way, and we can barely imagine something different.

Some people call that materialism. But I believe it has more to do with what we think our possessions represent — success, esteem, status, achievement, or blessings.

We rarely stop to enjoy what we have. It’s always a race to the next bigger and better thing.

Enjoying What We Have

Living frugally does not require that we put off all material possessions and live in abject poverty. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

Frugality means we are to embrace and enjoy what we have!

Let me give you an example to illustrate my point. If someone has 5 pairs of shoes, yet he/she thinks they have no shoes to wear and goes out to purchase a new pair…who cares if the shoes are purchased on sale (or at the thrift store for that matter), that lack of contentment leads toward wasteful behavior. On the other hand, if you have 5 pairs of shoes and enjoy wearing them day after day, year after year, then you my friend are frugal.

Redefining Frugality

Our level of frugality should never be measured by our ability to shop a sale, or use coupons, or penny-pinch. No, frugal living is found in the enjoyment of what we already have.

It’s learning to appreciate the physical world that surrounds us. It’s stopping the continual search for more. It’s finding value in all things.

Frugality is…

  • sharing with one another
  • living life in balance
  • finding happiness in the way things are
  • being a good steward of our time, money, earth, energy, and possessions
  • enough
  • simple living
  • nothing wasted or unused 

As we move forward with this Challenge, we will be exploring many ways in which we can save money. We will not be talking about how to be cheap or ways in which to “get by.”

We will learn the joys of frugal living and the freedom that it gives us. There is so much creativity that has been extinguished in us due to our materialism and useless spending.

It’s time to let go and rediscover!

Now It’s Your Turn

Daily Goal: Reflect upon your thoughts surrounding frugality. What are some misconceptions that you will need to overcome? How has materialism and useless spending held you in bondage?

Download: The 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge Daily Goal Sheet
Note: Since this is day one, may I suggest keeping a “23 Day Frugal Living Challenge” binder. There will be “Daily Goal Sheet” to print off and many more free downloads throughout the Challenge. A binder will help keep it all organized 🙂

Connect With The Community: Take a few minutes and head over to the forum. Share your “Frugal Living Daily Goal“, encourage, and support one another.

Subscribe: Be sure not to miss a day of the Challenge! Click this link to receive the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge by email.


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  1. After reading your reflection question (twice; I went back to help me focus on it), I realize I’ve always thought you need to spend money to be frugal. That seems so wrongheaded when I put it in plain English, but it’s always been there. Thanks for helping me figure that out,

  2. Very good points. I think even when intentions are good, it is easy to fall into the trap of becoming miserly. A good thought to keep in mind is, Why am I doing this? Is it to make life easier/better by saving, or is it simply to cut costs at all costs? Well, at least that’s what I came away with after reading your post, and it speaks volumes to me! I want to be a good steward, but I also want a good reason. I don’t want to turn into a miserly hoarder – I want the options to give to others (family, friends, neighbors). I want my “frugal” ways to result in more freedom and not become a slave to it anymore than a slave to consumerism. Am I making any sense? Sorry for the rambling. And thanks for the thought-provoking post, and the challenge! 🙂

  3. I can’t seem to find the download 🙁 The link just takes me to a link that just loops itself back to the same page.

  4. It never occurred to me to look at it this way. Love this post!

  5. At all my workshops I tell people that for ME, being frugal is defined as: being a good steward of what the Lord has given me.
    If I don’t take care of what he has given me, He’s surely not going to give me any more – and that’s Biblical.

    We’re trying to sell our home, so we took all the “junk” out for staging. Can I just tell you, it’s WONDERFUL! There isn’t a bunch of stuff laying around. And while this “stuff” is in storage, I’ve already told Barry that I’m not sure it will ever come out again. Getting rid of the crap is so liberating. And it’s lets us enjoy the little bit we left behind. 🙂

    Yay for Day 1 !!!

    • I am so encouraged by the post today. I have always thought being frugal meant not spending any money and trying to shop for groceries at the cheapest prices I can find. NOt once have I ever thought of being frual as being thankful for what I already have. Just today I pulled out a pair of boots I have never worn and boy do I feel liberated in wearing them! I did it!! I was being frugal and didn’t even know it. I look forward to all of the post for the next 22 days.

  6. The verse you gave at the beginning struck me like a ton of bricks. So much so, that I went right into an art program and made a poster to hang on the refrigerator! I like that so much, I decided to put it into my Cafe Press store to share with other people and because that is what I want our homestead to be. I’m really not trying to drum up business, but you can see the result here: . Thank you so much for Day 1! I’ve already received more inspiration than I expected from the whole challenge!!

  7. Thank you for hosting this challenge. This is a subject close to my heart and I plan on participating as much as I can (hope to blog about it too).

    The scripture you used at the beginning of this post is one of my favourites and it still goes to my heart each time I read it. What you’ve written says just how I feel and says it so well. Thanks again!

  8. Growing up we always had what we needed and if we asked for something if the answer was no, that was the end of the subject. There was no negotiations, no explanation etc. We were very respectful of our few belongings and they lasted a long time. I strayed far from my humble beginnings, and when I started realizing the reason it was so hard to keep the house clean was because we had so many useless things, my life began to change. When we traveled we always bought lots of souvineers, it was as if we were on shopping trips instead of vacations. I’m so happy to say so much has changed for me over the past many years, but I’m still a work in progress. I rarely shop anywhere but the grocery store and even that has changed. As I have learned more about my environmental impact, I do my best to avoid waste in all aspects of my life, I spend more time planning what to cook and buy only what I need, not what strikes my fancy. I have a rule, if I see it when I’m shopping and it’s not on my list. I’ll put it on my list when I get home for the next trip. I am so much happier that I get to spend more time focusing on quality because I’m not over run by quantity.

    • Kalliea,
      You took the words right out of my mouth. You don’t need a zillion useless trinkets from a trip. Save memories and a few photos. A home is easier to be in when there is less to bump into or have to lift to dust!
      I am definitely not a bulk shopper. I find that the more food items I have on hand the harder it is to know what I have available to make a meal. It is also too much choice… to much stuff makes it harder to decide on anything.

  9. I think the biggest change for me is realizing tat frugality is a choice, and that if it is what I value then I can’t allow myself to feel less than others who don’t choose frugality because they “have better stuff”. Realizing that I am choosing this life helps me to feel more satisfied with it.

  10. Your post reminds me that I generally AM a fairly frugal person, and my goals for this year are going to help make me even more sure that I stay frugal. So I say thank you.

  11. I stumbled across your website a few weeks ago and have been very excited about the 23 day frugal challenge. This has been my state of mind for about a year now, but finding others that share that same idea, is like trying to find a needle in a haystack! I have really enjoyed your website and look forward to more challenges this month.

  12. You took the words right out of my mouth. You don’t need a zillion useless trinkets from a trip. Save memories and a few photos. A home is easier to be in when there is less to bump into or have to lift to dust!
    I am definitely not a bulk shopper. I find that the more food items I have on hand the harder it is to know what I have available to make a meal. It is also too much choice… to much stuff makes it harder to decide on anything.

  13. I was raised in a large family (one of 12 children) and we always had very little compared to most people (or so it seemed to me). We always got by though. There was always food on the table (with enough to share for an unexpected guest or two); clothes on our back (albeit hand-me-downs or hand sewn by our mother); and a roof over our head (sharing a bedroom with several siblings was commonplace; we had two bathrooms for all 14 people; and one rotary telephone!). Now, I have a husband who makes more money than my parents ever dreamed of; two reliable and expensive cars; a big, beautiful house in an upper class neighborhood; two children who have more than they realize (and definitely more than they need); and yet we find it difficult to make bills each month. We do pay our bills and we do get by, but I often find myself looking for ways to work outside the home; to bring in even more money so we can afford more. More what? It looks like my family will be taking on your challenge. I’m sure I can rummage up a binder somewhere downstairs in storage — underneath, you know, stuff!

  14. Frugality brings the words “doing without” and “living cheap” to mind.

    Materialism and useless spending as held me in bondage by:
    (1) Keeping me from buying the things I need or go to the chiropractor, when needed, because we are struggling to pay down credit cards and
    (2) Overwhelming me with all the clutter around me – you know, all that stuff we thought we just had to have!

  15. I love your definition of frugality including “living life in balance.”

    I often think of frugality as doing the best with what I have. We do have to choose and make priorities. We can’t have everything, and that’s okay.

  16. I really like the reminder that being frugal isn’t about being cheap and saving at all costs. I want to have fun with my family during this time, enjoy each other, and have fun along the way. I needed the reminder that this is about simplifying and enjoying life not just saving money.

  17. Well, better late than never, right? Here it is Feb. 1 and I’m just now starting your excellent challenge. So many thoughts are racing through my mind on this subject! I loved reading everyone’s comment; many mirrored my own thoughts. For me, frugality is kind of been a journey I started 12 years ago; it’s been like peeling layers of an onion off – only I hope there is something of substance at the core!! I think I’m ready to peel off the next layer – I’ve felt it coming on for a while and this challenge may push me to see it through.

    • No doubt Amy! What a great word picture 🙂 Frugal living is most definitely a journey…perhaps a neverending one!

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