“Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character.”
Frugal doesn’t mean cheap.
It doesn’t mean we cut corners at every opportunity.
In fact, our level of frugality should never be measured by our ability to shop a sale, or use coupons, or penny-pinch. Oh 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.
- 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
- simple living
In general, frugality is really about not wasting our resources.
It doesn’t mean you have to buy the cheapest products and that you can never own anything nice or expensive. Quite the opposite…it’s about priorities and spending less on things you feel are less important so more is available for things that you feel are more important.
It’s redefining wants versus needs.
Could it be that our ability to buy all that we want, our materialism, and our useless spending has extinguished our creativity?
In the end, other people might not agree with your priorities, and they don’t have to. We all find our own way and we all make mistakes along the journey — oddly enough, mistakes are often what prompt our frugality.
Just remember, what is frugal for one person is not necessarily frugal for another.
So, how do you define frugality?
Going back to the dictionary, to me being frugal is economizing. It’s getting the best value for time/money spent. It’s making conscious choices rather than just staying with the flock.
It definitely doesn’t mean cheap. Buying items that are too cheap actually costs more money because you have to replace them more often.
Truth! A little story…last week my sweet husband was so proud because he bought the cheapest water hose at the store. Well, that cheap water hose ended up busting and now we need a new one 🙂 Money wasted, lesson learned!
PRECISELY!! I say it all the time, “Do you want to buy the same item 5 times for $10 or one good item (that may outlast all 5) for $30?”
I totally believe that part of being frugal is also seeing value in quality. I’ll skip the mountain of cheap junk for a molehill of really great stuff any day.
For us, frugality is all about making the best choices from the resources we are given not only with our finances but with our time as well.
Yes! A million times yes!
Simplicity. Good stewardship. Accepting God’s blessings without complaint. Living debt free and joy full.
Frugality is the balancing act of buying the thing that will best suite the need without excess as much as possible within the money you have to buy the item without going into debt. That might mean during some season if you do not have the $$ for the item that best suits the need doing without it until you save for it or if you can not do without it then you might have to temporarily settle for less and next time get the one that would have been the best next time. It is making the most of what you have. Most importantly though I think frugality is realizing and continuing to discover the most important things in life nothing to do with money or stuff.
Jesse Wilson says
The whole reduce, reuse, and recycle, idea comes to mind. This is not just dealing with recycling. How many tasty dishes can you make from one baked chicken? (I lost count after ten.) It also applies to basic life identification. Would I rather reduce my TV time or go out and enjoy sitting in the grass watching my two year old daughter pick flowers? It is the little things in life that I loved as a child.
Thanks for this great post!
For me frugality is a means to sustainability. I found the more I learned about how my choices were affecting the planet, the less desire I had for material possessions. I’ve also found the more we can remove ourselves from the industrial machine the better for us and the planet our choices become. Since I rarely buy things that aren’t food that is where a lot of my focus is. I don’t clip coupons or shop ads, I buy or grow high quality food with minimal processing and minimal chemicals. I eat organic, free range, grass fed etc, yet I’m spending less on food because I’m preparing more of it myself and dining out less. Each year I choose a new food or 2 to learn how to make at home so I can control my ingredients. This year I’m working on yogurt and bread. Most of all I’ve discovered we all have a different priorities and I love the support I’ve found online, since I’ve yet to find a local community that shares my values.
Southern Ladye says
Being frugal is, to me, about having what you need. It’s about living simply rather than simply living. Making memories with my family is so much more important that catching the sale of the week or spending a week’s vacation at the high priced resort while my children visit the resort’s child care center for activities geared for their ages. (What happened to families finding common interests, anyway?) We just had a weekend camping trip that cost us twenty bucks for the campsite and about fifteen dollars for food and we had a great time. Frugal living is simple living and it works for us.
My grandmother told me just the other day that her mother taught her that the cheapest thing was the best thing. In other words, quality is less expensive in the long run. I would say that frugality is about quality. It is refusing to accept inferior food, inferior health, inferior lifestyle choices and inferior entertainment. I Love that you added freedom to this list! Jesus came to “proclaim freedom for the captives” and by being frugal, we can show others a part of what being free can mean and that we don’t have to participate in this world’s system.
my grandma used to tell me, that things back in the good old days were quiet expensive, but they were also frugal as you used to wear them out, i think i got a pictures of her at least 15 years apart, wearing the same dress for Sunday.
Bama Girl says
Hi Andrea! Thank you for defining frugality! I have struggled with defining frugality, and am so relieved to know that it means different things for different people! I have felt that I needed to justify my spending so that I wouldn’t appear to be a ‘spend-thrift’! Maybe someone might frown down upon me if I spent a certain amount of money on an item, that to them, might seem extravagant. Now I can experience no more guilt! What a burden to be lifted from my shoulders! I am a good steward of my money and don’t always have a lot to spend, so when I see something of good quality that I know will be worth the money, I/we purchase it. I do a lot of the same things some of the commentors do and live as frugally as I can. Some do better, some, not as good. That’s where the freedom comes in: we are all different! Thank God for that and for you! Blessings from Bama!
You are so right! We are frugal in most areas so that we can afford to spend in a couple of other areas. It totally works for us and I don’t feel cheap at all.
Heidi @Adventures of a Thrifty Mom says
I think being frugal is a balancing act between time and money. Time is money and money is time. Like it has been stated above, the cheapest things often lead to more expense and waste in the long run. I also like to be frugal with my time so I try to not waste time with “frugal” ideas that don’t pay decent returns, kwim?
I think Frugality is being a good steward of what God has provided you with. If he has blessed you with a lot.. then it’s your job to take care of that, give some away to less fortunate and be wise with what is left over… Love your blog!!
Leslie A says
Very well said. Thanks for the encouragement today!
There are so many things in the world that leave me sad if I dwell on them. The disconnect in families from too much technology and not enoug seeing one another. Political state of the world. Fugality is like living a thank you to God for all of the abundance that society tries to ignore. It teaches my family(and myself) independence from government. Frugality is purpose with joy.
Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love says
For me, frugality is anything but cheap. We are frugal. But we’re not cheap. We watch what we spend and try not to buy needless junk to clutter up our house (have plenty of that…) 🙂 Being frugal enables us to be generous when we want to be. We take the time to research big purchases and often end up with a more expensive product because we are concerned with quality and durability. In short, being frugal means we have the resources to splurge when we want/need to.
For me, frugality is making smart decisions with choices and purchases. I’ve always had frugal thinking in some ways, and just now moving into it in others. For instance, when it came to larger purchases (ie furniture, cars, etc), I have always said “I’ll know it’s the right choice when I see it.”. Rather than settling for a cheaper substitute and thinking it would do me until I found something better, I do without until I find what I am looking for. Now I am applying that in other ways. I look at something in the store and think..can I make that?, can I use something I already have to serve the same purpose?, do i really need that?, is it necessary?
The Soulicious Life says
Very well said! 🙂
Sherry L says
I agree with quality over quantity! And for me, frugal is saying to myself; “do I really need this?” I don’t want to be one of those people mindlessly roaming the mall every week-end, just looking for junk to buy. I would rather be creating something! Love your words and mindset 🙂
LOVED this article, and love your blog! I know this is off topic, but I’m wondering if there are any online communities (like a forum where people exchange ideas and can ask questions for example), about living frugally? I don’t really have any family/friends, that I can discuss things like this with (most of them are all about acquiring “more”), and I’m really longing for that! Thanks!
Great article and lovely to see it explained like this. I agree with the general rule quality over quantity. So many people I know think buying something for $2 equals living frugally but then go on to buy that same item 20 times because it doesn’t last and all the while supporting slave labour, when they could have bought a similar item for $10 made locally that would last forever and support the local economy.
Thanks Andrea 🙂
I think a very important sentence that you wrote, is this :
“Could it be that our ability to buy all that we want, our materialism, and our useless spending has extinguished our creativity?”
I often say : “Let’s see if we can do this with things we already have or
with recycled items.” Sometimes I think by myself : “Do I say this because I am stingy ?”
But no, you opened my eyes : it just gives me such a huge satisfaction to achieve this
by using my creativity.
It’s the creativity that many people lack.
Kristy Elliott says
Being Frugal means making better choices for you and your family. It works on being self sufficient, recycling or reusing rather than just throwing it away. For us it means me making meals from scratch and loving every minute of it.
Hi Andrea! It was so nice to meet you! I’m super excited about my family trying your immunity tea 🙂 I’m also excited about your blog! Great post! And such an important and needed reminder to be CONTENT with what we have 🙂 That teaches us to enjoy being frugal!! I think you defined it very well! Have a great day!
Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama says
I completely agree!
Tomorrow (4/16), I am hosting the Natural Parents Network’s monthly blog hop and the topic is frugal living. I would love if you would stop by and share this post!
Your definition is perfect and well thought-out
Well put! Thanks so much for stating that. I feel that so many people I try to explain what I am to accomplish to just look at me like I’m nuts. Thanks for all your great info I have really enjoyed reading your blog!
Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents says
I always say the same thing. 🙂 Being frugal is “being a good steward of what the Lord has given me.” That’s it in a nutshell.
I absolutely agree, it’s mainly about “not wasting”. I always tried to recycle stuff (such as plastic bottles, aluminium cans etc) until I figured that almost anything can be recycled! Cars, computers, clothes and so on. Driven by that idea I became a member of barterquest.com and ever since I’ve been bartering my unused items off. You get to choose what you want in return, and they also let you trade services and real estate. Imagine we all used it….