I remember watching PBS quite a bit when I was young, enjoying all the usual shows like Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and other kid-oriented shows. As I got older and my interests changed, I began watching different shows of all kinds, including cooking shows. One of the shows that would come on was called The Frugal Gourmet, a show which I would almost always turn off immediately.
Why? Well it had nothing to do with the cooking and everything to do with the word “frugal.” For some reason the word held a negative meaning in my young mind, though to this day I don’t fully understand why. I think it was a visceral reaction based on a false belief that the word frugal meant poor, or perhaps miserly. In my youth I didn’t understand the wisdom living a frugal lifestyle has to offer. Now I understand just how wrong I was.
Frugality is simply choosing to live beneath your means and making intentional choices with your money.
Frugality is opportunity cost in action. It’s choosing between different alternatives with your limited resources, realizing that if you choose one, you lose the ability to choose the others and that’s not a bad thing. Frugality is not miserly, it’s exercising good stewardship of your money.
Consider just a few of the benefits of frugality:
- Frugality gives you the freedom to use your income for what you really value, not just for paying bills and buying stuff.
- Frugality gives you the freedom to do more things you enjoy by keeping you from descending into debt.
- Frugality gives you the freedom to take advantage of the best opportunities as they come along.
- Frugality gives you the freedom to plan and save for the future.
- Frugality gives you the freedom to be better prepared for emergencies and unexpected expenses.
- Frugality gives you the freedom to bless others when you discover their needs.
Don’t buy into the lie that being frugal is boring or stressful—it’s actually very much the opposite. You’ll be challenged to be creative day after day, and have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve counted the cost and made the wisest decisions you could with the resources you had on hand.
Have you chosen to live a frugal lifestyle? Tell us about the positive benefits you’ve experienced in the comments.
Note: I’m aware that Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, may have had other problems plaguing his life far beyond frugality.
Also published on Medium.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.
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