We frugal folks often get a bad rap. In the media, one of two things tends to happen. When the economy is bad, the media races to interview diehard frugal gurus to figure out just how they do it and peek behind the mysterious veil of living within your means. When economic times are brighter, frugality is marginalized and those same gurus are looked upon with a mixture of sympathy and disdain. I think both of these extremes are fueled by fundamental myths about what frugality really means. Let’s set the record and debunk seven of the most common frugal myths: Frugal Living Frugal Living Frugal Living Frugal Living Frugal Living
1. People are frugal because they have no choice
Many folks are frugal because they have to be (and in this day and age, there are few among us who can afford not to be). For others, frugality is a choice — a method of successful living that’s a response to understanding the intimate link between time, labor, money, and things. The frugal realize that every purchase we make represents time that’s been (or will be) sold. Consequently, we tend to prioritize expenditures differently.
2. “Frugal,” “cheap,” and “tightwad” are all synonyms
Some tightwads may be cheap and all tightwads are frugal, but not everyone who’s frugal is a tightwad or cheap. Follow? To me, tightwad and cheap are terms of disparagement. They’re meant to imply a personality flaw — a tendency to hate to spend money and when spending is unavoidable, to always choose the cheapest option. Frugal folks, on the other hand, are not so rigid. We seek out quality and we cut corners in certain categories so that we can indulge in others debt-free. Maybe a young couple chooses to live off a single salary so that one parent can stay home with a child. Maybe a single man takes his lunch to work every day to pay down his mortgage faster. Frugality is born from understanding priorities — from conscious calculation and from rational strategy.