I’ve been writing for 15 years and I think this is my first article on frugality probably because I’ve never thought of myself as frugal. Before having kids, I never really worried too much about spending money. I’ve made good income for most of my working life and also been a pretty good saver so if I really wanted something I bought it.
Now being a dad, I feel it is important to set a good example for my kids so I don’t always just buy what I want. For example, when I go grocery shopping with the kids, I am explaining to them why it’s better to buy things ‘on sale'. I think it’s working because now, my kids don’t ask if we can buy ‘this’ or ‘that’. Instead they ask “Dad, is this on sale?’.
What does it mean to be frugal?
Frugal is used to describe someone who is economical and avoids wasting money. The synonyms of the word frugal are thrifty, prudent, economical, sparing, careful, penny-wise, penny-pinching, cheap or even stingy.
There are huge degrees or frugality. Extreme frugality can create some really negative connotations like being cheap, stingy or a miser. Here’s an entertaining article from a guy named Tightwad Tod that takes frugality to an extreme level. Another interesting article come from the Banknerd site on taking frugal living too far.
I think everyone has some frugality in them. I know lots of people who look for deals and buy things on sale. I also know people who intentionally look for deals through flyers or coupons. Nowadays, people can find even more savings online. For example, people are finding sites like MyPoint that offer additional savings on top of Macy’s website coupons.
As I was doing some research to write this article, I’ve realized I am more frugal than I thought. Although I am not obsessed about it, I like to look for good deals. I don’t use coupons but I am mindful of our spending. I like shopping at Costco because buying bulk saves me some money when it comes to feeding four growing boys. I’ve shopped many times on Kijiji and ebay for some used bikes, an outdoor basketball hoop, sports equipment and other things for the boys. Like many others, I’ve bought a couple of items off groupon and will continue to look for future deals. As I get older, I’ve been much more aware and conscious of spending and practicing frugality more and more without really knowing it.
Is it trendy to be frugal?
For the past couple of years I’ve exposed to more and more personal finance blogs on frugality. I can’t help but think frugality is a growing trend and a segment of the population that really sees the value of being frugal.
Some experts argue that frugality has become popular out of necessity. The recent financial crisis has forced people to tighten up their spending and face the consequences of accumulating more debt.
I can’t help but think frugality has become more socially acceptable for other reasons as well. Technology has made it easier to access deals. Just look at the growing number of people buying on ebay, kijiji, or using groupon. There is no shortage of finding ways to save money. Google ‘ways to be frugal’ and you will see no shortage of lists to help you find ways to cut corners and be more thrifty.
Whatever is causing the trend, I am encouraged that in a time when debt has become so accessible and it has become so easy to live beyond our means, that ‘frugal’ is in fashion. Are you frugal and to what degree?