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What I Wouldn’t Do for Frugality


Because I write a blog with a focus on saving money, you might assume that I am a frugal EXTREMIST!  Not the case.  I consider myself more of a frugal reasonablist (no, it’s not a real word), and a imperfect reasonablist at that. 

I like to save and spend wisely because it improves our lives now as well as our prospects for the future.  The second, and I mean the second, it stopped doing that, I’d quit and blow all the money on hats (reference Hot Shots!).  But, unfortunately, saving is not going to stop making sense for us; so much for the hats. 

The question is, what wouldn’t I do for frugality’s sake?  And actually, there’s quite a bit.

 

I would not hit Macho Man Randy Savage in the face. 

I throw a notoriously weak punch, and am a slow runner.

 

I would not sacrifice a great amount of time for a relatively small reward.

Small savings do add up over time and are absolutely worthwhile.  That said, I’d drive myself crazy(er) if I agonized over every single little bit of savings.  It may be egotistical of me to say, but I picture myself going full-blown-crazy over something much much bigger than just a couple of bucks.

Examples:

  • If when I get to the grocery store I realize that I accidenally left my coupons at home, I won’t drive all the way back just to get them.  Crazy, right?!  If I’m grocery shopping, it’s Sunday, if it’s Sunday, I have a lot to get done to prepare for my week in addition to spending quality time with Husband.
  • There’s a plane ticket for $50 cheaper that gets to my destination a day later.  If I’m flying somewhere, it’s to see family, if I’m seeing family, I want to spend as much time with them as possible.  I’ll spend the 50 bucks.

  

I would not sacrifice my, or Husband’s, happiness or comfort.

Happiness and comfort.  Could there be two more arbitrary concepts?  There are about 6,697,254,041 definitions that include some combination of the following:

Happiness & Comfort Now = Happiness & Comfort Later

Have a nice couch now and a nice couch later.

Happiness & Comfort Now < Happiness & Comfort Later

Have no couch now and the best couch ever later.

Happiness & Comfort Now > Happiness & Comfort Later

Have the best couch ever now and no couch later.

We are subscribers to the level H&C method and have set our goals accordingly.  We could cancel cable, turn the A/C up to 90 degrees, sell the car and commit to remaining within biking distance of our apartment.  We could, but we won’t.

These issues have to do with the quality of life and we are not willing to sacrifice any more than we find necessary to reach our goals (although we are always looking for/needing ways to improve).  Conversely, we’ve also found that we don’t need to spend any more to reach our desired levels of H&C.

 

I would not sacrifice charitable giving, Diet Coke, red meat, my Real Simple magazine subscription… you get the point.  But I would sacrifice one night of eating out per week, our covered parking space, most snack foods…. again, you get the point.

To be 100% frugal 100% of the time?  I cannot imagine, nor would I want to.  You might take a look at our budget and find all sorts of places where we “waste” our money; by your standards, that is.  

We could all be better with our budgets.  There are certain areas, however, where the spending to happiness ratio is simply at its optimum. 

Our goals define largely how we view every single expense and our frugal mindset should be linked to these goals.  It’s very possible to spend hardly any money at all.  It’s even easier to spend all of your money at once.  Neither would make much sense without considering how you envision your financial future.


Article publié pour la première fois le 23/09/2010

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