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What IS frugality?

Every now and again, a blogger agonizes over whether frugal habits lead to cheapness—or worse, will be perceived by friends and relatives as miserliness. Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck ruminates, to entertaining effect, on the wacky ideas people have about personal finance and frugality. True frugality, IMHO, does not mean asceticism, tightness, or pathological self-deprivation. So, what really is a healthy, productive frugality?

Frugality is. . .


The frugalist knows better than to jump off a cliff just because all the other sheep do it.


Not until you’ve paid off your last penny of debt are you truly free to work where you please, to choose an occupation that remunerates you in something more meaningful than cash, or not to work at all.

Common sense

True frugality recognizes the difference between penny-wise and pound-foolish.


What goes around comes around. Over at Gather Little by Little, GLBL has been trying to explain the importance of giving for a while.

Living light on the land

Frugality by its nature is “green.” Frugalists neither waste nor want…nor do they accumulate junk. So frugal habits tend to preserve resources of all kinds.


Pinching pennies for no other purpose than to pile up pennies is a miser’s habit. Frugal people save money for specific reasons: to get out of debt and stay out of it; to send the kids to college; to take a dream vacation; to buy a house; to accrue an emergency fund; to finance a secure retirement.


The frugal person stays on track toward the goal.


Frugal people keep track of their finances and other aspects of their lives.


Frugality is self-motivation to do better in life as well as in personal finances.


Frugal people furnish their lives with only what they need or truly appreciate.


Frugalists work to build a better life for those they care about: born or unborn, found or yet to be found.


. . . in a better future.

Jamaica Sunrise, Adam L. Clevenger, Wikipedia Commons