May 01

Frugal Living Means Getting More (Not Less) of What Matters Most

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Frugal living gets you more of what you value most.  What?  A frugal lifestyle can mean more of the things that matter?  Yes.  Absolutely, yes.  More vacations, more time with your kids, eating out at restaurants on a regular basis, nice clothes, a frugal lifestyle can get you there better, and more efficiently, than any other method.   Frugal living is purpose driven.

Frugal Living is Not Being Cheap

Being Cheap

Frugal Living Means Having MORE of What Matters (not less)

Frugal Living Means Having MORE of What Matters (not less)

People who are cheap look for ways to save money … period.  Many of them are also very self-righteous and annoying.  They look for ways to save with no end in mind except for an ‘early retirement’ or an increased value in their stock portfolios.  This is how many ‘cheap’ people measure their success.  There are some problems with this approach, however.

First, there does not seem to be any concept of ‘enjoying the present’.  Cheap people are always looking to their ‘rich’ futures as a means to ‘who knows what’, with little or no though about the ‘end’ save for some vague idea about what future ‘wealth’ will bring them.  Deciding ‘what’ is important and ‘what are priorities’ is the hard part.  Cheap people seem to miss this point.  Frugal people put this thinking at forefront of their money-saving efforts.  In a very real sense, frugal living people are hedonists.  They make decisions and money choices that maximize their pleasure.

This leads well into a second point, namely, what are cheap people saving all that money for?  I am not sure that many cheap people would be able to answer this question.  They are so busy depriving themselves, that the future and the present of what they really enjoy most eludes them.  Perhaps they have not even thought about it.  Sad.  All that ‘doing without’ seems to have repressed the all-important self-appraisal about what really matters to them in the ‘now’ and in the future.

Why Living Frugally is Not the Same and Being Cheap

I have written a previous post that examines the question of being cheap versus being frugal in great depth. In short, being cheap means avoiding anything that is expensive.  It means looking for the lowest price.  We know, however, that sometimes the more expensive item is the better choice because it is value, not price, that really matters.

In contrast, frugal people take a holistic approach.  Living frugally means deciding what is most important to you and directing your energy and money towards getting more of whatever this is in your life.  It is NOT doing without! In fact, it means getting more of the things that really matter to you in your life.

The Purpose of Frugal Living

I need to stress here that ANYTHING that you decide is a priority in your life is the RIGHT priority.  It might be having a nice car, paying off your mortgage, buying designer clothes and accessories, living in a shack in the middle of nowhere, retiring at age 40; WHATEVER.  The key is that frugal living helps you get there. That is its purpose.  Frugal living gets you more of the things that matter by giving you more money or time to do it.

By making CHOICES and reducing expenses in other areas, I can get more of the experiences and/or things that are most important to me based upon these personal choices.

Why Do I Live Frugally?

Here are some of the things that I choose to prioritize in my life:

Spending Time With My Daughter

I work hard at my work so that I can enjoy my non-work time with my daughter.  Yes, there are times when work needs to come home with me, but I choose to work very hard while I am at work so that this ‘at-home-work’ time is minimized.

My Daughter’s Future

I save and contribute to my daughter’s college fund and pay off my home mortgage so that I can give her my downtown home as a future inheritance. Here are some of my other ideas regarding children and parenting.

My Own Future

I save for my eventual retirement faithfully and with determination.  I live with minimal debt and earmark a pre-determined amount of my current income to fund my future income.  Here are some of my other money and investing ideas.

Organic Food

I don’t buy organic versions of all of my food, but I do buy organic where it matters most.  Here are the ‘dirty dozen’ that I always try to buy organic.  Here are some of my favourite food and recipe ideas

Owning a Comfortable Car

I own an Audi.  It is an older model and I bought it used.  As a single dad, I drive a lot between the homes my daughter lives in, daycare, school, etc.  I want my daughter and I to be comfortable.  She also loves the cup holders and the sunroof (something I never had growing up).  I like to provide this for her.

I Buy Coffee Each Morning (and Most Afternoons)

Yes, I could brew my own, but it is just never quite as good.  I save money in other areas so that I can afford this relative luxury.

Eating Out

My daughter and I love eating out.  It is a chance for us to relax and to talk.  I avoid restaurants with TVs everywhere.  It is our time to enjoy the comfort of someone else preparing our food and serving it to us.  We eat out once per week.

Owning a House

Houses can be a hassle and are very expensive to maintain, but I never lived in a house growing up. I always lived in an apartment.  My daughter and I really enjoy having a backyard and stairs that lead from one level to the next.  It’s also very cool for both of us to have a basement and to be able to do our laundry whenever we choose.   Providing this experience for her is a priority for me.

I work to save money in most other areas so that I can have more of the things that are important to me. I make no apologies for prioritizing my saving and spending on the things that matter in my life.  This is frugality.


I really appreciate you taking the time to read my article.  Please share it if you feel that a friend and/or your social media community might enjoy it.

Can you think of any other benefits of frugal living?  Any comments about how living frugally and being cheap are different? We’d love to hear from you if you have something to say.  Please leave a comment below.  Cheers.

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Author: Jason Milburn Google

Frugal dad – focusing my money and energy towards happiness and the things that matter most since around 1985.

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