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How I Do Frugality Without Sacrifice

April 12th, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Frugality without sacrifice is the basic guiding principle of my personal finances.* It is what has made it possible for me to have a very comfortable basic lifestyle on just $18,000 a year.** But how do I actually practice frugality without sacrifice -- as opposed to frugality as sacrifice? Or as opposed to disguised unfrugality? I do not think the answer is so obvious. So here is how I see it.

In my view, practicing frugality without sacrifice is based on one key concept and one key question. The key concept is: to do instead... not do without. And the key question is: is it worth it to me... not can I afford it.

To do instead, NOT do without. I used to stream music on my PC using Sirius, which cost me $4 a month. Now I stream music using Pandora, which is free. I am doing instead, not doing without. I used to use a credit monitoring service that cost me $13 a month. Now I use Credit Karma and Credit Sesame, which are both free. I am doing instead, not doing without. I used to use Comcast cable to view television, which cost me $50 a month. Now I use a long-distance rooftop antenna and Netflix, which costs me $8 a month. I am doing instead, not doing without. My real life examples go on and on. The point is that I am practicing frugality without giving anything up -- without sacrifice.

Is it worth it to me, NOT can I afford it. I thoroughly enjoy chuck steak at $4 a pound or less. I can afford to buy ribeye at double the price. But any taste difference I might detect is not worth the extra cost to me. When I traveI, I am extremely comfortable staying at Best Western for around $75 a night. I can afford to stay at a Hilton for considerably more. But any extra amenities I might have available are not worth the extra cost to me. I drive a 1996 Dodge Dakota.*** I could afford to write a check for a new truck. But a new vehicle is absolutely not worth the extra cost to me. The point is that I am practicing frugality without feeling deprived or feeling that I am missing out -- without sacrifice.

I believe the bottom line question is whether one is happy with one's frugal spending choices -- or resentful of them. If one is happy with those choices, then one is practicing frugality without sacrifice. And, guess what. I am happy.

# # #

*My Financial Independence Key:
http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2013/12/17/my-financi...

**My $18K Annual Baseline Budget:
http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2013/12/29/my-18k-ann...

***My Oldie-Goldie Thrifty-Nifty Truck:
http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2014/03/25/my-oldie-g...

11 Responses to “How I Do Frugality Without Sacrifice”

  1. Jenn Says:

    Your second point is one that I often remind myself. I cringe when I hear myself tell my kids "We can't afford that." because it really isn't true. I'm retraining to say "That isn't in our budget." or "I'd rather use my money for something better."

    I forgot who said "Never give up what you want most for what you want now.", but it's so true.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Great post!

  3. Retired To Win Says:

    Thank you, creditcardfree! Smile

  4. Retired To Win Says:

    April 12th, 2014 at 04:36 pm
    Jenn Says:
    ...I forgot who said "Never give up what you want most for what you want now.", but it's so true.


    That is a good one, Jenn!

  5. Retired To Win Says:

    reply posted by krantcents on the forum on July 31, 2014:

    I never thought of frugality as sacrifice. I keep a low profile lifestyle and really do not miss out on much. We still go out twice a week, but keep it to under $250 per month. We downsized to a townhouse about 17 years ago. My only splurge is travel every 2-3 years and I use frequent flier miles to defray the costs.

  6. Retired To Win Says:

    reply posted by snafu on the forum on July 31, 2014:

    I use different words to reach for goals. I like the challenge presented by being 'thrifty.' I feel DH and I work hard for our income and seek 'value for our money'. I guess as a teen I learned the importance of using time and money efficiently. I was downright incensed at my 1st payroll job when I was handed a list of all those deductions. When my dad got home I asked him if that was legal! lol

    DH's eyes glaze over when I try to explain finance so we use terms like 'cash flow' since he's used to that for work. In my experience, planned spending gives more satisfaction than impulse purchases which tend to disappoint or not live up to their hype. A tiny bit of research seems to go a long way to deliver the desired result for the best price. I hardly recall an incident or situation when I felt deprived or that I was making a 'sacrifice.' Mostly it's a matter of choice. With a lot of input from DSs, we cash flowed 2 DSs through 4 year university programs, plus 1.5 yr. but I drive a 2008 PT Cruiser. Fact is I like the mini truck features and I'll likely drive it till it's toast.

    My tag line is... The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that does come their way.

  7. Retired To Win Says:

    reply posted by MonkeyMama on the forum on July 31, 2014:

    For us, frugality has always meant more choices and nicer things.

  8. Retired To Win Says:

    reply posted by Snydley on the forum on August 01, 2014:

    For me, it's easy because I'm so utterly disgusted with the practices of deregulated corporations that I simply hate to give them my money. This mainly equates in savings on the purchases of material goods in my family, as I buy very little 'things' (and largely 2nd hand from ebay). 'Things' are bad for the environment and mostly made by the poor, who are paid an unfair wage and subjected to horrible working conditions. It is so difficult to feed the corporate monsters with my hard earned cash.

    Another example are these cable companies - they deliberately make the billing too confusing to understand and hide fees all over the place. I take the time to switch practically every year; it's a major hassle but I'm not giving them the extra $20-50 a month because I don't take a few hours to sort through their cryptic rules and go somewhere else.

    I also shun the 'keeping up with the Joneses' mentality than advertising pounds into our brains. A car is for getting us from A to B, clothes keep us warm. Brands, labels, etc? Who cares.

    Fair trade products, locally run businesses can have my money. Everybody else can stick it.

    This attitude saves my family a lot of money.

  9. Retired To Win Says:

    reply posted by bjl584 on the forum on August 01, 2014:

    I've never really thought of it as sacrifice. I'm content with what I have for the most part. I don't give in to trends or consumerism. I'd much rather invest my money and watch it grow than to blow it on wants.

  10. Retired To Win Says:

    bjl 584...

    ALMOST the same here.

    I really mean it when I harp on "frugality without sacrifice." That is the only way I'll do it now... now that I AM financially independent. I have reached the end goal of my past frugality. What goal shall I have now for my future frugality? (aside from making sure I MAINTAIN my financial independence )

    And connecting right from there, what am I going to watch my money grow FURTHER for? What am I going to do with that EXTRA money... unless I do "blow it" (your term, not mine) on wants?

    In my view, frugality is NOT an end onto intself. It is a strategic means to achieve personal financial ends.

  11. Retired To Win Says:

    reply posted by JoeP on the forum on August 01, 2014:

    For us, it is achieved by rejecting mainstream consumerism and defining our own values, most of which just happen to be less expensive.

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