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Frugality As A Way Of Life

May 10th, 2014 at 02:09 pm

I have consciously practiced frugality without sacrifice* for about five years. It made very good sense to me to do so because this powerful personal finance tactic enabled me to arrive at much lower baseline living expenses** and drastically accelerated my arrival at financial independence.*** But I am there now, with passive income that greatly exceeds those baseline living expenses. And yet I continue to be vigilantly frugal. So I have been questioning why I am still doing this -- and whether I should continue to do so. Here is what I have figured out.

A dollar saved is a dollar earned. There is no good reason not to save money when doing so takes no effort. Like buying my gas at the lowest-price station on my normal driving route. Like paying for that gas with a credit card that returns 5% of that low cost to me.**** But what about when it (at least) seems to take effort?

Frugality can be fun. My hiking/handyman jeans are a good case in point of frugality as a game.***** I needed "new" jeans because I had shed a lot of excess weight. I could have just bought an inexpensive $10-$12 pair at WalMart with no financial stress. But no. I kept wearing my cinched up jeans on hikes and while handy-manning. I looked in thrift stores whenever I was going by one anyway. And after 3 or 4 such tries, I found jeans that fit me for $3. I enjoyed that frugality win. I still do whenever I think of it.

Frugality is good business. I cannot imagine making a large purchase or arranging for a major service to my home or vehicle without first doing some serious comparison shopping.****** And the objective of that effort is to save money -- to be frugal. No one bats an eye when a business or government agency seeks a low bidder for its purchases and service needs. I do the same. Not to do so would be to waste money.

Frugality keeps me financially independent. If I go "off the reservation" and let my baseline living expenses swell, those expenses could -- in theory and in time -- exceed my passive income. And my financial independence would end -- unless I went back to being frugal.

But frugality is not always necessary. That is the point I am at. I have no problem continuing to practice frugality without sacrifice where my basic living expenses are concerned. But I marvel that I extend that frugality to spending my discretionary funds.******* It is just NOT necessary. And I do not always do it. But it is my norm to do it.

Being frugal must be me! Somewhere along the line, I internalized frugality in principle, as a life value, as part of who I am. And I get a kick (sometimes big, sometimes small) out of each and every frugality win I score. Because to me it really is a game. A fun game I play every day as a way of life. And I have concluded that is a good thing.

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* How I Do Frugality Without Sacrifice:
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** My $18K Annual Baseline Budget:
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*** My Financial Independence Key:
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**** Raking In Credit Card Cashback:
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***** Playing the Frugal Game is Fun!
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****** Big Job Estimates Save Me Big Money:
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******* A Discretionary Fund, Not a Discretionary Budget:
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2 Responses to “Frugality As A Way Of Life”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    We are at a point in our lives where we don't have to be super frugal, but it has become a mindset and a way of life. Good score on those jeans!

  2. Retired To Win Says:

    rob62521 Says:

    "We are at a point in our lives where we don't have to be super frugal, but it has become a mindset and a way of life. Good score on those jeans!"

    That is exactly what it is, isn't it rob? A mindset. Automatic pilot. No thinking about it necessary. We just do it.

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