This is a guest post from Randall at CreditWithdrawal.com. CreditWithdrawal is a blog about helping others get out of credit dependency and into financial freedom.
While researching another article, I came across a rather heated discussion about where the line is drawn when being frugal. Too little, and you’re not saving money, too much and you’re a Miser.
At that point, an idea popped into my head. “Is anyone really a Miser anymore??”
1.a person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money.
2.a stingy, avaricious person.
3.Obsolete. a wretched or unhappy person.
Obviously we have our literary stereotype of Scrooge as an example, but can you truthfully think of anyone in recent times that you know of that fits this description? I can’t, and I know more than a few people that practice the frugal lifestyle. I’ve never seen anyone that really prefers the love of money over people, but maybe I just don’t hang around the right bunch.
What Frugal Means
The Frugal Lifestyle, to most of us, doesn’t mean a life of abstinence. We don’t eat watered-down porridge by a candle to save on food and electricity. We simply get control of our impulses to buy useless crap.
We in the United States are VERY lucky, even if we don’t realize it. Even the poor and homeless can find food (shelters). We have SUPERMARKETS the size of FOOTBALL FIELDS filled with food. And even for the lower income families in America, basic staples are within their means. Government assistance, charitable organizations, and food pantries all contribute to the upkeep of anyone that needs it.
Because of this good fortune, the United States has turned into the worlds most consumer-centric country. Enough isn’t enough. He who dies with the most toys, wins! So get to accumulating those toys, you good little consumers you! Media blares continually with ads of every type and description. The idea to ‘buy more’ being pounded into everyone’s head day-in and day-out.
There’s a growing tide of sentiment that says “enough has become ENOUGH”. The age of Conspicuous Consumption is over, and it’s time to get the financial house in order. We’ve bought THINGS until we have no more room to store our THINGS. And the THINGS no longer even mean a THING to us anyway.
Living frugally is the scaling-back of desire, not eliminating it. Getting control of the runaway consumerism in the U.S. and defining what really makes us happy and content. Happiness is no longer defined by the McMansion and the BMW, those former status symbols have just turned into financial anchors around our necks.
What’s Best in Life?
Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.
Conan the Barbarian – From IMDB
Everyone defines what’s important to them. It could be family, religion, personal growth, professional growth, or a whole myriad of other items.
To me, frugality helps me provide for my family, both in time and money. The finances stretch farther and are spent on things of lasting value, or memorable activities. A vast majority of the flashy toys kids get will either be broken in the first week or two, or will be forgotten by the same time. Time spent with your family on vacations, or playing games (together) form memories that stay a long time.
I have a question for the reader, if you would indulge me,
What’s Best in Your Life?
Leave us a comment and let us know.