This is the question that JD asked on his personal finance site Get Rich Slowly. He was quoting John T. Reed who argues that being frugal is necessary for building wealth.
The question that JD asks is, is frugality something that you have to put up with until you’ve made it, or is frugality a way of life?
Personally, I think that being frugal is a way of life. I’m not being frugal to “get rich” as the quote suggests. While being frugal definitely saves money and puts you on the path to financial success, I think that frugality encompasses more than just dollars and cents.
The flip side to frugality is consumerism. And the result of excessive consumption is waste and environmental degradation. Climate change aside, I’m becoming really concerned by waste and the unabated consumption of our natural resources, the Amazon forest for example.
I think it is not only time to change the consumption / disposable mentality that we have, but time to change the underlying economic model that relies on us to be really good consumers. Our economic system isn’t like the law of gravity. It’s a man made system that can be changed. In fact, our economic system has only been based on consumer spending for about the last 70 years or so.
The other benefit to being frugal is that when we de-emphasise consumption, other values replace it. Buying less stuff often allows us to work less. Being frugal will allow me to stay at home to raise our children. Spending less time shopping, means more time doing fun stuff with friends and family or enjoying our hobbies or learning new skills.
Shopping isn’t the path to happiness.
Being frugal means independence. We don’t have to rely on someone else filling every one of our needs.
Anyway, they are a few of my thoughts on the subject, how about you? Do you think frugality is a necessary evil or is frugality a way of life? And why?
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.