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Itís Not Deprivation

August 9th, 2006 at 07:28 pm

I keep reading little snipes at frugality (not here!), as if people who choose not to spend are depriving themselves.

Get this straight: I am not deprived. I am not missing lattes, going out to eat, spending at the mall. I am not some sad little thing sitting at home washing Ziplocs while life passes me by. I am not doing without.

Some people may under spend on important items, say, on health insurance. Others may pass up grapes they love every day for bananas that are cheaper, never really satisfying themselves in the aim to save money. Some folks may be so concerned about debt or saving money that life revolves around keeping and making money.

I am very frugal. I do not spend a lot of money on things I donít get value out of. But believe me; I have become very clear in my mind that a lot of things that donít cost money are the things most important to me. And when it is important, I will spend money and not regret the purchase.

I have a $25 entertainment/eating out budget every month. Whatís happened is that when I eat out I enjoy it much more than when it was frequent. If I am really, really in the mood to go out to eat, I do. I have learned to differentiate being lazy (can of soup works here) from wanting the experience of dining out.

I travel every year. If the stars align right, I may go to Eastern Africa next year to meet up with my folks. It will cost thousands-airfare alone to Africa is a doozy-and I wonít question in for a second. (My Dad was born there, and took my mother and me there when I was an infant, and now heíll be able to show his wife and me. Very full circle and all that.)

I will likely eat oatmeal or homemade granola with bran for breakfast every day this week. I will pack lunch every day. I will hang laundry. I will not be upset about it. I donít have to ďget overĒ being upset about it. These are not unpleasant things.

If you think being frugal is painful, youíre wrong. Being frugal is very freeing, very relaxing. My income could drastically drop, and I wouldnít have to alter my lifestyle for a second. How luxurious is that ?

If you looked at me lying on my nice bed, post-long hot bath, with my big poofy wonderful comforter, and my pile of paperbacks, on the pillows and floors and everywhere, and my tea with extra lemon and extra sweetener, youíd be able to tell I was far from deprived. Iím living a positively decadent life.

Donít misinterpret my oatmeal, fools.

6 Responses to “Itís Not Deprivation”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    In my old spend days I was so hung up on buying the widgets that would make me happy (yeah, right) that I missed wayyy to many of the totally FREE things that truly would.

    I have traded- widgets for sunsets, watchamacallits for a good book from the library, thingamajigs for a quiet cup of homebrewed coffee, and gizmos for an afternoon with a hot bath and some soft music....

    Nope, not too bad a trade in my life. Deprived? I think not.

  2. Christiana Says:

    Excellent! My sentiments exactly.

  3. Jane Says:

    Well said!

    You mentioned that if your income dropped but you wouldn't have to alter your lifestyle. That really is one of the greatest benefits of a frugal life. Fifteen years ago (when our sons were 11, 9 and 5) my husband was laid off. He found work immediately, but we went from $63,000 adjusted gross income one year to $25,000 the next. Our friends and family saw us eating out less but that really was the only outward sign of that drastic drop. I did NOT have to get a job. We did NOT pay one bill late. Our children remember it as a good time in their lives. The key was that we had always lived below our means anyway, so the income drop only necessitated some fine-tuning of our already frugal lifestyle. We weren't able to save much for a few years, but other than that we were fine. I am well aware that if we were spending to the full extent of that $63,000 that wouldn't have been the case. Frugality = Deprivation? No, Frugality = Comfortable Security!

  4. ima saver Says:

    I think the happiest year of my husband's life is when we moved to this area and we lived on our savings for a full year. We had no jobs and no income coming in. we did not feel deprived at all. My husband enjoyed building our home all by himself that year. We did not spend money on anything that was not necessary but we were very happy!! We camped out in a travel trailer and build our house mortgage free.

  5. blueknitter Says:

    I just wanted to tell you how much your blog is helping me to get back on the frugal track. After being frugal until it hurt for a number of years by necessity, splurging has become a habit instead of a treat, and our bank balances show it. I get no end of inspiration from your challenge and accomplishments. And I totally agree with your latest post. Thanks.

  6. jodi_m Says:

    (I'm a little behind in reading the blogs, but I always make sure to get caught up on yours)
    Just wanted to say, once again, I found myself nodding in agreement as I read your posts. People need to understand that for many, frugality is a "choice", not a "punishment". And for those who only become frugal in response to exterior factors (i.e. change in income) WILL regard it as a punishment until they change their attitude about money. True frugality frees you up for so many other opportunities!
    Another example: We have been living on one PT income since DH lost his job last summer. We have even managed to pay over $6k in tuition costs out of pocket while doing this, and only used about $1k from our EF in over a year. I am so glad we had the foresight to make the changes in our spending before we NEEDED to.

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