Myth Busters: Myths About Frugality

Over the last few years frugality has become increasingly more popular. It’s almost a fashion statement now; everyone wants to be frugal or at least claims to be frugal. Nevertheless, there still seems to be some myths and connotations revolving frugality. Some believe frugal means cheap while others believe it is hard to live a frugal life. This week in our Myth Buster series we decided to clear up some of the myths about frugality.

Frugality

Myth: Frugality Means Cheap
Frugal does not mean cheap, these two terms are not interchangeable. Frugal people don’t deprive themselves of entertainment in life; they live on less and save money to partake in activities they enjoy the most. Frugal people are conscious consumers, so they often do not make rushed decisions and take their time to find the best deals. Often frugal people are very generous when it comes to giving and helping those in need, they are not materialistic people. Frugality is a lifestyle choice and one can choose the degree of frugality.

Myth: Frugal People Do Not Have Fun
On the contrary, I find that frugal people have more fun than big spenders. Frugal people try to cut cost where they can without affecting their lifestyle; they do not drive brand new cars or buy expensive designer clothing because that does not increase their wellbeing and happiness.  Rather they take their savings and spend it on things they actually enjoy. Therefore, frugal people can afford to have more fun than others.

Myth: Frugality Will Make You Rich
This depends on your definition of rich. If by rich you mean; living a comfortable life and not having to worry about debt then maybe, but if by rich you mean financial independence then maybe not so much. However frugality is a vital component of becoming financially independent, if you can control your spending habits and live below your means than you are well on your way to become financially independent. If you live way beyond your means and spend more than you make, it just becomes impossible to reach financial independence. Although frugality does not make you rich, it does put you on the right path.

Myth: Instead of Being Frugal it’s Better to Increase Your Income
This logic is highly flawed. It does not matter how much you make if you are spending more than what you make. The only way to improve your financial wellbeing (net worth) is to keep as much of your income as possible. If you spend $2 for every $1 you earn it will not make a difference if you increase your income. Living frugally can help you make better financial decisions and keep more of your income thereby improving your net worth. Of course, the optimal situation would be to live frugally while increasing your income.

It seems like the last recession has taught people to be somewhat more financially responsible and that money really does not grow on trees. Frugality has gained a tremendous popularity among people; hopefully this will be a long-term trend and not a short-lived momentum.

What frugality myth are you aware of?

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Comments

  1. says

    Frugal people will most likely have fun just being frugal. I love to search for the best deal on products I want to buy. To me that is part of the fun. The whole idea behind frugality is to increase the gap between income and expenses so that you can increase your savings and pay for the stuff you really want in life. Whether that is retirement, a new computer, or a car frugal people are going to research the heck out of it so they get the best deal.

  2. says

    Thank you so much for sharing the 4th myth in particular. Nobody ever got rich spending more than they earn regardless of how much they made. But even low income people have built wealth over time by being frugal.

  3. Anonymous says

    “Instead of Being Frugal it’s Better to Increase Your Income” is not a myth, it’s simple mathematical reality… If you make $50,000 a year and you spend $1 of every $2, then you save $25,000. If you make $500,000 a year and you spend $1 of every $2, then you save $250,000. How are those two anything comparable??? So yes, making more money means you can splurge more and still save more on an absolute basis…

  4. says

    @Anonymous…if you keep spending more than what you make increasing your income will not make you any wealthier, yea you can buy more things and more expensive things but you will not be able to increase your income. You always see many celebrities being in financial trouble even though they make millions of dollars per year. So making more won’t improve your net worth unless you learn how to spend less.

  5. says

    This is a great article: all truth. Frugality is, indeed, not a fashion statement but a lifestyle choice. If it becomes fashionable and we all get down with the borax, vinegar, recycling, vintage clothing and eating simple, natural foods I, for one, will be extremely pleased.

  6. says

    These are all myths. Frugal living does not mean you are not having fun at all. Everyone has its own satisfaction. Everyone has its own happiness.

    Living frugally is not any different than if you were changing your dietary habits, occasionally you fall, but you get back up and get on track.

  7. making it work says

    frugal definitely does not mean cheap.
    while raising 2 kids alone one a VERY meagre income, i realized the hard way i was too poor to be cheap. which means i figured out that spending money on poorly made necessities for my home meant i was replacing these items frequently. so, i waited until i could buy the best; the best can opener, the best garlic press, the best blender, toaster, cookware, etc ..small things, maybe but, i still have those ‘best’ items that i purchased, over 20 years ago, and they are still performing their duties admirably. if i had kept on down the ‘cheap’ track, i would have ended up spending to 5 to 10 times as much by now.
    drying/canning/freezing fruits and veg in season is another great way to save money.
    the GREATEST way, though, is..turn off the tv. get rid of it. you won’t start believing you need the things you see on there, and neither will your kids, if you’re not watching the thing. you’ll be more creative, in entertaining yourself, in gifting, in cooking and eating. you won’t crave junk food, or junk purchases. seriously, turn off the tube. you’ll save a bundle.

  8. says

    Being frugal encompasses finding good value for our hard earned money, accompanied by reduction in wasted resources (money being a big one), and allocating resources towards more productive goals/ideals.

    Its unfortunate that most people believe being frugal simply means spending less, which is simply not true. Like the previous poster Making It Work said, cheap and poorly made things break more often and really end up costing more in the end. Allocating the money to the better quality items, but at discounted prices is a much better solution. And finding that balance isn’t always easy.

    Hats off to you Making It Work, for not giving into the lowest price mindset, and staying with smart frugality. I know it may be sometimes tough to pay a higher overall cost for something, but its making those decisions that eventually improve people’s financial circumstances.

    PS, your kids will love you for not letting them grow up to be brain dead consumer-centric individuals, by shutting off the TV!

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