Five Reasons To Stop Being Frugal And Get A Life

This post was inspired by Invest It Wisely and his post Challenging Your Thoughts and Beliefs.

This post was featured as an Editor’s Pick in Carnival of Personal Finance #286.

This post was included in The Best Personal Finance Articles of 2010 by Free From Broke.

I like spending money. There… I said it. I like shopping (if you didn’t know that, read about it here). I like going on vacations even if it means only a two day getaway to some place I’ve never been before. I like eating out with my friends. So, overall I like spending money and I don’t feel guilty about it. Or even worse – I don’t feel like a fool who is parted from her money.

Some people like saving money, some people like spending their hard earned dollars. It is a personal choice. Do you believe you can be frugal and not be afraid to spend money?

A frugal lifestyle could require a lot of work, time and patience. It could overtake your life. It could control your life in the following ways:

1. You spend endless hours researching, exploring, shopping around for good prices and deals. A frugal person like you understands that shopping is not fun. It is hard work comparing prices, planning and timing your purchases, organizing your schedule to accommodate your shopping trips so that you can get precisely what you need for exactly what you want to spend on it. Instead you could be walking in the  park with your dog, playing with your kids, spending time with your friends, visiting your parents, reading a book or watching the news.

2. Your hair will eventually grow out of control, lose shape and style. But, being a frugal person you cannot justify spending more than $20 for a haircut. Annually. You decide to cut your own hair, even though you cannot see if you cut it straight in the back. Instead of looking stylish and preppy, you choose to look frugal. Come on… what is really important? Definitely not looks. Substance.

3. You separate the 2-ply toilet paper rolls into 2 separate rolls. You even start considering to use newspaper instead of a toilet paper. You wash and re-use plastic storage bags. You make your own soap and you tell yourself it is better for your skin (and it probably is). You cook at home all the time. Why go out and pay someone to serve you the same food you can make yourself? Time consuming? Yes. Boring? Probably.Instead you could be … see #1 above.

4. You don’t want to pay money for cable or the Internet. You sign up for your local library to get free books, magazines and movies. You wait for months because all popular books and movies are taken, and the waiting lists are huge. However, you don’t mind waiting because you don’t have time to read or watch movies. Insteadof reading and watching movies, you are busy cooking, cutting out coupons, making your own soap, unrolling and rolling toilet paper and washing plastic storage bags.

5. You don’t go on vacations because they cost money. Instead you take naps and dream of places you have never been because that doesn‘t cost anything and gives you so much needed relaxation.

If after reading this you are still considering frugality is a way of life, think twice. And for Goodness sake, go get a life!

34 thoughts on “Five Reasons To Stop Being Frugal And Get A Life

  1. Money Reasons

    I’m frugal but I don’t do any of those things

    To me, those tactics just sounds cheap (especially the toilet paper bit)…

    To me frugal means getting the most value for your money. So instead of spending $20 on the Monopoly game with the carrying case, we buy the normal boxed version for $10… We hardly play Monopoly anyway…

    Instead of buying an Eastwing hammer that cost twice as much, I buy the run of the mill (but well balanced) hammer…

    That said, I know what you are talking about. Saving a dime here and a nickel there isn’t going to bode well for one’s happiness in life. Afterall, if you’re too cheap or extremely frugal, you end up being a miser and regretting missed opportunities that have passed you by than you can no longer do once you become older.

    So, even though I’m frugal, I’m more of the balanced sort that like nice vacation experiences and watching my kids play in sports, and some of the other high points in life that I value greatly…

    1. Lisa @ Cents To Save

      Money Reasons,

      I love my Eastwing hammer! Would not trade it for anything and it was definitely worth every penny.

      1. Money Reasons

        Yeah, it’s a great hammer! All of the constructions workers that I use to work with had one! I tried it, and it was great, it did really surprised me!

        But I’m not in construction anymore, so that cheap hammer at Lowes is just find for me now

      2. Money Reasons

        Oh, I think it’s awesome to hear a female say that their favorite hammer is a Estwing (no “a” in the hammer’s name, I was typing to fast in my first comment)!

        Most guys don’t know what an Estwing is! I only know about it because in a former life I worked construction for a while

        If I still did work in construction, I too would buy such a hammer. For me, it all depends on the value derived from the object in question.

    2. Aloysa

      Sometimes being frugal means being miserable. Sometimes frugality, especially extreme one, borders with extreme misery. Balance is everything!

  2. Invest It Wisely

    I love the post! This is exactly in the spirit of my “challenging conventional beliefs” roundup! The truth is that how frugal or not someone is is really all about subjective values. For some people, a $12 set of headphones is good enough. For others, they are miserable unless they have a $250 set of headphones. Is it really the right of the first person to tell the second that they’re wasting their money? Well, they have the right to say it, but if they are not negatively harmed by it and the person is spending their own money, why is it their own business? If the person is making a mistake *under their own values*, then we can help correct them, but if they are only making a mistake in our eyes *and not in their own eyes*, do we really have the right to force our values on them? In most cases I would say no.

    Wars have been started by people forcing their subjective values on others. We would all be much happier if we respected each other’s choices and opinions, and that one’s own set of opinions is not an objective world truth.

    1. Aloysa

      Subjective values determine a lot in our lives, don’t they? I do have a friend who buys only brand name stuff. She probably would be the one who can be satisfied with $250 set of headphones. It never botheres me but it makes me wonder what in the world she is thinking. I never express my opinion to her because somehow I always know that she won’t understand me.

      “Wars have been started by people forcing their subjective values on others. We would all be much happier if we respected each other’s choices and opinions, and that one’s own set of opinions is not an objective world truth.” – Ditto!

  3. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    I like spending money too! And deciding what is important to me and finding a balance is what makes it work for me. Now… do I always keep things balanced?? Noooooo….. not always. I still spend too much at times. But… it is getting better!

    In the past, I was one of those people that will read every sale circular, check out what the top money saving blogs are recommending and then discover that I have to travel to 7 different stores AFTER I cut coupons from 10 Sunday newspapers… to save money on things that I will probably never use and end up giving away. I don’t do that anymore. There are definitely things more important for me to do.

    Aloysa…I too am glad we have had the pleasure of getting to know one another via our blogs!

    1. Aloysa

      Go to 7 different stores to get a deal? Hell, no! Who has time for this? I still love spending but I am more careful now. Learned it the hard way…

  4. gem

    So true. My roommate sometimes makes me want to be like “….seriously?” with her attempts at being frugal. Like not going out when friends invite her because her monthly Metrocard is up and she doesn’t need to buy a new one until work the next day. I honestly wonder what she does actually do with the money she makes…

    1. Aloysa

      Probably stashes her money away which is a good habit as long as it doesn’t deprive her from the things she might enjoy.

  5. Get Happy Life

    I think that this is rather overreacted and extreme version of frugality, and probably most of the people are not as frugal as you described it.

    However, if you (want to) reach financial independence and you don’t need to work anymore – then you will have plenty of free time, even if you decided to shop around for good prices every day.

    You have to understand that what works for one person does not necessarily work for others.

    Personally, I would rather not drink coffee in the coffee-bar every day than to run on a hamster wheel for 30 years.

    1. Aloysa

      Yes, it is an extreme frugality. I did write this post in order to show how far and how extreme some frugal people get. On the other hand, I will not deprive myself from Starbucks because I don’t think that having a latte once or twice a week will break my bank. We all deserve small pleasures, don’t we?

  6. Jim

    Hear Hear!
    Some common sense on frugality. Drink your purchased coffee and buy that nice pair of shoes.
    @GetHappyLife – the coffee helps the hamster go round the wheel, thats why he drinks it. I like being on the wheel, it keeps me fit, so I drink the coffee.

    1. Get Happy Life

      Well, sure (you are funny, Jim ), if you feel comfortable the way you are, go ahead, nobody is stopping you. As a matter of fact, society benefits from this kind of behavior.

  7. Lindy Mint

    Food just tastes better when other people prepare it. That’s the bottom line.

    As long as you have the money to do it, I say do it! And there are so many EASY ways to save money that don’t involve pulling your hair out (or not cutting it).

  8. Mike - Saving Money Today

    Great post! I’ve actually seen the toilet paper example suggested as a serious way to save money. I’m like, “Are you kidding??”

    1. Aloysa

      I do actually know someone who does it and I was shocked when I found out. I had to say, come on, you live in America, you have plenty of cheap toilet paper. It is not WWII time in Europe… How much can you save by rolling it, anyway?

  9. Jenn @ Paying Myself

    Came here by way of the Carnival of Personal Finance. Great post! Sometimes I see what folks are doing to save a buck and really wonder if it’s worth it. I am paying off debt AND spending and I think that’s okay. It’s all about balance. Thanks for reminding us!

    1. Aloysa

      I like it: paying off debt and spending! It is the best balance. At least you won’t be miserable.

  10. Kellen

    I have a friend who is really great at being frugal while traveling, like buying peanut butter and a loaf of bread instead of eating out the whole time… But she also chose to go to extremely expensive university in and extremely expensive city to get a degree that you cannot get a job with. She also will also spend $300 on a pair of shoes to wear to a wedding because she “needs” them to go with the dress she has picked out.

    I just wonder why she skips eating delicious Italian food while traveling in Italy, rather than skipping the expensive footwear. Like you said, we all have different priorities. But it still seems silly to me…

    1. Aloysa

      When we travel, we go all the way out. Otherwise how can you say you experienced Italy when you travelled there and ate peanut butter? I’d skip $300 and go to a local Italian restaurant in a hearbeat. Hell, we went to Seattle and put down a lot of money on food and experience. And it was great. No regrets!

  11. Sharon

    I do all the things you mentioned except the toilet paper thing and have never felt deprived. I also became financially independent 2 years ago at a very young age. Now my husband and I travel, go on hikes, spend time with friends and family and have lots of fun and complete freedom. We love our life and would not change a thing.

    1. Aloysa

      Hopefully one day I will be able to say that we are financially independent. But on the road to this independece I still want to be able to do a lot of things I enjoy. I guess it all comes down to perception.

      1. jms18

        It’s actually not about perception, but about your goals. If your goal is simply to spend your life paying of debt, spending while you go because you don’t want to miss out on lattes and Seattle food, well, then you are on track. However, if you want to eventually achieve financial independence, then you will put yourself on a budget that will get you there. Use health as a metaphor: If living the good life is fast food and watching television, don’t expect to also have long life and a full-functioning body. However, if you desire long life and health, you may have to skip the cheesecake and go running every now and again. On the other extreme are super self-disciplined athletes. Balance is critical, as you’ve noted, but so is knowing what you want financially.

  12. Crystal

    Hehehe, the toilet paper thing made me giggle. Extreme frugality is not my personal cup of tea, as anybody who knows me will tell you, lol. Great challenge post!

  13. Financial Samurai

    I do believe that too a point, being frugal costs you money ie. driving 10 miles to save 10cents a gallon.

    For some reason, I don’t really like spending money. Or maybe, I’ve already spending enough a year that’s higher than average, which makes me not want to spend any more.

    For example, if you started spending $160,000 gross a year, you’d probably find that enough right?

    1. Aloysa

      Oh, I am sure that spending 160K might make someone happy. The question however remains – spending on what? Bills and mortgage or experiences?

  14. Zfarls

    Agree, I will NEVER wash out my plastic bags and use them again. Although I am careful to only grab lunch out once a week or so. But If I went out on Wednesday and then its a co worker bday on thursday (and i didnt plan ahead) Im not gonna say no and stomp my feet.

    Also good points about paying for value depending on whats important to you.

    Starbucks is a treat not a right of passage or way of life, 1-2 times a week is good for me.

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