Frugal Living or a Slave to Saving?

by David Bakke

savingslave I straightened out my finances and have been on the path of frugal living for about a year now, which is great.  However, as I begin to really get into the topic of “frugal living” it did occur to me that there is the very real possibility of going overboard with this.  As a matter of fact, I know a few people that I would consider to be a “slave to saving”.

First of all, I guess I should give you my definition of both.  Frugal living I would define as obviously, living within your budget, eliminating all unnecessary spending from your life, and getting the best deals that you can on the items that you do buy.  Of course, this is a very relative and subjective definition, but it is what it is.  A “slave to saving” I would basically define as someone who lets their desire to save affect the quality of life that they live.  Again, a subjective definition, but I think it will work for the purposes of this discussion.

I do not think I have ventured into the area of being a “slave to saving” but I have gotten close.  I think these are dangerous grounds.  What I try to remind myself of is that I live my life frugally so I can increase the quality of it.  When I find myself negatively affecting the quality of life that I live by my frugal living measures then it is time to stop and take a good look at what’s going on.

Let’s jump into some specifics:

–Spending  two hours a week clipping coupons just to save $5 on your weekly grocery bill to me is too much… it simply not worth it.  You could find better uses for these two hours.

–People whose conversations are simply inundated with “I got this for such and such a price” and “Oh yeah, well I only paid this much for this the other day” to me are affecting the quality of their lives.  It’s a minor point, but c’mon, can’t we find something better to talk about?

–Those who buy items not because of any current specific need, but only for the amazing savings they can get on them are really off the chain!  If I wanted to, I could get the best deal on just about everything and my house would be full of stuff that I might or might not need or use in the next ten years.  If you don’t need it, then buying it is a waste of money, no matter how little you spent on it.

–Being focused 100% of the time on price price pirce is not the way to go either.  For example, vacations.  If I can’t let go and eat at a restaurant I know is too expensive when I know I could go down the street and save a buck or two, then what’s the point on going on vacation?

I guess it comes down to knowing “when to say when”.  Keep in mind your goals.  Is your goal is to be able to brag to your friends how much you save on things?  Is it to save every single solitary penny that you can, no matter how much time it takes out of your life?

Or is it more realistically, to be able to live your life at the highest quality level that you can on the current income that you have?

To me, I’ll take the last one any day of the week.

 So, are your living frugally or are you a slave to saving?  Let my readers know below…

{ 3 comments }

1 DarkRydz March 30, 2010 at 9:40 am

I kind of like bragging about some of my deals – like this awesome party dress I bought for $5 at a thrift store. But I know where you are coming from – life is (or should be) about a variety of experiences, not about who has the biggest bank account or the most stuff. In the end, I’ve found investments in fostering friendships and in myself (through education and community involvement) have garnered the most value in my life.

Right now – I’m a bit of a slave because I’m unemployed, but this is (hopefully) a temporary condition. My year or two of living frugally before my lay-off helped to prepare me for all this so I’m a lot less freaked out than I would have been otherwise.
.-= DarkRydz´s last blog .. =-.

2 David/yourfinances101 March 31, 2010 at 12:15 am

Hey there,

You’re right, a little bragging is OK, but when holiday conversation is dominated by this stuff, when I haven’t seen some family members all year, it can get a little annoying.

Life is much more about the things you mentioned.

Hope you find employment soon!!! I really do

3 Qt March 31, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Paradoxically i think money have to be saved… to be spent.
You know, you save to have money for emergency, especially if your savings are just a few bucks here and there, but still they are spent for those emergency. You save money for your children college, still you save them for spending them. Even if you are quite poor and don’t save anything at the end of the month you have saved during the month just to be able to arrive to the month end still buying what you needed.
All in all i think money is/should be saved to buy quality of life, ranging from basic food and sheltering needs to that little dreamed for years luxury so yes, if the basics are covered, even a posh restaurant once in a while is justifiable. 🙂

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