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Old 09-19-2018, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
2,961 posts, read 1,012,279 times
Reputation: 3781

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It's just an outside opinion piece, but this column appeared in today's NY Times -
That she calls it cult is precisely on target, I think. As much as frugalism or minimalism or couponing or other "money saving" practices are largely useless, self-deceptive and faddish, the idea that a family can just jump into "being frugal" and stay there is pretty much nonsense - on a par with most fad diets or even truly eating sensibly as a family.

Whatever benefits spending less might bring, it's not a solution unless it's coupled with real reduction in buying unneeded and unnecessary goods. Getting junk on sale is not a positive step.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,964 posts, read 5,183,151 times
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I think that what's interesting, is that she equates Dave Ramsey with minimalism. He seems to be anything but, nor does he preach minimalism. He's actually pretty consumerist in a lot of ways.

Its somewhat telling when you equate "not running up CC debt for (jet skis, eating out, vacations, whatever)" with minimalism.

Anyhow, like with a fad diet, or "spending diet" where you cut the budget way back, I think that the long term progress that you make is that you achieve a greater clarity on what's important to you and what isn't. To take an example that would fall in both categories, you might find you really don't miss eating McDonald's for lunch, but that you do enjoy a coffee from the Coffee Shop. You learn strategies, recipes, behavior patterns that work for you and help you moving forward.

I think that most frugal minded folk are far from minimalist...closer to hoarder If I had to label it...
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:02 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,831 posts, read 57,830,396 times
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What's telling... is that the editorial board of the Gray Lady
allows this sort of regurgitated pablum to be presented on their pages.
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:09 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,530 posts, read 8,734,436 times
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Granted, I have not yet read the article (I will later), but I think embracing frugality is not solely about the small decisions, like the body wash one places in the trolley but rather the big decisions, like housing. Choosing a less expensive house or apartment makes a huge difference in one's long-term financial health.

Last edited by randomparent; 09-19-2018 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,836 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27639
The idea of her equating frugality to a fad does not speak kindly to her understanding of the real world where many of us live.
Frugality has been part of life as normal for generations of humans. Those who weren't frugal often starved. That her upbringing and life has shielded her from that fact for so long makes her epiphany seem childish in ways.
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,376 posts, read 2,424,586 times
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Frugal living starts with distinguishing between "needs" and "wants". Some folks have a great deal of trouble doing this.

In dire times it becomes necessary to sort between available funds and expense priorities. I personally went through this when I was downsized at age 59 during a recession. That was a crash course in frugal living.
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:48 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,530 posts, read 8,734,436 times
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I have now read the article and found these words most poignant

Quote:
I am recognizing and appreciate my privilege in being wealthy enough to live well and still save, rather than feel dissatisfied by what a tiny percentage of the global population has that I do not. The experience has not been so much one of going without pleasure as about savoring each moment of pleasure rather than racing on to the next one.

This approach is important, not just for personal satisfaction but also for politics. When professionals on relatively high wages in wealthy countries complain that they cannot get ahead and life is too expensive, they are not speaking in solidarity with the poor — they are actually insulting the poor.
These two paragraphs are resonating with me after reading a thread purporting that $50k is poverty and that it is impossible for a couple to consume less than $100/week in groceries from someone who then went onto brag about passive income and critique a $100k kitchen renovation. Sigh. I think sometimes those higher up on the socioeconomic ladder are completely oblivious.

Last edited by randomparent; 09-19-2018 at 06:00 PM..
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,388 posts, read 42,701,155 times
Reputation: 11465
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The idea of her equating frugality to a fad does not speak kindly to her understanding of the real world where many of us live.
Frugality has been part of life as normal for generations of humans. Those who weren't frugal often starved. That her upbringing and life has shielded her from that fact for so long makes her epiphany seem childish in ways.

Well, she lives in NYC, which pretty much means she wouldn't know the first thing about frugality, right there. Might as well be Mars, in comparison to how we live out here in the "real world" parts of the country.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,964 posts, read 5,183,151 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Well, she lives in NYC, which pretty much means she wouldn't know the first thing about frugality, right there. Might as well be Mars, in comparison to how we live out here in the "real world" parts of the country.
I don't think that's a fair assessment. Not at all. Its no different than chosing to live out in the sticks with relatively little employment opportunities but paying little for housing/land. Its about the lifestyle one chooses. I lived in an urban center before and enjoyed it, and my expenses weren't crazy. It's all about how you manage them.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,719 posts, read 47,472,880 times
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I did not realize that there was a worldview out there form which 'frugalism' could be seen as a 'fad'.

My grandparents were very frugal, my parents were very frugal. In my life I have known many people who spend freely and in my opinion without regard for a budget.

When I think of how much my salary was when we had five children living at home, I can see other posters in this forum who could not support themselves on the same level of income. Surely you would think that one person living by him/herself should be able to exist on the income that it takes to support five? But no. The difference is how frugal a person is.

I only see it as a lifestyle, not a fad.
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