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Old 09-12-2009, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
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I was just reading around this forum a bit and I started to think just what is meant by "frugal" by a lot of the people talking about it. It seems to have a lot to do with being cheap and trying to save money at any cost.

Now if you're broke I understand, but otherwise what's the point exactly?
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:23 AM
 
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what's wrong with NOT being wasteful and NOT buying the newest best things even if you do have money?

I use the money that I save on basic items to actually go out and do things.

I don't mind being cheap, and I don't see what some people think is so wrong with it.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: SoCal desert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
I was just reading around this forum a bit and I started to think just what is meant by "frugal" by a lot of the people talking about it. It seems to have a lot to do with being cheap and trying to save money at any cost.

Now if you're broke I understand, but otherwise what's the point exactly?
I get the impression that you think cheap is a bad word?

The point is - no need for all the greatest and latest, safety and security of knowing I have money saved, living healthy on good non-processed food, not having debt, making conscious choices instead of just spending money without thinking about it.

I recycle cans and plastic and glass, but I'm not a Green. I do it to get my money back!

I find it funny that frugality has been discovered as a "new" concept. It's how I was brought up.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
I was just reading around this forum a bit and I started to think just what is meant by "frugal" by a lot of the people talking about it. It seems to have a lot to do with being cheap and trying to save money at any cost.

Now if you're broke I understand, but otherwise what's the point exactly?
Frugal is NOT at all about being "cheap". If you think that they you hopelessly miss the whole point of what it is to be "frugal".

To be "frugal" is to to use ones money in the best possible ways not wasting any along the way. It it the exact opposite of "throw money at it" to live your life.

It is not wanting everything you see at any cost.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:29 PM
 
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Here is a good reason:


The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard
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Old 09-12-2009, 02:36 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,085 posts, read 7,457,378 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
I was just reading around this forum a bit and I started to think just what is meant by "frugal" by a lot of the people talking about it. It seems to have a lot to do with being cheap and trying to save money at any cost.

Now if you're broke I understand, but otherwise what's the point exactly?
Being "cheap" is "trying to save money at any cost." It is not the same as frugal. I can see why you might think being frugal is (or involves) being cheap, and I think there are indeed many people who consider themselves to be frugal but are really just being cheap.

Frugality has the goal of reducing waste and costs (not just financial costs!) in order to better our overall life experiences, to the point where we are getting as much out of life for less costs and waste. When people start to pursue frugality they find that their lives are enhanced and they save money and time while reducing the waste (of time, money, and resources) that was in their lives.

Part of frugality is not only improving one's own individual situation but also the situation of others so that we can collectively improve our lives. Therefore, "going green" is often a part of frugality. Recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming resources and/or getting the most we can out of our resources is an integral part of frugality.

Let me give you an example of frugality:

In the past, before I was more frugal, it was not uncommon for me to spend a "cheap" night out by going to grab a cheap dinner, like fast food, then do a little window shopping, then grab an ice cream at Ben & Jerry's or Dairy Queen, and then go to Barnes & Noble and sit and read through a few books. I'd spend about $5 (usually a little more) at Burger King or whatever, then another $3-$4 for ice cream or a dessert somewhere else. So, MINIMUM $8 for that night out.

Now I do it differently. Last night, I made burgers at home, which were delicious. I estimate it cost me about $2 for the burgers, buns, condiments, and soda. They were better than what I get at Wendy's or McD's or any other cheap fast food, and I wasted no paper since there was no packaging involved. I had also bought a half-gallon of Turkey Hill Cookie Dough ice cream, reduced fat and calories, for $1.77. It is one of the best cookie dough ice creams I've ever had. I put some into a disposable plastic cup, covered it with a small piece of plastic wrap, threw that in a larger plastic cup and put a few ice cubes around it, and took it with me.

I went to the mall, window-shopped for about an hour. Then I went back to my car, drove to Barnes & Noble, and had my ice cream just before going in (as I would have even if I bought it at B&J's or DQ or even a cheaper ice cream bar from an ice cream truck or conv. store). It satisfied me as much as any other ice cream, and more than some of the cheaper ones ($2.00 and up for cheaper ones) yet it was just one of at least 8 servings which cost less than $2 for the whole thing. And instead of a bottle of water, I used the water fountain in Barnes & Noble.

So compare the two:
First scenario COSTS:
MONEY - $8 (that's bare minimum - more like $10 to $12 if I have another burger and/or buy a bottle of water); extra gas for driving a little out of the way to fast food and ice cream places
RESOURCES - Paper for packaging of fast food, soda, and ice cream is waste which I created to fill up our landfills that much more
TIME - time to drive a little out of the way to fast food and ice cream places, time to wait on line

Second scenario (FRUGAL) COSTS:
MONEY - $2 for 2 burgers and a soda, and about a quarter for the ice cream.
RESOURCES - Soda can, which goes into recycling; plastic cup and spoon, which I did not throw out but will wash and use again a few more times before throwing away
TIME - time to make the burgers, time to scoop out and package the ice cream for eating later.

The experience was essentially the same, but the frugal way of doing it saved me well over 75% of my money and saved resources (which I'd have been paying for just to throw out anyway) from going into the landfill, and the time is roughly the same, although I think I save time by cooking for myself.

Being Frugal is saying, "Why waste time, money, and resources when I can reduce it all by 50%-75% or more and then have more time, money, and resources to use for other things, all the while helping the community in general by being more 'green'???"

Now, if I were being CHEAP, I'd have bought the cheapest, fattiest meat for my burger, and I would have eaten the ice cream at home right out of the container rather than dirty a dish or plastic cup, and I'd have changed my experience completely to save a few pennies. That's foolish, because it takes nothing to just be cheap and not spend; anyone can do that, and it does COST you in terms of your enjoyment of your experience. It's actually foolish to just be cheap.

By the way, I bought a book at Barnes & Noble, in their Used book annex; a paperback of Steinbeck's "East of Eden", for $2. When I'm done with it I will sell it back to them or maybe even donate it to a library, if I don't keep it. STILL my experience was less costly than it would have been had I not been frugal about it.

I hope you see the difference better now between frugal and cheap, it's a HUGE difference.
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Old 09-12-2009, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,476 posts, read 16,991,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supernerdgirl View Post
what's wrong with NOT being wasteful and NOT buying the newest best things even if you do have money?
Huh? This is part of my problem with this "frugal" stuff, equating purchasing things you want with being "wasteful". I never suggested that people should be wasteful, nor should they purchase the "newest best things" if you they don't want and/or need them. But if you have the money and want the "newest and best" things why not purchase them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalara View Post
I get the impression that you think cheap is a bad word?

The point is - no need for all the greatest and latest, safety and security of knowing I have money saved, living healthy on good non-processed food, not having debt, making conscious choices instead of just spending money without thinking about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
To be "frugal" is to to use ones money in the best possible ways not wasting any along the way. It it the exact opposite of "throw money at it" to live your life.
But this is pretty vague, what after all does it mean to spend your money in the "best possible way" and not "waste it"? From the two previous post I get the impression that many think buying the "greatest and latest" is wasting money. But I don't think that is true at all, a new device may save you a lot of time in the long run. The important question is how valuable your time is to you and/or how much could you make in that time if it was not being wasted on an old device, etc.

I don't see the point of doing X, the gain from doing X is less than what you'd normally accept from your job etc.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,476 posts, read 16,991,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
Frugality has the goal of reducing waste and costs (not just financial costs!) in order to better our overall life experiences, to the point where we are getting as much out of life for less costs and waste.
So you say not just financial costs, but what else do you have in mind? Also, what is meant by "reducing waste", what sort of waste? Physical waste, wasted time, etc? Most of what people talk about on this forum seems to waste considerable time, while saving a little money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
Recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming resources and/or getting the most we can out of our resources is an integral part of frugality.
All of this can waste considerable time.

I'm not talking about being "green", that is a different issue. These people knowingly "waste" their time for the sake of the environment for moral reasons, but from the personal perspective their actions cost them a lot of time with little benefit in return.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
Now I do it differently. Last night, I made burgers at home, which were delicious. I estimate it cost me about $2 for the burgers, buns, condiments, and soda. They were better than what I get at Wendy's or McD's or any other cheap fast food, and I wasted no paper since there was no packaging involved. I had also bought a half-gallon of Turkey Hill Cookie Dough ice cream, reduced fat and calories, for $1.77. It is one of the best cookie dough ice creams I've ever had. I put some into a disposable plastic cup, covered it with a small piece of plastic wrap, threw that in a larger plastic cup and put a few ice cubes around it, and took it with me.
Yeah, exactly. All you've done is switch from spending a bit of money to spending your time, you really have not saved anything just made a transfer from one form of "spending" to another. For someone with a decent wage, this is likely to produce waste. They will be working for a lot less per hour "being frugal" than they would while working.

This is exactly the sort of thing that does not make sense to me. Why would I want to spend my time gaining some measly sum by making my own hamburger, packing up my own ice cream, cleaning everything I used, etc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
and the time is roughly the same, although I think I save time by cooking for myself.
It takes 20~30 minutes to make a hamburger, clean the stuff, etc. Going to a fast food place takes a few minutes. I would find it odd that there were not a number of food places by the shops you were going to, so there is little additional driving time.

You are also ignoring the time it takes to purchase the items you are making.

Eating out makes the most sense when you are already out. If you have to drive out to get the food you are unlikely to be saving time, but in your case you're already out. Just simply go to a food place by the stores you are shopping at, or on the way to the stores you are shopping at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
I hope you see the difference better now between frugal and cheap, it's a HUGE difference.
No, not really. Your example to me is an example of being "cheap" and saving money for the sake of saving money.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:51 PM
RHB
 
1,096 posts, read 1,833,400 times
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I see it as making choices, informed, and thought through. It's about having the funds available to do the things YOU want to do, whatever that is. It's about identifing the things that are important to YOU.
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Arizona High Desert
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Frugal is the opposite of "affluenza." Frugal doesn't mean "suffer." I am frugal because I know that one day up ahead, I am going to want something decadent (a night in Vegas) and I will not have to pass it up. Frugal people can be generous. Stingy people can't. You have to wring it out of them.
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