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Frugal isn't a bad word - it is a blessing. IMHO
Old 04-12-2017, 04:44 AM   #1
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Frugal isn't a bad word - it is a blessing. IMHO

I too grew up poor as a church mouse in not the best circumstances. My mom and the we four kids lived day to day, always waiting for that next shoe to drop. Will we have money for the oil bill? Franks and beans again? You never said it because you felt lucky to have a full belly. Mostly there was stress - My Mother (and I) worried about everything and it took its toll.

There is a saying that smart that people make things happen in their lives foolish people have things happen to them. I was determined to live differently all that and frugality and education were vehicles to get me there. A wonderful thing happened I met someone who felt similarly. I was the plumber, gardener, carpenter, investor and she was the painter, coupon clipper extraordinaire. We Saved First and always bought within our means. That meant a house we could afford, sensible cars and modest vacations. A funny thing happened as the 'pile' grew - new tires for the jalopy, the dentist and all those things life throws at you were no big deal. Living debt free changes everything.. ask yourself where would you rather be - debt free or have a huge mortgage and credit card debt up to your eyeballs come the next credit crisis.

Stress about the small things becomes non existent. They became more annoyances then anything else. Dave Ramsey has a phrase live like no one else so you can live like no one else. Living thoughtfully frugally and ultimately debt free can change not only your lives but your children lives as well. My daughter will graduate a top 100 university in a few short weeks with zero debt. I work with a crew of younger colleagues most of whom have student debt. Two that I know of started with $120,000 of student loans. One particularly gifted gal said Ray its killing me.

Yes the Mrs baked the whole wheat bread and I ate those brown bagged ham sandwiches and we were and are frugal. Me I'd rather struggle with choosing to retire when I want then having to work until these old knees give it up.

Frugal a bad word omg no... In America if you carry a credit card balance it is likely to be $15,000. I estimate the interest on that debt to be $2,500 a year alone. The number of poor soles living paycheck to paycheck is astounding.

Seems to me we that frugality is a beautiful word and concept kinda like discipline... I believe every high school senior should require a personal finance course. First lesson: debt free.
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Old 04-12-2017, 05:17 AM   #2
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I don't get the thread title. Frugality is a trait both admired and respected on ER forum, not a bad word.
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Old 04-12-2017, 05:40 AM   #3
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I too love the debt free living lifestyle!!
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Old 04-12-2017, 05:47 AM   #4
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I don't get the thread title. Frugality is a trait both admired and respected on ER forum, not a bad word.

Our colleague Dex posted observing several articles challenging the merits of thrift. Because of what I do for a living- I regularly see how debt can easily ruin a life, a marriage a family. I am obviously a big proponent of LBYM.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:03 AM   #5
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Seems to me that frugality is a beautiful word and concept kinda like discipline... I believe every high school senior should require a personal finance course. First lesson: debt free.
Thanks for sharing, I think the lessons of your experience are sometimes lost in this forum, amid the discussions about where and how to invest one's wealth, however it was accumulated.

The idea that someone can start out with all the disadvantages of poverty, and through a simple understanding of how the system works, along with honesty, hard work and determination, create a good life, is a classic definition of what used to be called the "American Dream."

I was not debt free for a long time, but it was always a goal. There were many setbacks. There may yet be more. But for the moment, I'm FIREd. Hanging on to the FI part by a thread perhaps, but I'm enjoying it.

Count me among the frugal. I don't enjoy conspicuous consumption. To me, luxury is being happy and comfortable. I'd be uncomfortable in a luxurious house, yacht or clothing.

If those things make you happy, and you can afford them, great! But I suspect they bring unhappiness as often as happiness. Enjoying what you have - however humble - is what truly makes one happy.

To your last point, I don't know if you can teach this philosophy, especially to high school seniors. If I ever found a curriculum which could do it, I'd sign up to teach it. But maybe you're right. Maybe if they were at least exposed to it, they'd eventually accept it as an option.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:05 AM   #6
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Our colleague Dex posted observing several articles challenging the merits of thrift. Because of what I do for a living- I regularly see how debt can easily ruin a life, a marriage a family. I am obviously a big proponent of LBYM.
I think we're all proponents of LBYM here - it could even be a forum nickname. I'd also venture to say that most here agree with little to no debt. You really have to look long and hard to find the few non-frugal views.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:01 AM   #7
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Frugal is great until it starts to inconvenience others...then it becomes a problem.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:04 AM   #8
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Here we go again..............................
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:06 AM   #9
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Seems to me we that frugality is a beautiful word and concept kinda like discipline... I believe every high school senior should require a personal finance course.
I'm guessing your post was inspired by Frugal and Cheap living are not good ideas

I think folks put different spins on the word "frugal" depending on their background and outlook on life.

I think "frugal" is a positive term, and a smart way to behave. When I think frugal, I think of not wasting money.

Others clearly equate "frugal" with "cheap".

So it goes...
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
I too grew up poor as a church mouse in not the best circumstances. My mom and the we four kids lived day to day, always waiting for that next shoe to drop. Will we have money for the oil bill? Franks and beans again? You never said it because you felt lucky to have a full belly. Mostly there was stress - My Mother (and I) worried about everything and it took its toll.

There is a saying that smart that people make things happen in their lives foolish people have things happen to them. I was determined to live differently all that and frugality and education were vehicles to get me there. A wonderful thing happened I met someone who felt similarly. I was the plumber, gardener, carpenter, investor and she was the painter, coupon clipper extraordinaire. We Saved First and always bought within our means. That meant a house we could afford, sensible cars and modest vacations. A funny thing happened as the 'pile' grew - new tires for the jalopy, the dentist and all those things life throws at you were no big deal. Living debt free changes everything.. ask yourself where would you rather be - debt free or have a huge mortgage and credit card debt up to your eyeballs come the next credit crisis.

Stress about the small things becomes non existent. They became more annoyances then anything else. Dave Ramsey has a phrase live like no one else so you can live like no one else. Living thoughtfully frugally and ultimately debt free can change not only your lives but your children lives as well. My daughter will graduate a top 100 university in a few short weeks with zero debt. I work with a crew of younger colleagues most of whom have student debt. Two that I know of started with $120,000 of student loans. One particularly gifted gal said Ray its killing me.

Yes the Mrs baked the whole wheat bread and I ate those brown bagged ham sandwiches and we were and are frugal. Me I'd rather struggle with choosing to retire when I want then having to work until these old knees give it up.

Frugal a bad word omg no... In America if you carry a credit card balance it is likely to be $15,000. I estimate the interest on that debt to be $2,500 a year alone. The number of poor soles living paycheck to paycheck is astounding.

Seems to me we that frugality is a beautiful word and concept kinda like discipline... I believe every high school senior should require a personal finance course. First lesson: debt free.
Most on this forum will readily agree with you - maybe that's why we hang out here. Those who disagree with the concept are probably planning on working past 70.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:35 AM   #11
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. . I'd be uncomfortable in a luxurious house, yacht or clothing.
Good point - Some of my least favorite hotels when traveling on business for my mega used to be the ones where every time you leave the room for 5 minutes, someone goes in and fluffs your pillows or puts a piece of chocolate on your desk. I know it is considered great customer service by many, but to me, this always seemed so over the top to the point of creepy...
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:36 AM   #12
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I think we're all proponents of LBYM here - it could even be a forum nickname. I'd also venture to say that most here agree with little to no debt. You really have to look long and hard to find the few non-frugal views.
+1

That's the whole point of the Dryer Sheets. As Nords posted, way back when,
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It's a frugality reference. Of course it's also been touted in other threads as a flag, a symbol of the forum, and an inside joke... subsequently added by the admins to poster ratings.

The frugality threads here are many, and they are probably my favorite threads on the forum.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:48 AM   #13
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I think "frugal" is the wrong word to describe spending for "many" of the posters here. Synonyms of "frugal" include "meager, scrimping, miserly, penny-pinching, scant" etc.

While there are certainly people here who fit into that category, the polls on how much people spend have produced more responses significantly above the average household income than below it, and if you're spending that much I don't know that anyone could reasonably conclude you're "miserly" or "scrimping" or "frugal" quite frankly.

"Financially responsible" is the term I would apply to just about everyone here though. LBYM = financially responsible, (even if you're still spending 1/2 the median annual household income in a single month). Not using debt irresponsibly = financially responsible.

"Frugal" would say "I can swim in the water for free" on my trip to Aruba while "financially responsible" says "I can afford to dive the Antilla while I'm there". Heck, "frugal" would probably say just go to the free lake 5 miles from the house instead of traveling to Aruba on vacation in the first place.

I think when most people say "frugal" here, they do so because there isn't a common word for "uses money responsibly". Of course, as that trait is so uncommon in society these days, maybe there just isn't a word for it...
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:53 AM   #14
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I think "frugal" is the wrong word to describe spending for "many" of the posters here. Synonyms of "frugal" include "meager, scrimping, miserly, penny-pinching, scant" etc.
While those are given as synonyms, along with "thrifty", "careful", and "prudent", of course the meaning of "frugal" is slightly different from any of its synonyms (or else there would be no need for the word).
www.dictionary.com gives this definition for "frugal":
Quote:
economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful:
What your office needs is a frugal manager who can save you money without resorting to painful cutbacks.
I think that frugality is a theme of our forum, and many/most of our members are quite frugal. OK, and then there's Robbie and his caviar. But really, that is the exception here, rather than the rule.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:14 AM   #15
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While those are given as synonyms, along with "thrifty", "careful", and "prudent", of course the meaning of "frugal" is slightly different from any of its synonyms (or else there would be no need for the word).
www.dictionary.com gives this definition for "frugal":
I think that frugality is a theme of our forum, and many/most of our members are quite frugal. OK, and then there's Robbie and his caviar. But really, that is the exception here, rather than the rule.
+1. When I see thrifty, I think frugal and prudent, not stingy.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:23 AM   #16
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When I see "frugal", I think of the ways it's commonly used in my general experience. Examples of its use from Websters dictionary include:

Quote:
Examples of frugal in a sentence
His meals are the frugal fare of the poor: tea, bread, yogurt, a bit of cheese, vegetables. óJohanna McGeary, Time, 25 Oct. 2004
Like frugal cooks everywhere, Cajun cooks from generations past found plenty of ways to use every part of the animals they raised. óJeremy Sauer, Cook's Country, June 1995
In a frugal white frame house of tiny rooms that shook with every passing freight train, five boys of German immigrant background had grown up at the turn of the twentieth century. óRobert D. Kaplan, An Empire Wilderness, 1988
a frugal meal of bread and cheese
by being frugal, the family is able to stretch its monthly budget
While I have no doubt I could sustain myself on "tea, bread, yogurt, a bit of cheese, vegetables", it's a frugal existence I'll pass on.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:25 AM   #17
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Good point - Some of my least favorite hotels when traveling on business for my mega used to be the ones where every time you leave the room for 5 minutes, someone goes in and fluffs your pillows or puts a piece of chocolate on your desk. I know it is considered great customer service by many, but to me, this always seemed so over the top to the point of creepy...
Yes, that always creeped me out. Once I discovered Residence Inns (and similar) I stuck to them: room cleaning once a week, kitchen at my disposal, generally a grill I could use and often a nice patio or similar where I could sit outside when the weather was nice.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:26 AM   #18
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When I see "frugal", I think of the ways it's commonly used in my general experience. Examples of its use from Websters dictionary include:

While I have no doubt I could sustain myself on "tea, bread, yogurt, a bit of cheese, vegetables", it's a frugal existence I'll pass on.
Sounds delicious to me! If only the bread and the bit of cheese (perhaps a cheese sandwich?) didn't have so many calories.... Iced tea, yogurt, a nice salad, and a cheese sandwich? That doesn't even sound all that thrifty; it sounds like a very nice meal.

And I absolutely LOVE Cajun cooking. As a Cajun friend of mine once told me, "You don't want to know what goes into my boudin". But it was heaven on earth.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:29 AM   #19
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Sounds delicious to me! If only the bread and the bit of cheese (perhaps a cheese sandwich?) didn't have so many calories....
I'm more of a "steak and potatoes" kinda guy
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:32 AM   #20
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Few (except maybe my mother in law) would argue against LBYM. However, some people take it to such an extreme that it can be sort of annoying. For example, if you agree to go out to dinner with others pay your share or pick up the next bill. Or what about picking up the first bill not even knowing if there will be a second!? Cheap people seem to let others pick up the bill and we generous people notice that even if we pretend not to. To me that's where frugal becomes cheap and I don't like it.
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