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Is frugality without sacrifice doable?
Old 08-01-2014, 10:04 AM   #1
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Is frugality without sacrifice doable?

Frugality without sacrifice is the basic guiding principle of my personal finances. It is what has made it possible for me to have a very comfortable basic lifestyle on less than $20,000 a year. But how one actually practices frugality without sacrifice -- as opposed to frugality as sacrifice -- is not all that obvious, IMHO.

In my view, practicing frugality without sacrifice is based on one key concept and one key question. The key concept is: to do instead, not do without. And the key question is: is it worth it to me... not can I afford it.

How do you view frugality? Do you agree that it can be practiced without sacrifice?
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:18 AM   #2
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It was a huge sacrifice for me.

But I'd guess if one is being frugal for fun (makes one happy and brings joy to his life), then it's not a sacrifice. It's just a way of life. FI that comes with it is a bonus. (edited to add) In this sense, it is doable.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:20 AM   #3
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Depends what you consider frugal. There are people on this forum who say they're frugal when they spend more money than i've ever made gross in a year so "frugal" is open to interpretation. I've been frugal my entire adult life spending between $10K-18K/yr but I have had sacrifices. I don't travel as much as I would like to. I would like to have cable W/DVR and large screen TV instead of no cable, no tv, and only using the free version of hulu to watch shows. I would like to eat out more. I'm willing to do without so I can work far less but I would be happier if I had far more money without more work.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:21 AM   #4
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Being frugal does require some sacrifice. I do believe in your key question "is it worth it to me?" For example, I really want to go to a 49er game in their new stadium, but I'm not going to pay $350+ per ticket to go. Thus, being frugal requires some sacrifice.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:24 AM   #5
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My frugality is driving Honda Civic instead of Audi A6.
Living in small "cheap" house within very expensive town.
Not eating out more then once a week.

Living exactly same lifestyle four last 20 years even though our income had grown leaps and bounds.

Hence...no sacrifice
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:43 AM   #6
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Part of living frugally but well is knowing oneself well so one can spend dollars on what really improves the quality of life rather than something that satisfies an immediate but transient need.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #7
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Frugality without sacrifice requires that one never develops the desire for expensive stuff or habits, or that one learns how to limit such thoughts.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:53 AM   #8
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If one wants for nothing, then frugality without sacrifice is doable.
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:12 AM   #9
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We have been pleasantly surprised at how much we have been able to cut our budget with more free time, and live the same basic lifestyle - the same house and actually nicer cars.

My hobby is finding fun stuff to do without spending a lot of money. This week so far we went to a history museum and saw a play that together would have cost $120 but the tickets were free with a NARM membership and a museum pass. Coming up we have tickets for a mine tour, the Academy of Science at GG Park, the zoo and a planetarium visit all for free. We eat out with half off coupons during lunch prices. Last year we got a 2% cash back credit card and that free money is probably enough to fund the local entertainment we do have to pay for when I buy discounted Goldstar and Groupon tickets.

We could afford to pay more but the saving money part is part of what triggers the reward center in the Reptilian portion of my brain. ( I learned that from having more free time these days to watch Nova specials on Netflix, $7.99 a month compared to $120 we used to pay for our cable package.)
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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This is kind of a trick question...right?

As indicated by a few of the posts already it can go either way. If you are never used to something you never miss it and therefore there is no sacrifice. But if you are intentionally doing without that is, at least by my definition, sacrifice. It may not be painful or significant but it still is. I for example sacrifice a little comfort for lower energy costs keeping the house warming in the summer by only using our AC to cap the upper limit of the temperature the house will reach (its older and not particular well insulated and if there is no AC on hot weeks like this week the inside temp will approach 90F) and the opposite in the winter (not letting the temp too cold). So I do sacrifice some comfort for this but I'm used to it so it's an acceptable sacrifice.

Now if I was made of money I'd crank that AC (and fly 1st class etc etc)
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:35 PM   #11
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Frugality without sacrifice requires that one never develops the desire for expensive stuff or habits, or that one learns how to limit such thoughts.
+1

Fairly easy to live a comfortable, enjoyable life while being somewhat frugal.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:35 PM   #12
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Frugality without sacrifice requires that one never develops the desire for expensive stuff or habits, or that one learns how to limit such thoughts.
Like the tried and true Catholic idea- avoid the thoughts, and you will avoid the deeds.

I guess, but more of both is usually more fun.

Ha
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:36 PM   #13
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Frugality without sacrifice is possible when you can find ways to do / get what you want for less or for free. I've found that most things I have needed I could find for less by searching / thinking outside the box. Yard Sales / Craigslist / Freecycle all come into play. Learning to do your own maintenance (though some would say that's a sacrafice), grow/make your own food, and on and on, I've probably done it all and didn't feel like I was sacrificing. I do sacrifice comfort at times - though more as a test to see what I can feel comfortable with versus feeling I need to do it.

That all said, it can be work at times.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
We have been pleasantly surprised at how much we have been able to cut our budget with more free time, and live the same basic lifestyle - the same house and actually nicer cars.

My hobby is finding fun stuff to do without spending a lot of money. This week so far we went to a history museum and saw a play that together would have cost $120 but the tickets were free with a NARM membership and a museum pass. Coming up we have tickets for a mine tour, the Academy of Science at GG Park, the zoo and a planetarium visit all for free. We eat out with half off coupons during lunch prices. Last year we got a 2% cash back credit card and that free money is probably enough to fund the local entertainment we do have to pay for when I buy discounted Goldstar and Groupon tickets.

We could afford to pay more but the saving money part is part of what triggers the reward center in the Reptilian portion of my brain. ( I learned that from having more free time these days to watch Nova specials on Netflix, $7.99 a month compared to $120 we used to pay for our cable package.)
This is my kinda gal. Bravo. Only thing I would add is to play a variety of credit card bonus games to get tons of free travel (hotels/flights/cars).

If you're willing to look for deals the world is your oyster, once you get a sense of the money you're going to need for basic living (which also includes getting stuff on sale/clearance/craigslist, couponing etc.). The internet makes this so much easier, and us ER's will have the time to do it.

This is frugality without sacrifice, to me.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:04 PM   #15
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As with most things, the answer for me is 'balance' and 'flexibility.' We spend a lot on travel because we enjoy it immensely. Around $15K per year. If necessary, we could reduce it to zero. We spend a lot on our house because we enjoy living here. Around $25K per year (prop tax, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and improvements). If necessary, we could downsize and cut that in half or more. We spend a lot eating out at nice restaurants with good friends because life is too short to eat beans by yourself at home. If necessary, we could go to zero on that as well.

On the other hand, we buy 2-3 year-old, low-mileage used cars and drive them until they die. We cut the cable and stream all TV content. We use an MVNO (Ting) for cellular service and we buy 2 year-old smartphones on swappa. We have free VoIP using Google Voice with an Obi100 device. We use a local, low-cost security system monitoring service. We have 3 different cash-back credit cards and buy store brands at the grocery store. We make our own "Febreze" using a recipe from the internet. We fix most things around the house ourselves. We carefully program thermostats, sprinklers, pool equipment, water heaters, etc to minimize energy consumption.

So again, we spend freely on discretionary items that bring us enjoyment and enrich our lives, knowing that we can cut them out when and if needed. But the basic day-to-day, fixed living expenses, and other items (like cars) that we don't place as much value on, are carefully managed to optimize cost/benefit without sacrificing anything.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:13 PM   #16
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This is my kinda gal. Bravo. Only thing I would add is to play a variety of credit card games to get tons of free travel (hotels/flights/cars).

If you're willing to look for deals the world is your oyster, once you get a sense of the money you're going to need for basic living (which also includes getting stuff on sale/clearance/craigslist, couponing etc.). The internet makes this so much easier, and us ER's will have the time to do it.

This is frugality without sacrifice, to me.
I do need to do more of the credit card games for sure. It is on my list. The goal is to have a lock and go condo, use credit card games for air fare and rent furnished apartments in walkable areas overseas places for slow travel a month or more at a time. We're still working on the fitting into the condo part. We have gotten rid of one decade of clutter so far, only two more decades to go.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:36 PM   #17
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I engage in what I call "optimal spending". My two main values in this area are freedom (from equating happiness with possessions), and satisfaction (with whatever I buy or choose to own). Since pursuing these values, with an emphasis on satisfaction in particular, I am a lot happier with the things I choose to spend money on, no matter how much or how little it is.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:50 PM   #18
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Like the tried and true Catholic idea- avoid the thoughts, and you will avoid the deeds.

I guess, but more of both is usually more fun.

Ha
Ha, Ha! I guess my Catholic upbringing is showing.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:58 PM   #19
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I think the key is about being happy with what you have instead of wanting something else. One might see cutting the chord from cable tv as punishment while someone else sees that as freedom (no more having to cycle through all those darn channels).
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:08 PM   #20
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I see it as simply making thoughtful choices about spending the resources one has available on what is important to you.
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