Frugal living is a popular topic around the interwebz. Everybody – or so it seems – is looking for that one magical tip that will fix their budget.
And yet, there’s an equal amount of criticism to those who choose to live frugally, from the professional life coach telling you that giving up Starbucks will never make you rich (he’s right), to the random blog commenter blasting me for publishing a $20 shopping plan.
But here’s what they don’t realize – or at least, what their comments don’t address: you can’t have everything.
Or at least, I can’t.
And that is why my family and I choose to live frugally.
See, being frugal is simply the concept of giving up what you don’t need, for something you want more.
I don’t need Starbucks, and when it comes down to it, if I have to choose, that’s one of the first things I’ll give up. In fact, it’s one of the first things I did give up, because there’s a whole host of other things I’d rather have, and like it or not, my budget is limited.
And you know what? This really has nothing to do with how much money I make. My goal isn’t to spend every dime I earn, my goal is to invest for the future, so I don’t always have to work so hard to provide for me kids, and after that, to provide for myself as I get older.
So yeah, I’ll always be on a budget, no matter how much I make, and there will be give and take in that budget.
I’ll give up Starbucks so I buy protein powder and BCAAs.
I’ll give up eating out so I can travel more.
I’ll give up movie theaters so I can take the kids to zoos and museums, and maybe even Six Flags one of these days.
We choose to live frugally because it gives us a better life from a long-term perspective.
I have to admit that it hit a nerve when that person said I shouldn’t have had kids if all I could afford was $20 a week in groceries, but you know what? That person doesn’t know the whole story. I put that information out there to hopefully help someone who’s in a tight place, or maybe like me, just wants to save a little bit more money. It’s not for everyone, we all steward our finances a little bit differently, and that’s perfectly okay.
I’m glad that frugal living is such a popular internet topic. There may not be a single magical budget fix, but there’s very possibly an overall fix in the hundreds – nay thousands – of tips out there.