Frugal Friday: 5 Things I Love About Living in America

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Happy New Year

Happy Friday everyone! To all my non-U.S. readers, many of us here in the States are enjoying a four day weekend thanks to yesterday being our Independence Day. I’ll be taking a half day today myself as we’re having some friends over for a BBQ. It has been nice to have a shorter week this week, although my to-do list is growing in my mind as a result of the lost days. Oh well, a life of all work and no play gets tedious awfully quickly. I was reading Mr. CBB’s post on the Top 5 things He Loves About Canada earlier in the week (on Canada Day) and was inspired to do something similar today and share some of the things I love about living in America. I know it can be easy to look at some of our financial statistics or the state of politics and be pessimistic about the state of our nation, but I happen to think there are still a lot of great things about living in America. Below, I’ll share some of things I am most thankful for about living in America.

1. Free Speech

I think that free speech is part of the backbone of our country. I love that we as Americans can say what we want and what we feel and not fear retribution as a result. Having travelled a good bit of the world over my years, I know that this is certainly not the norm. There are many places today where you can be punished to the point of imprisonment or worse because of your opinions. I am so thankful that is not the case for us as Americans. While I may not always agree with some things that are said, I think it’s part of what makes us uniquely American…we have been given the right to free speech and that is indeed a beautiful thing.

2. Diversity

In regards to diversity, I am meaning both cultural and geographical. Culturally speaking we’re becoming more diverse as a country, which excites me. There are many cities around us, including the city we live in, that have become home to large refugee populations. Not only does this bring more opportunity to learn about these cultures and expose our children to them, but it also means we have the ability to try different ethnic foods that we have grown to love. As a parent I love this because it affords us the opportunity to teach our kids from a young age the importance of learning other cultures and to love people that may not look like them. Geographically speaking, life in the Midwest means my family and I can get to the mountains or to bodies of water within a day’s drive. We can either be in a big city or we can be in the country, which gives us great selection. This gives us great selection as we contemplate summer vacation ideas and generally makes life more interesting.

3. Opportunity

Being an entrepreneur myself this is a big one for me. Living in America means that with solid effort and a will to succeed you can take advantage of opportunity and be something different than what your parents were. I know this may not be uniquely American, but I do know that there are many places in the world today where you’re stuck in the role expected of you and there is little possibility of moving out of that. By taking advantage of opportunity you gain the ability to strike out for yourself and create something capable of outlasting you and positively impacting many others.

4. Football

I know, this is just a bit on the silly side. However, life is meant to be fun and having things to enjoy make life that much richer. I know not everyone likes football, or even sports and agree that they can be enjoyed to an extreme. When enjoyed with some balance it is a perfectly healthy past time.

5. Movies

Ok, I know, another silly one. I know that Hollywood does not always produce the best of movies, but there are many that are quite simply works of art and strike a chord with our American spirit. There are few things as enjoyable as going to the theater and watching a truly good movie on the big screen.

There you have it – five of my favorite things about living in America. It’s certainly not exhaustive, but just things that come to mind. Most importantly, I would be remiss if I did not mention thankfulness to those who have fought and given their lives so we can enjoy such things. If you see veterans this weekend, I encourage you to thank them for their service.

It certainly has been an eventful week or two in the blogosphere. I do apologize for the server issues that caused some outages over the last few weeks. Thankfully, those issues should be straightened out by now and should no longer be an issue. That said, here are some of my favorite blog posts of the week. If you have the time this weekend, I encourage you to check some of them out.


Blog Post of the Week

How Much is Impressing Others Costing You? on Three Thrifty Guys

I loved Aaron’s insightful post on several levels – as someone who tries to be frugal and spend money conscientiously and the other being someone who owns an advertising business. Many of us struggle with the desire to be part of the “in” crowd and keep up with the Joneses. Marketers know this and play on it frequently to get us to separate us from our money to buy whatever product they’re pitching. The idea that I come back to regularly is this – who am I living for? Am I living for others, or am I living for myself and my family? If it’s the former then it’ll be challenging, at times, to keep your spending wits about you. If it’s the latter then you’ll be conscientious with your spending and not enslaved to whatever whim may strike you. Aaron summed up his point well with this Teddy Roosevelt quote – “Comparison is often the thief of our joy.” As a marketer myself and a financial person I could not agree more.

Other Blog Posts That Ruled

Investing Made Easy III – Where Should I Put My Money? on Luke 1428

When is it Time to Leave Your Job? on The Money Principle

Store Savings Cards – Loyal? Or Nuts? on Student Debt Survivor

Telling My Partner I Have Debt on Are Ya Gonna Eat That?

Investing – What’s the Point? on Make Money Your Way

My Affordable Engagement Ring on Budget Blonde

Discover IT® Credit Card Review – Top Cash Back Card on Modest Money

Odd Search Terms

The college graduate who did not get the job because of what she posted on Facebook…good thing I took down those drunk pictures!

A job that can make you wealthy quick…Bank robber!

Napkins instead of toilet paper…You’re a stronger person than I am!

Scratching my head…You must’ve forgotten to shampoo again!

Should we care about our employees…No, I say expect them to work for free

How to get rich for free…Wouldn’t we all like to know that

Can you find good clothes at Wal-Mart…Um, NO!


If you’re an American, what is one of your favorite things of being an American? If you’re not, what is something you’re thankful for? Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?


Photo courtesy of: Bayasaa

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Free speech and opportunity are big ones for me. It’s hard to imagine living in a country where you have to live in fear that your opinion could get you into trouble. Having the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurial goals – or simply to work where I want – is something that I take for granted but shouldn’t. Football is also my favorite sport to watch in the Fall and I can’t wait for it to start up again. Have a great weekend, John!

    • John says:

      I agree DC, it’s hard to imagine living in a country where we would not have those freedoms. It’s definitely not something to take for granted. You have a great weekend as well sir!

  • Free speech, diversity of people, places and things, opportunity (this one is huge for me and one I appreciate even more now that I’m dating someone who moved to this country specifically to have more opportunities). Have a great weekend and thanks for mentioning my me.

  • Opportunity is huge for me, that and diversity. Although I don’t agree with entering the country illegally, I love watching people from other countries come here to find a better life for their families. Often, they’re escaping lives of terrible danger from drug lords and corrupt government, and America offers them a chance to have a (comparatively) safe place to raise their babies and work to support their families, and it warms my heart when I hear what their lives used to be like, and what obstacles they’ve overcome to get here. Have a great weekend, John. We’ll be enjoying a few gatherings with friends and family this weekend. 🙂

    • John says:

      I feel the same way Laurie. It is really neat to meet people who have been so brave to leave their homeland to come here and put in the hard work that they generally do. When we take it for granted so many times it really is inspiring to see that. You have a great weekend as well Laurie!

  • I would also add freedom of religion to this list. It would be a scary proposition to live in a country and be forced to conform to a government’s or a religious group’s belief structure or face severe punishment, maybe even death. Thanks for the mention also and have a great BBQ!

  • Aaron says:

    Thanks so much for the mention here John – we appreciate it. Have a great 4th weekend!

  • Matt Becker says:

    Haha, I’d put football right up there too! Seriously though, I think this is a great reminder that while we certainly have our issues, the US is still a great place to live for many reasons. The freedom to determine your own life is definitely a theme that runs through your first three reasons and is not something to be taken for granted.

    • John says:

      I agree Matt – it can be so easy to get trapped in the mindset that we’re all in trouble and, when you look at it, we still do have a lot of things to be thankful for.

  • Alexa says:

    Free Speech, Opportunity, and Freedom of Religion are the big ones for me. I love knowing that I can do whatever I want and that I have unlimited opportunities in front of me. I also think that its important that everyone can believe what they want in terms of religion and most of the time still be respected for their beliefs.

    • John says:

      Those are big ones for me as well Alexa. There are many countries where you can be imprisoned, or worse, because of what you believe in. We’re blessed to be able to live where we do.

  • I’m right there with Opportunity John. Opportunity is everywhere and so many people take it for granted these days. You just have to be willing to go after it.

  • I like free speech and the opportunity that America provides. We would be able to sit here and chat like this if it wasn’t for free speech and opportunity. I hope you have a great weekend sir!

    • John says:

      I agree Grayson, so much of what we can do boils down to those first two. We are very blessed to have that. You have a good one as well sir!

  • Thank you so much for including me John! I really appreciate it!

  • My aunt loved living in America and she only come back here in the Philippines every decade. She keeps on saying to us that there are a lot of great opportunities in there, I hope I can take advantage of those opportunities soon.

  • anna says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your first three reasons – diversity is a big thing for me, and I love how San Diego has so many different transplants from everywhere! I also agree with #5, and #4 I can agree with contingent upon if there’s good beer involved. 🙂 Thanks for including me, John, I hope you had a wonderful 4th and that all fingers are intact and there’s no singed eyebrows from the fireworks fun! 😉

    • John says:

      I loved that about San Diego as well. We have some in Omaha, but not to the extent there is in SD.

      In regards to the 4th, I still have my fingers…though I did have something very scary happen and am now done with fireworks for good. Post coming on that next week…

  • Debt Blag says:

    I think opportunity would be the number one thing for me too. Other countries may have a better safety net, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather start with a little bit of smarts and a capacity and willingness for hard work.

    • John says:

      That’s a great point! It just takes a little bit of both and a willingness to put in the time & effort to accomplish something.

  • I definitely agree with the first three (although I adore movies as well!). I also (personally) like that our country is moving towards more tolerance towards gay couples and gay marriage. As someone with a lot of friends who are gay, it’s nice to see they can enjoy the same benefits and male/female committed relationships.

  • krantcents says:

    For me, it is all about opportunity! Certain parts of the country provide more opportunity than others. I am very grateful for the opportunities, I have had in southern California income property.

    • John says:

      I agree KC and I have seen that myself. My in-laws have lived in San Diego for roughly 40 years and they have seen so much change in that time. I would love to go back and be able to buy some land around that time.

  • I think I would have football right up there as well. 🙂

  • Great list, John! Okay, football wouldn’t make my Top 5 but that’s just me. 🙂 Sometimes we take for granted how good we really do have it. We certainly face problems here but at the same time – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Enjoy your long weekend!

  • Michelle says:

    I definitely agree with your list! Freedom of speech and opportunity are very important.

  • Not an American. But looking from this side of ‘the Pond’ I would say that what I em most impressed with is that you guys have a constitutional right to happiness. Here in Europe we just to be a bit less miserable. Thanks for mentioning my post and have a great weekend.

  • I think movies is a big thing I like about America too! You guys know how to make a mean summer blockbuster. 😉
    On a more serious note – the ability to forge your own path as an entrepreneur is huge! Some of the amazing things I’ve read lately about people who have chose this route is truly amazing. We are certainly blessed to have these opportunities!

    • John says:

      I agree Lindsey! I am so thankful that we have the opportunities we have. It’s not easy, by any means, but with hard work you can accomplish a lot if you have the will to do so.

  • Glad I could inspire you mate. I think many tend to look at their own personal life and if it’s not that great then it must be the rotten place they live in. I think it’s time we start to appreciate the small stuff and be proud of where we come from. Have a great holiday mate.

    • John says:

      I could not agree more Mr. CBB. I think appreciating the small things is a big part of what makes life enjoyable so many times.

  • Your football comment made me laugh. Although I am pretty sure it’s a universal sport!

    • John says:

      Glad I could give you a laugh! Though, I am referring to American football. In most other parts of the world football is what we could call Soccer here in the States. 😉

  • Mr. 1500 says:

    America is a beautiful country. There are many great places all over the world, but if I had to spend the rest of my travels just our fine country, it would be just fine. Yosemite is my favorite so far, but there is much left to see.

    • John says:

      That it is Mr. 1500. I feel the same way, though I have not been to Yosemite yet – it is definitely on the list though. I have been to Yellowstone numerous times and to Alaska, amongst others, and we really do have some beautiful areas in our fine country.

  • Murrrrrica! The fact that we can pretty much do what we want with our lives and forge our own path is amazing, all in relative safety and ease. So many countries many people have to worry about just surviving day to day, let alone becoming an entrepreneur or finding a job they enjoy. We certainly have it pretty good here.

  • Peter says:

    Yes, we are very fortunate to live in this country. It’s hard to imagine how someone in the world at this moment don’t have all of those privileges that we have. Hope this will last through our kid’s generation.

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