5 Alternative Facts About Frugality You Shouldn’t Believe
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Frugality is interesting. Most people either love it or hate it. Some who are on frugality’s bad side may not understand it completely and that’s because there’s so much misinformation out there. In fact, when you believe one of these five myths about frugality, it could actually hold you back financially and make it harder to achieve your goals.
Frugality is actually very flexible and adopting a frugal lifestyle can help you improve your finances and your quality of life.
If you’re on the fence about becoming frugal, you may be falling for one of these five myths that can change your perspective completely once you figure out the truth.
myth #1: People don’t choose to be frugal
The false belief is that frugality is so restricting and miserable that no one would ever choose to adopt a frugal lifestyle so naturally, people are only frugal when they have to be. This is not entirely true. Becoming frugal is often a choice even though it may not start out like that for most people.
When you don’t have enough money, you figure you have to become frugal by necessity and not by choice. But maintaining a frugal lifestyle is definitely a choice because you always have the freedom to decide how you’d like to spend and manage your money.
People tend to choose frugality because it provides them with options and more freedom. It also allows you to prioritize your needs and wants and save money and time in regards to expenses that aren’t as important.
Contrary to popular belief, most frugal people can afford to spend money on lavish splurges but choose not to if they don’t align with their values and priorities.
myth #2: living Frugal Is being Cheap
I hear this all the time but there is a huge difference between being frugal and being cheap. Yet and still some frugal people can be cheap and vice versa. Confused? Let me simplify things.
Cheap people tend to hate the idea of spending money on anything and opt to choose the lowest cost solution when faced with any expense. When you operate with a cheap mindset, your main focus is on spending as little money as possible regardless of other factors like quality, for example.
Frugal people are okay with spending money for the right reasons. They are clear on what they value and don’t mind paying for quality or convenience if it aligns with their goals and provides security. They are also resourceful and willing to use what’s around them because they understand that mindlessly spending more money hurts them and stands in the way of them achieving their goals.
Frugal people also tend to shy away from societal pressures to spend money on certain things just ‘because everyone else is doing it.’ Being frugal means something different for everyone so it tends to look different depending on the person.
Can you be a mix of both frugal and cheap? I say yes. But the two terms are not interchangeable.
myth #3: Frugal People Don’t Have any Fun
This is another big myth you shouldn’t believe about living frugally. From the outside looking in, frugality can seem like deprivation, but just because you’re frugal doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Yes, being frugal can help you spend less but the idea is to spend less on what’s not important to you so you can have more money to spend on what matters most to you.
If you value certain hobbies or activities, all you need to do is make room in your budget for them.
If you can’t afford them, frugality shouldn’t be to blame. You may need to focus on ways to earn extra money or find reasonable ways to live within your means.
Plus, there are many affordable ways to have fun that you shouldn’t skip out on. I love going to free events and classes and signing my son up for community sports.
I also enjoy traveling, which isn’t cheap, but living with a frugal mindset has taught me how to use travel rewards cards to save on travel – here are some of the best cards to do just that. I’m able to create memories for my family AND live within my means. What’s not fun about that!
When I became more frugal, I think I actually started enjoying life more.
Myth #4: Being Frugal Means You Have to Clip Coupons and Reuse Paper Plates
Not all frugal people partake in extremely time-consuming money-saving activities like clipping coupons, reusing Ziploc bags, washing paper plates and so on.
Everyone approaches frugality differently and it just depends on the lifestyle you’re comfortable living. While there’s nothing wrong with clipping coupons, it can be extremely time-consuming and offers little return. Some extreme couponers spend 30-40 hours per week gathering coupons, researching sales and organizing shopping trips.
Couponing only works if you have the time to do it and are buying items you actually need.
If you’d rather do something else with your time like work or hang out with friends, those time-consuming activities may not be worth it to you.
myth #5: Frugality Is Hard to Maintain
This final myth really gets under my skin. I don’t think frugality should be seen as some type of diet to help you get your finances in order so you can revert back to your old habits.
It’s a lifestyle you have to maintain, but it doesn’t have to be hard. You can start by developing your own frugal habits and finding what works best for you.
I won’t lie, it’s hard in the beginning to transition to living frugally. Even after you make the switch, there are still temptations that come up, but you have to get crystal clear on your values and priorities.
If something doesn’t align with them, after a while, you won’t even feel pressured to indulge because you know it won’t make you happy.
If you avoid living frugally because you think it means you have to do one of the five myths we just busted, you could be cutting your legs out from underneath you when it comes to accomplishing your personal goals. Instead, learn to embrace frugality and define what it means to you; doing so can help you experience financial freedom.
What are some other myths you’ve encountered about frugality? What do you spend up for to get quality? Do you coupon – and, if so, how much time do you spend on clipping coupons?