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Living a Frugal Lifestyle Without Being Cheap

Barry Choi

I love saving and talking about money, but the one thing that really gets me hot and bothered is when people call me cheap. I think this is a ridiculous statement considering that I stress the importance of finding the right balance between spending and saving. Seriously, what’s the point of working so hard if you can’t enjoy yourself?

What I suspect people don’t understand is that there’s a difference between being cheap and frugal. There’s no doubt about it, I’m a frugal person. I believe in value, yet I also believe in experiences so I have no problem spending on the things that I really enjoy. Being frugal is a state of mind, I don’t expect everyone to be like me, but perhaps you can understand where I’m coming from.

Looking for value

I put a high price on value and that can be interpreted in a few different ways. People assume that I just look for the cheapest price possible, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I understand that cheaper doesn’t always mean better, but I do think certain generic items are just as good, if not better compared to brand names.

I also don’t like paying full price when I don’t have to. I really don’t understand why anyone would. The money I save from scanning flyers or buying things on sale can go a long way. It could go towards saving, or it could go towards spending on something else that matters more to me. Plus I feel great when I find a good deal.

Status doesn’t matter to me

Expensive items don’t interest me. Well, in high school I had to have a certain pair of shoes or risk being a laughing stock, but generally speaking I could never justify spending a lot of money on a single item.

Some people treat expensive things as status symbols, but I could care less about that kind of stuff. I’m not even talking about fancy cars or big homes. I can’t believe how much a luxury watch or purse costs. I don’t carry a purse, but I would be terrified if I owned a fancy watch. I would be so paranoid of having it lost or stolen, there’s no way I would enjoy any “status” that it brings me.

Sticking to my mindset

Saving will always be my priority. By avoiding random spending and watching my spending, I never have any real fears about meeting my saving goals. I know that if I stick to what I’m doing, I’ll be in a good financial position. Although saving has become natural to me, I still feel good every time I’m able to put aside a little extra money.

Since my saving goals are always met, I never stress when I do decide to spend money. Travelling is my passion so I never feel guilty when I spend what I consider to be more than the average person on taking trips. I also don’t stress out too much on the small things. I enjoy eating out now and then and don’t think too much about it. If I went out and bought a brand new $50,000 car, there’d be a serious cause for concern.

I save and I spend. Living the frugal lifestyle to me means knowing what my priorities are when it comes to saving money. I’m incredibly happy doing the things I do, and never do I feel like I’m missing out.

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Flickr: jridgewayphotography


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