Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The “F” Word

I feel bad for the word frugal. It is so misunderstood. I mean, frugal is such a classy dame, but everyone thinks she’s cheap. Frugal is wine and cheese in a picnic blanket, but everyone thinks she is mac & cheese in a plastic microwave dish. I’m here to defend her reputation.
Frugal does not mean cheap. Frugal is about intention. Frugal means using every part of what you have so nothing is wasted. Kind of like using all your vacation time before it expires or drinking your whole beer before it gets warm. There’s noting cheap about that. Frugal is savoring.
Consider for a moment what happens during a power blackout. It changes everything. In a blackout there is no electric light, no TV, no DVD’s, no Facebook, no video games, no time-consuming diversions.
What is there instead? Candlelight. Conversations and board games. Chatting by flashlight with seldom seen neighbors. Hide and seek and ghost stories for the kids. Going to bed early like folks did before electricity doubled the length of our days.  Once we remove all the extraneous modern distractions, we have simplified life. What we are left with is MORE of what really matters, and less of what really doesn’t. 
Much as a blackout redirects our attention to what is essential and fundamental, so too does choosing a frugal lifestyle. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, you focus on what you do have.  Sure, you might choose to give up some things, but you are left with what is most valuable and essential. Eventually, if you persevere, you won’t miss the rest. When you savor the essentials of life, when you sit and breathe and count your blessings, you are living intentionally, and this is a big part of being frugal.  
Sure, there might be less food at the buffet, but everything there is healthier and tastes better. Frugal is better living by subtraction, and on that path lies abundance and peace.


  1. One of the best decisions we made as a family was giving up cable. I had wanted to do it for a couple of years but no one else (hubby) agreed. Then a few months ago we HAD to because of financial struggles. I was like, "YES! Finally going to give this thing a try!" After the first month of whining and complaining, we got used to it. Now we spend more time doing other things and don't have all that immoral junk flowing into our children's brains! The "path to abundance and peace".

    1. Good call! I believe your family will be stronger because of what you have done. I don't think most people have a clue how much their TV robs them of peace and prosperity. (I'm actually working on a post on this very topic.) As you have discovered, there are 100 better ways to spend 4-5 hours a night.

      First of all, most of the programming is a cesspool of immorality and violence (not that I have any strong opinions on the matter). Beyond that, most TV characters are portrayed as being affluent. Often, their standard of living on TV is well beyond what the character could afford in "real life." This subliminally creates unrealistic expectations about how life should be, which contributes to widespread discontentment, depression and DEBT!


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