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.