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5 things you give up by being frugal
I recently went on a cruise with family. Before leaving for my trip, I bought gum.
It was from Walmart and came in a fancy plastic dispenser, and it looked expensive, I guess. The gum was around $2 and it had about 40 pieces of gum.
You know the kind of gum that you buy in sticks of 5 for like a quarter, but once you open the pack, all the gum slides out?
It was that kind of gum, only the nifty package kept all of the contents neatly inside.
Back to the story, on the cruise, I had a great time. I was with cousins and we were celebrating my baby cousin’s bachelorette party. All the ladies brought their A game.
They brought nice clothes, all the accessories you have time to wear when your kids aren’t around, and I brought….gum? Well, I brought more than that, but this is the one thing I got a comment on.
Outside of our room, we waited for the group to gather for an outing at the port of call that our ship stopped at, when I offered my fancy packaged gum to the ones who were ready and waiting.
When they saw the package, they were impressed. “Where did you get that?” some asked. But one comment struck me. “I thought you were frugal”.
I wanted to address this, as it’s a comment that says a lot.
Frugality is by no means the same as cheap. I think in my case, many of my family members think what I’m doing is flaunting my scrooge-like cheap skate habits. My lifestyle and this blog is far from that.
Being frugal is being picky with what you buy. Say it with me “Frugal does not equal cheap”. Chant that out loud 5 times fast. Let’s hope it sticks for those of you that were doubtful of the meaning.
But, in all seriousness, being frugal does require you to give up some things. Let’s discuss those now.
1- Being Cheap
I had to bring this one up first since it’s at the forefront of my mind. When I say being cheap, I mean buying cheap items such as fast fashion clothing, a $5 iPhone 7, and any bad-quality items just because they are on sale.
Being cheap is not realizing the quality in what you’re buying. Cheap people tend to buy items by only looking at the price and not much else.
But, being frugal means you’re intentional about the items you buy and you pay attention to quality in relation to price, to decide whether the purchase is worth it, and only, of course, if it’s within your budget, haha.
2- Being Judgmental
I noticed a trend with non-frugal people, at least the ones I’ve come across.
They’re still in the mode of buying expensive things to impress others, so naturally, when they see someone frugal, they instantly look for the flaw in their lifestyle.
They try to either prove that the person is not really frugal (as the case with my gum conversation) or they view the person as not as successful as they are.
This is not implying that I think my cousin was being judgmental, I honestly think she just misunderstood what frugal meant.
And that’s okay, this is exactly the reason for this post, to help you know the difference between frugal and cheap.
When you’re frugal, you tend to look at other people’s wins as inspiration.
If you hear of someone getting a good deal, you’re excited for them and at the same time inspired to do the same in your own spending.
I’m not implying that when you’re frugal you become less human. Being judgmental, even a little bit, is part of human nature, in my opinion.
But, there’s something about being on a journey to simplify your life that makes you a little more in your lane. Your primary focus is on your progress and you compare it to where you started. It’s a different mindset.
I really don’t have the time or want to put any energy into judging someone else’s money habits. I do, however, look at others’ money habits and see what I can adopt to improve mine even more.
3- The need to please
For a long time, I was like the rest of you. I worked hard and bought the name brand everything, you know, to show that I made it in life.
I thought that somehow those items would show I was truly successful and wealthy. Maybe you don’t do this, and if that’s the case, I seriously commend you.
Because for me, that was part of my upbringing as an Egyptian.
I mean, people in Egypt to this day get all dolled up to go buy groceries. The Egyptian society, and I’m sure many others, put a lot of weight on outward appearance to determine how much to respect and value a person.
It’s no wonder I thought this was a norm.
But, thank God, I woke up and realized what my life should really be about. Pleasing MY peace of mind.
Being happy from inside out. Having financial stability so that I can do all the things I dream of doing.
Name brands and high-end accessories no longer have a hold on me…as much as before. I do get the occasional itch to buy Chanel, because I truly love the quality of that brand.
But never because I want to impress anyone.
In a normal day-to-day, everyone has worry. You worry about being late to work, you worry that your kids are safe, and you even worry about gaining weight (at least I do…all the time haha).
When I became frugal, the money worries subsided. My plans for how I spent my money enabled me to know exactly where my money was going, so I no longer worried if I’d have enough to get by.
I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. I still worry about money. But, it’s definitely a lot less.
My one worry right now is even though we’re debt free, we’re still dependent on a job, only 2 streams of income that can at any moment, for whatever reason, be taken away.
So to combat this, Mr. FC and I are working on getting some passive income streams started. Once that’s in place, that worry will go away too.
The more financially independent you are, the less worry you have….about money that is. As for the other worries? Those will come and go, I guess (except for my daily worry of gaining more weight! haha).
It’s crazy to think back to the time when this Middle Eastern wanted and craved so many material possessions.
Sadly, one of my goals was to buy a Hermes purse at one point. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a purse that is extremely limited in quantity and cost at least $15,000!!
Yup, that was a goal.
Did it have resale value, maybe a little, but it would definitely depreciate to less than half of what I would have paid. And I should mention again, it’s a purse!!
Something that is supposed to just carry my wallet, phone and keys. Not to mention, only the very rich could truly afford this purchase and even then, they might think twice before making that move.
It’s not a smart move by any sense of the word.
Luckily, frugality saved me. It sounds cliché to say that, but it’s the honest truth. Being frugal taught me that the value of things is much more important that the cost.
I buy things out of practicality now, and look for the quality of the item I’m buying, specifically the potential longevity of the item.
It’s freeing to know that material possessions no longer own me. I will never go in debt for a new car again.
I’ve left the life of wanting more and entered the life of gratitude for the plethora of things I already have. Many of which are things you can’t ever buy.
Peace of mind, joy, less stress, a wonderful family, and a home that houses so many amazing memories that I get to save in my mind whenever I need to smile.
My gratitude now consumes the part of me that was once filled with wants. It feels great to not want anything, and it feels even better knowing I don’t NEED anything either.
It will walk you through it step by step and even give you pointers and tips to help you with your day to day spending.
What did you give up by being frugal? I’d love to know!