I drive a 22-year-old entry level Camry. I keep it for several reasons, including the fact that Toyota no longer manufactures Camrys with manual transmissions. The car still looks as nice as the day it rolled off the assembly line. It’s very economical regarding fuel and maintenance. The car has taken me to far away destinations and has been a daily driver throughout our shared history.

I have taken care of it and it has rewarded me with dependable service in return. It has reliably accompanied me through bad times and good times so why would I abandon it?

Also, I simply hate having to make installment payments. In my opinion, bank loans are financial burdens. Making payments on depreciating goods seems unwise. That said, nobody really gives a hoot about what I drive every day. There is no family in my neighborhood named “The Joneses” to keep up with.

I was taught from a young age that being careful, not stingy, with spending habits would pay dividends in security and peace of mind. My family has always believed that frugality is a virtue.

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”–Lao Tzu

Frugality is one of those words that seem to have become taboo in today’s world. Our consumption, throw-away culture tries to convince us that buying stuff will make us happy. However, after awhile, we realize that buying things for the sake of accumulating stuff cuts us off from true enjoyment and understanding of the meaning of life. Things become anchors that hold us away from exploration. We forget the joy of simplicity.

Being a frugal person doesn’t mean being a cheapskate or depriving oneself of fine things we truly enjoy. Frugality means understanding the value of money and attaining the skills about how to wisely spend it.

A personal example is footwear. I’ve always had trouble with my feet, so shoe selection is very important. Wearing cheap shoes causes discomfort and pain. Cheap shoe wearing can ultimately lead to the necessity of a visit to the podiatrist. Any initial savings due to the cost of cheap shoes is greatly offset by medical bills. To avoid the hidden expense of cheap shoes, it is better for me to wear the best quality shoes I can afford. Quality footwear pays dividends in comfort, health, and peace of mind. Quality footwear also lasts much longer than cheap footwear. I get more bang for the buck when buying quality shoes.

Instead of conforming to the cult of consumerism, living a frugal lifestyle is a rewarding way to enjoy life more fully. Frugality is living life more naturally and in the process, saving money. Someone once said, “The best things in life are not things.” I believe this is true.

Ironically, I do own many things and have a few collections. They are used to enhance my hobbies and interests. When the number of things becomes a burden, I unload them by giving them away or donating them to charity. My basement is not packed nor do I need to rent a storage unit. A rule of thumb I try to use is to have the best item that one can realistically afford when it is something that adds to my overall mental and physical health and to the effectiveness of my actions. In the end, such an item should serve my needs for a long time and do so very well with no worries about safety and usefulness.

All things considered, frugality is not a matter of being miserly. It means avoiding waste and getting more value for what we spend.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century businessman, diplomat, industrialist, and lawyer Owen Young. “We are not to judge thrift solely by the test of saving or spending. If one spends what he should prudently save, that certainly is to be deplored. But if one saves what he should prudently spend, that is not necessarily to be commended. A wise balance between the two is the desired end.”Β 

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Frugal

  1. Yernasia Quorelios says:

    πŸ’œ Agreed; ’nuff said


  2. I have a camry too and I love it. I will always be a camry girl!

  3. bloom|time says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! We pay for “things” with our precious time. Therefore, live small and happily. (We downsized EVERYTHING not in an insane, reality television sort of way, and it is very rewarding. I would describe myself as a “maximalist” style-wise – – I love my “things” however, they’re mainly passed down from my beloved grandma, or thrifted, or collected over a longgggg time. and they’re little things, not swimming pools or snowmobiles (no offense to those who find joy in those things – just not for me)… and I drive a 10 year old work truck. πŸ™‚ (Not fuel efficient, but gets me, the kids, the animals, the gardening crap, and the kayaks around just great!)

  4. Hi. Your car is good for another 40 years. What mileage does it get in local driving?

    • swabby429 says:

      I wonder if the car will outlive me. The engine is the base L-4 with 5-speed manual transmission. It gets an average of around 24-mpg combined town and country driving. I’ve had the starter replaced once and a new clutch installed a couple of years ago. The power-plant is beginning to burn a little motor oil, but nothing to worry about.

  5. Jeff Flesch says:

    Yep. Agreed, Jay. Took me a long time to learn this one. Appreciate the remminder.

  6. Herb says:

    Frugality is great. Driving an older car that you won and are not paying interest on is simply wise, in my opinion. Too many people live way beyond their means and when something happens…

  7. Cool that you quote Lao Tzu. The Information Age is in much need of ancient wisdom.

  8. Sound advice – also, make sure you are paying for quality, not style!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.