I have been planning a somewhat major purchase this month, but the price has increased beyond what had been set aside for it so I’ll just make do with the small appliance I already own. There have been a few of these postponement decisions this year, so waiting longer for a new vacuum cleaner isn’t a big deal. This will give me longer to evaluate different makes of cleaners.
I have also been setting aside a few bucks for an outdoor maintenance tool. The old “Weed Eater” grass trimmer has been acting up, but still works. While thrifting yesterday at Goodwill, I noticed a brand new, in the box lawn trimmer for sale. At $29, the Black & Decker Lithium powered trimmer fit the bill exactly. Such tools rarely show up at our local Goodwill Store, so I purchased it. After assembling the tool and charging the battery, I tried it out on some overgrowth on the neighboring vacant lot. The machine does a much better job than the old “Weed Eater”. I also appreciate the cordless feature–no more dragging out extension cords during yard maintenance.
What has happened in these instances, demonstrates three aspects of frugality: budgeting, careful postponment of spending, and taking advantage of favorable prices. When a person cultivates frugality, not only is debt avoided, but peace of mind is enhanced. These are especially important during these days of global economic inflation.
It’s important to differentiate between being a cheapskate and being frugal. Being cheap generally means extreme aversion to spending; then when forced to buy something, the cheapest–often flimsiest option is settled for. Being frugal also entails aversion to spending. However, frugality engages discernment–not necessarily settling for the cheapest, flimsiest option. Often times, frugality enables the buyer to purchase the most quality-filled item. Value for dollar, beats cheap for the sake of cheapness nearly every time.
One other important aspect of mindful spending is the avoidance or minimalization of debt. During routine shopping trips, I leave my credit card alone and try to refrain from using the debit card, too. While thrifting, I try to only use cash. Paying with cash makes me more conscious of money outflow. When considering a purchase, I’m less eager to part with currency than if I just whip out a card. This is one reason I’m against the trend towards a cashless economy.
“Unite liberality with a just frugality; always reserve something for the hand of charity; and never let your door be closed to the voice of suffering humanity.–Patrick Henry
Grandma J exercised frugality in a humane manner. As a survivor of the Great Depression, she understood the importance of budgeting, saving, and careful spending. She balanced careful spending with mindful generosity. Grandma J often quietly slipped a ten or twenty dollar bill to some of my cousins who needed help. She never made a big fuss when doing this even though grandma was not wealthy herself. For their part, the cousins were careful with their spending habits, too.
All things considered, one does not need to resort to cheapness to save money. Planned frugality enables a more enjoyable and satisfactory lifestyle.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 18th century English critic, essayist, moralist, playwright, and poet, Samuel Johnson. “Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.”