What Frugality Means to Me

A couple of weeks ago, I received my daily email from Rockstar Finance that highlights what they feel are the best posts of the day from some of their members.

One such article was titled Being Frugal Changed My Life from a blog called Debt and Cupcakes.

The gist of the article explained what living a frugal lifestyle has meant to the author, as well as what is hasn’t.

The article really resonated with me because it sounds as through the author has been on a similar journey to my own. Reading it got me thinking that I really haven’t delved into what trying to live a frugal lifestyle means to me. It also made me realize that talking about what parenting frugally means to me is probably something I should address early on in this blog (it likely should have come sooner that my article on going to the ponies!).

One of my favourite lines from the Debt and Cupcakes article was “a frugal life is the opposite of deprivation”.

I couldn’t agree more.

For me, frugality does not include deprivation either. It does not mean going with the least expensive option every single time. And it most certainly DOES NOT equate to being cheap.

Living frugally simply means making the most of my money at every opportunity and getting the best bang for our buck.

It means comparison shopping and price matching on our weekly trip to grocery store, along with couponing and using apps like Checkout 51 (ideally double-dipping using both on the same purchase!) to save a few bucks here and there on items I was going to be purchasing anyways. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of cost savings on diapers, wipes, or staple foods for our home?

It means taking advantage of the significant savings you can realize by shopping for kids gear on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace, at “mom to mom” and garage sales, or at second-hand stores.

It means doing enough research to know that purchasing a vehicle with a higher upfront sticker price, but better fuel efficiency and reliability, would likely work out much better on our budget in the long-run than the cheaper, gas-guzzling, repair-riddled alternative. This is exactly what we did when we purchased a van to accommodate our growing family last year.

And sometimes it means splurging on lunch at an independent local burger joint over a traditional fast food option when faced with a choice between the two. I know I’ll get far more enjoyment from the food and won’t feel like complete crap after the meal, so I won’t feel like I wasted my money (though there are certainly far more frugal ways to feed oneself than eating out).

To be clear, it took me a long time to put this type of thinking into practice. It’s a trained behaviour. It takes a great deal of repetition, dedication, and foresight.

Over the course of a number of years, critical thinking about how and when we spend our money has simply become routine.

In the last couple of years it has absolutely had to.

We’re faced with expenses that we had never encountered or had to consider before becoming parents. Things like diapers, baby food, and daycare are in the cards right now. Soon enough it will be hobbies, recreation activities, and family vacations with more than two people to account for. And not long after that it could be support for post-secondary education, if that’s the path our kids choose to take.

Taking a frugal approach to our spending in recent years has and will continue to pay dividends for us for years to come. We focus on experiences as a family, making memories while attending low- to no-cost activities and events. We’re paying down our mortgage significantly faster than what the minimum payments call for. We’re saving for things that matter to us, like financial independence.

And I can’t imagine ever going back to my free-spending ways of long ago. The benefits of frugality are simply too great for me to ignore.

Do you try to lead a frugal lifestyle? Has becoming a parent made it more of a priority for you like it has for me? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or email me at frugalfatherblog@gmail.com.

Until next Saturday’s post, thanks for reading!

Frugal Father

8 thoughts on “What Frugality Means to Me

  1. Fearless Faith says:

    Being frugal sometimes means splurging – yes, it’s true. I’ve talked about this recently on my blog post “Can a Budget Give You Freedom?” I think you would agree with me that it can. Being frugal can give us dividends! Have a good one.

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  2. Frogdancer Jones says:

    Frugality wasn’t a choice for me when my kids were young. It was a necessity if I wanted to keep the roof over their heads.
    Now? It’s a way of life. I call myself a valuist – I’ll spend on the things that bring me joy or are essential, but I’ll keep my wallet in my bag for things that (in my mind) are fripperies.

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    • Frugal Father says:

      Love the “valuist” term – a very appropriate description of aiming to make the most of your money! Have to agree that frugality is much less of a choice than it is a necessity with kids in the picture as well. We’re fortunate to be fairly comfortable with our incomes right now, but we don’t take that for granted – it could all change tomorrow for all we know. Better that frugality is a way of life for us already rather than having to make any kind of massive shift in our lifestyle if some significant issue were to present itself.

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