This isn’t the article I planned to write this week. I had actually started on one dealing with the 7 tethers of mediocrity. But after hearing and reading so many discussions regarding the cons of living frugal, I felt inspired to make a contribution to the discussion. Recently I read an article entitled, “A Case Against Frugality.” I must admit, being a strong advocate of living within your means, my initial posture to the article was one of resistance. I remember thinking to myself (in my most sarcastic inner voice)… this should be a good one. But ironically enough, it was.
As I read further into the article, I became more and more intrigued. Having realized the author actually had some really valid points, my posture became more and more receptive with each passing validation. To summarize briefly, he said that to live within your means was limiting. And that you should instead expand your means to meet your lifestyle. Now while I agree with his stance, it’s for reasons other than those he used to explain his viewpoint. And if you’ll bear with me through this article, I’ll do my best to explain why I think both frugality (living within your means) and frivolity (expanding your means to meet your lifestyle) should hold equal footing in your life.
My Case For Frugality
First, since my entire book is based on this premise, let’s discuss frugality. The reason I’m so passionate about learning to live within your means is because I learned first-hand how destructive it was to spend frivolously before I could really afford to do so. In my early 20s, I was taking vacations on credit, buying clothes and nice things on credit, paying for car repairs on credit, and at one point even buying groceries and gas, on what? You got it… on credit. I was literally living a borrowed life.
As is true with any house of cards, when the storm came, my house went. I’m embarrassed to say that I was the little piggy who built my house out of straw, instead of taking my time and building a house of bricks. I needed my house now, so I could go out and play. I didn’t want to wait for it. And because I, ultimately, didn’t get money, money instead got me. And I ended up being a slave to the lender (sad face) until I was 30 years old.
The funny thing is I don’t regret my house of straw. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. It’s because I lived in a house of straw that I learned to better appreciate my house of bricks. Essentially, I am who I am, because I was who I was. My mentor used to say that money will do nothing but magnify your true character (not who you portray yourself to be). And the truth is my character, in my early to mid-20s, was piss poor (mom if you’re reading this excuse my language lol).
You see, it was the very storm that caused my house to crumble that ended up being the instigator of my freedom. Like fire to gold, the heat perfected me, ridding me of all the impurities that had so long accompanied me in the form of poor money management habits. Compelled by circumstance to live well below my means, the lessons I learned during the storm completely changed my life and the principles by which I chose to live it. And that’s why I can’t disregard, for one second, the rightful place that frugality should occupy in one’s life. Here are just a few of the principles that frugal living have taught me: