This is when I want to yell that frugality is not necessarily about deprivation. It is about making good money choices and living a life the way you wish. Most of us make choices and set priorities every day of our lives, and I speak here not just about money. Rare is the person who can have everything in life. Most of us manage to be happy and live fulfilling lives in spite of these enforced choices. Sometimes we have better lives because we've had to assign priorities.
- Frugality is about having what I truly want, not about all the things I cannot or will not have. Even on an extreme fixed income I manage to do those things which are important to me and give me joy. In my case that's road tripping the us, quilting, photography, spending time with friends and many other things. In exchange for the ability to do that, I don't spend money on other things I might have in the past, that's true. But giving up those things are not emotionally or financially painful, as long as I am able to do the things that truly give me joy. That's the part that people miss. The fact that I cannot buy a hardback book or a fast food meal on a whim are minor inconveniences compared to all the things that I can do.
- Frugality is about creativity. I've said more than once that we are all creative, not just people who are "artists" or "crafty". Extreme frugality requires coming up with creative solutions on regular occasions. It's a game when I look for original ideas to decorate for a dinner party or a holiday using only things that are already in my home. Anyone can take the kids to Chuck E Cheese, but it takes more effort to plan a birthday party at home that wows and costs less than half of the budget (thinking of the Lego party and Lego cake). Sometimes using your creative side may take longer than the five minutes to go out and buy the alternative. But in the end you'll take more pride in your originality.
- Frugality is, for the most part about being mindful. About 90 percent of my frugal efforts are also things that are "green," for lack of a better term. Frugality is about wise use of resources. When I keep my errands to one day a week, I not only save gas, but I help the environment. When I choose reusable food storage rather than throw away bags, the same is true. Because I've moved to cooking from scratch as well as eliminating fast food, I've helped save the earth as well as my pocketbook. Lest I sound as through I am taking the high road, many of these decisions were made based on finances-but the end result is that they are environmentally sound as well.
- Everyone can and should use their frugal efforts toward different goals. The fact that someone gets pedicures, goes to an occasional restaurant, buys a new item instead of a used one,has cable TV, or enjoys an occasional trip may not in and of itself make them "not really frugal". We all spend our limited amount of money on different priorities. As long as it evens out in the long run, spending on specific item or type of item is neither "frugal" nor "unfrugal".
- Frugality is sometimes about adventure, about stepping outside the box. It's about taking risks, finding new ways to do things, and finding cheaper and alternative ways to all the things you love.