Living Frugally: Nothing but the Best

In my first Savvy blog post, Living Frugally: Less Waste, I spoke on the concept of less is more.  Unfortunately, some have come to believe that living a frugal life forces us to settle for less than the best.  I find this idea very curious and believe that it is important to address this concept.  I disagree that shopping for bargains, checking out the clearance rack, and browsing thrift stores is settling for less than the best.  In fact, I believe it helps to free us in such a way that we can afford the best things in life, like time freedom, spending quality time with family, paying for a good vehicle without financing a penny, not being a slave to creditors, etc.

Did you notice I did not mention the best clothes, cars, house(s), or electronic devices?  There’s a reason for that. 

You see, most people view the best as something material; it is an item, a physical thing that can be used as a showy status symbol.  This mindset is due, in part, to the ingrained American attitude that success is measured by the amount of stuff one accumulates and the brand name attached to said stuff.  This is a shallow, unproductive, and enslaving mindset! 

Living Frugally

Think about it. If we give into this way of thinking we are then obligated to work for the sake of buying stuff.  We work overtime, sacrificing time with family, to afford the luxury vehicle.  Then once the vehicle is attained we turn to acquiring the bigger and better home, and of course that home needs the best furnishings, the best alarm system, the best pool…and don’t forget the best manicured lawn in the neighborhood maintained by the best landscaping crew money can buy.   When all these things become obsolete, which doesn’t take long, you are forced by your mindset to upgrade everything in order to maintain your lifestyle. 

Does that really sound like the best?  That sounds more like a trap to me!

If you are planning to adopt the Frugalist lifestyle and accumulate wealth, in order to save for a debt-free, financially independent  retirement, I suggest you develop a true idea of what the best is.  It is not the cars, vacations, or the other stuff.  It is the memories you create while on a cross-country drive with the family.  It is seeing your children’s eyes light up when they meet their favorite Disney character in person.  The best is creating a thriving business so you have the freedom to attend your son’s band competition without having to ask your boss’ permission to take time off.  The best comes from creating assets that allow you to take months off work to take care of your ill spouse and never feel a financial weight on your shoulders.  It is also being a living example to your grandchildren that they really can build their dream home without financing and the resulting burden of debt.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

9 Comments

  1. If only I could have considered these things when I did the most damage to myself. Sallie Mae may own me for a while, but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Following your suggestions will get me to that tunnel ending even quicker than expected. And reminding myself that happiness is not attained by the physical goods I can buy, but from the memories & time that are created with my daughter…a fool-proof motivator. 🙂

    • No doubt that there is always light at the end of the tunnel if you start proactively managing your relationship with money. I believe if you take the time to explore the blog – the Savvy Discussions, Quizzes, and Recommendations – you will find some useful content that will be helpful. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Cindy.

    • Well said Cindy. Your relationship with your daughter is definitely fool proof motivation. Keep your head up, stay strong. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I’m glad the article spoke to you Brian. Thanks for reading!!

  3. In fact, I believe it helps to free us in such a way that we can afford the best things in life like time freedom, spending quality time with family, paying for a good vehicle without financing a penny, not being a slave to creditors, etc.

    What a great statement. As a young person I wanted all the flash of the latest “things” It is truly about reconciling the spiritual over the material and time freedom is a most valuable asset.

    • As always, thanks for joining the conversation Brian. No doubt that with age – or at least it should – comes a little bit of wisdom and a greater recognition of the value of time, money, and other resources.

  4. This is a wonderful post that really does a great job of explaining the beauty and elegance of frugality. Life is not about stuff – it is about doing and enjoying; “… creating memories” as you stated so eloquently. You also pointed out the beauty of giving this gift to children. I couldn’t agree more. I really enjoyed reading this. Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks, Jason. I believe the Living Frugally posts are a nice addition to the blog.

    • I appreciate the encouragement Jason @froogalism.com I look forward to writing more articles on the topic of frugal living. I strongly believe that one of the most important gifts we can give our children is knowledge with the correct perspective.

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