Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about degrees of frugality.
For instance, many of you probably think it wasn’t very frugal of me to join a gym and buy new running shoes. On the flip side, some of you might be like my husband, who believes you can never spend too much when it comes to your health. (For the record, I’m somewhere in between.)
Some of you can’t imagine spending money on disposable diapers, and some of you would rather use coupons to get disposables at a low price instead of paying close to $20 for one all-in-one cloth diaper.
For some, time is worth more than money. Maybe you’ll willing to spend extra money on things that buy you more time.
We all have different ideas about what’s really frugal. As I’ve said many times, frugality is not one size fits all. Not even close. There are a million different degrees of frugality.
Whatever you decide, the important thing is that you draw yourself a frugal line in the sand. Figure out what’s important to you, and try your best to stick with it.
For me, frugality is about balance. It means most of the time I can’t have it all. If I want to spend money on a gym membership, I have to cut some of my entertainment spending. If I want to go to a movie on Saturday night, I can’t go out to dinner, too. That’s where I draw my line. I cover the necessities, and find a way to balance the extra stuff.
Where ever you draw the line, try to be consistent. If you decide to give up meals out so you can afford to go to the movies, don’t look at your frugal friend who spends her entertainment budget at restaurants and convince yourself that you can have it both ways. Remember your priorities, remind yourself of the decision you made, and stick with it.
At the same time, don’t feel guilty if you’re spending money on paper towels or disposable diapers while your other frugal friend uses rags and cloths. Trust your decision, and balance your budget accordingly.
It’s ok to change your mind. It’s ok to change your priorities. But always make sure you’re doing it for yourself and your family. Don’t base your decisions on someone else’s frugal choices. If you’re frugal, I’m sure you don’t believe in keeping up with the Joneses. But you also shouldn’t try to keep up with your frugal neighbors across the street.
Everyone’s line is different. Just make sure you stay on the right side of your own.