Well hello! And welcome to Monday.
Given that the word “frugal” is right there in this blog’s name, I figure I might as well put a bit more into the definition of the word. I think I started this conversation on Friday when I posted about the difference between frugal and cheap.
In the comments of that post and elsewhere, people got passionate about the difference. Frugal can border on cheap and at times, cross into that territory if you’re not careful. What’s more, there’s a whole war for the soul of frugal!
From what I could tell, and to get today’s conversation going, did you know that there are (at least) two camps that lay claim to the word frugal? I call these two groups the simplicists and the maximizers.
One camp is closely tied to minimalism.
If you need a visual, imagine this group combining errands in their smaller, older car as they pull up to the self-service diesel pump at a discount gas station to spend almost nothing on gas for the week; that is, if they’re not riding a bike or taking the bus to get everywhere.
Members of this group try to spend as little as possible by making do with less. They’re prudent and never wasteful, and look for durable goods that are built to last — and willing and able to repair something if it breaks. To this group, simplicity isn’t just a tool that helps them save money; it’s either a necessity or a goal in and of itself.
The other camp is made up of folks that one might affectionately call champagne frugalists.
To re-use the same visual, you might even see these folks in the full-service lane, but they’ll have used a coupon, loyalty card, and other tricks to pay even less than self-service prices.
These folks still watch what they spend, but try to maximize the value that they get out of every dollar they spend — including spending on some goods that many might put into the luxury category and even if it means spending a little bit of cash. With a little planning, a little know-how, and a lot of hustle, they’re able to travel, eat, and dwell as well as or better than those who empty their bank accounts to do so.
So, which camp do you fall in, and are there even more categories than these two?