Accidental vs deliberate. Frugality and spending.

Accidental vs deliberate. Frugality and spending.

Since the economic crash in 2007 and 2008, there has been a lot more belt tightening. Lots of people had no choice but to be frugal. Others adopted frugality to protect themselves, pay down debt, and get themselves into a less exposed financial position.

Frugality means different things to different people, and that meaning has evolved, as language tends to. Or perhaps it is our perspective that has changed.

Frugal is defined as

“the quality of being frugal, or prudent in saving; the lack of wastefulness”

At one point, the lack of wastefulness meant denying ourselves the things we desired. More recently, there is a growing realisation that frugality is freedom from the stuff we previously desired.

You knew all that, I just wanted to set the scene.


The accidental and deliberate sides of frugality

I’m always interested in the ways people save and cut down their spending. Undoubtedly, everyone has different levels of frugality and people enjoy different aspects of being frugal. And then a thought occurred to me. There are ways in which I am naturally frugal, that I do without giving a second thought. I hadn’t cottoned on to this before because it’s part of my natural, everyday behaviour. A natural, automatic choice. I am frugal by accident.

Then there are ways in which I’m deliberately frugal. Ways that I learn from others, that I conciously make time to do, because I know the action will save me money in the long run.

And of course, spending

The same is true for spending. There are some circumstances where I am accidentally spendy. Without writing a list (a deliberately frugal action) my food shopping has a lot of accidental spendiness in it. My wardrobe has things that it doesn’t need to have, many examples of accidental spending.

Of course, there are ways I am deliberately spendy. These are things I deliberate over and budget for. Sometimes, there is overlap- deliberately spendy can also be deliberately frugal if you’re looking for a high quality item that will last a long time. Other times, it can be a spend on something that’s important to you. (cheeky wave to all fellow travel lovers!)

Reducing accidental spendiness

Whenever I realise that I’ve wasted money, I am disappointed with myself. So what I’ve decided to do is put some thought into the ways that I am accidentally frugal and accidentally spendy, and the ways that I am deliberately frugal and deliberately spendy.

I hope appreciating some of my naturally frugal tendencies will make me less hard on myself when I’ve had a spendy day, week or month. I’m hoping they’ll show me some ways that I can be more deliberately frugal. I’m interested to see how many of my natural frugal habits have always been natural and how many have become natural over time. And I’m hoping to conquer, little by little, some of those accidentally spendy ways.

But, who knows? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

What do you think? Are you an accidental frugalista, deliberately trudge your way to frugalism, or an anti frugal consumer monarch?

16 thoughts on “Accidental vs deliberate. Frugality and spending.

  1. Increasing your deliberate frugality and decreasing your accidental spending is the key here, I think. You’re only going to have to try for so long before it all becomes automatic. Good luck. Enjoyed the article.

    1. I think so too, and especially the accidental spending as that as where it really adds up (for me at least!)

      1. I\’ve got mine down to a science. I can\’t think of a single way that I can pinch these pennies any harder. It took roughly two years to get me to this point.

        The next step is to increase my income. That\’s where the magic happens.

        1. That’s an incredible achievement! Since I have a carton of custard in the cupboard that I bought before Christmas and still haven’t touched… and I have insufficient self control when it comes to treating me nieces(!)… I can’t say I’m at this point yet. Income maximisation is really going to have a positive impact since you’ve got such a grip on your budget! πŸ™‚

  2. Love this concept. I’ve thought about it before, but never had a definition for it all. I think my natural frugal habits have grown as I’ve deliberately tried new frugal habits over the years. But there are some frugal tricks I’ve been deliberate about in the past (because I needed to) that I’ve completely let go today.

    1. I think its always worth trying and persevering with new frugal habits… but when they don’t enrich your life, you need to accept that and let them go. Especially when you’re fortunate not to need to be so frugal!

  3. Yes!

    I call it mindful spending. It’s our money, and we can spend it as we see fit, but we make sure that our actual spending fits in with our values.

    We’re somewhat naturally frugal. If we hadn’t come across FIRE blogs, we would be spending more. Not spending more for any particular reason, mind you, nor for increased happiness. It would be things like fancier clothes, a new car, a second car, random eating out, fancy gadgets, and an expensive house – adding probably tens of thousands to our current spending annually.

    1. I’m absolutely the same- if I hadn’t discovered FIRE blogs, I’d be spending money for no reason. On of my favourite quotes is β€œEvery time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” I don’t go for the cheapest all the time, but I also don’t pick a brand for the sake of a brand (anymore!)

  4. I am a little accidental AND a little deliberate. I like to save money and cook from scratch etc, but I also like to buy things like Tag watches and expensive tech… I’m my own worst enemy. However, I’m not getting into debt to do such things and I can do them by tightening my belt in other areas so I’m good with it.

    1. I think most people are… if you know your downfalls, you can change you behaviour if you want to. But if that’s what you enjoy spending your money on, it’s not a bad thing πŸ™‚

  5. I think I’m a bit more accidental than deliberate but your analysis might make me pause to evaluate some of my habits more closely. It’s a very interesting way of looking at both frugality and spending. Thanks!

    1. Thanks YOU for stopping by Mrs Groovy πŸ™‚ I’ve been thinking about it since, and whilst I have lots of guilty spends, I have a whole host of accidentally frugal ways that had passed me by! Hopefully, I can harness those and reign in my spending even more!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *