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?