There’s a lot of talk of being frugal these days, which in the best of times is wise but is becoming a requirement for some as the economy experiences a harsh downturn in its typically cyclical path. As I’ve explored this topic I’ve come to realize that frugality, as a way of life, might best be compared to vegetarianism – and I’ve identified 4 categorical analogies:
- 1. Spendthrifts and Meatballs – this crowd is either blissfully ignorant with their spending/eating habits or they are fantastically wealthy, and correspondently, apathetic towards their heath and appearance. For purposes of this article, this group is a nonstarter.
- 2. Attentive and Healthy – Moderation characterizes this grouping. Spending is done according to a planned budget with coupons being clipped, sale prices being monitored, and frivolous spending at a minimum. Eaters here are mindful of their diets and eat meat in moderation, including plenty of fish and chicken rather than purely pork and beef.
- 3. Restrictive and Meat-free – Spending restrictions are put into play that may cause some eyebrows to raise (no cable!) but the practices in large part do not complicate one’s life. What I’d consider basic vegetarianism (no meat) is exercised and once the habit is in place it is not complicated to maintain.
- 4. Extreme and Vegan – This group takes either or both ideal to its extreme and thereby introduces a series of personal requirements that complicate their lives and/or their ability to operate smoothly with society’s median – they have to congregate amongst themselves to mitigate a steady stream of barriers inorder to maintain an allusion of normalcy. Hey, you may be a great person but living in your car and militantly eschewing all animal related products would seriously complicate a weekend getaway with a random sampling of people.
Now the correlations are not lockstep. A vegan can be an attentive spender just as a meat eater can practice moderate or extreme frugal practices. And as full disclosure I’m a 2 on both counts but I’m not mad at any of the other groups though I’ll admit a lack of understanding of both sets of extremes.
As a Group 2 frugal household we follow a budget, limit our eating out, maintain vegetable and herb gardens, use a reel lawn mower, clip coupons, buy some products in bulk, watch for sales, and drive a get-out-of-debt car. We’ll splurge at times but we generally pay pretty close attention.
So how would you rate your level of frugality and what are some of the practices you engage to demonstrate this level? Do you make your own cleaning supplies, raise your own chickens, reuse coffee filters, or dumpster dive?? Comment below and share your persuasions with the rest of us.
Photo By: AlainaB.
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