Being frugal is something that I have honestly been proud of for several years. It was not until recently when I did a bit of self evaluation that I realized that I was indeed not frugal. So what about you? Are you Intentional or Frugal?
There is nothing wrong with either answer. Being frugal, to me, means sacrificing a lot of things in life to have money in the bank instead of in material objects.
You may be frugal if:
- You shop only second hand or get hand-me-downs (even better)
- Only eat extremely cheap food (even if it is beans and rice every day)
- Do not buy frivolous things like dinner out or movies.
- Do not do fix anything unless it is broken (that pink bathroom will just continue being pink because it functions ? )
Being frugal allows someone to live on less income and save like crazy so that you will have possibly a better retirement, or send the kids to college, or both!
For a while, I was quite frugal. We were very budget conscious (still are), but we didn’t spend money on things we wanted. And we always bought either second hand or deeply discounted items. Great things can be accomplished when families are frugal. We saved enough to allow me 6 months maternity leave. Then, we saved for getting out of the military and Mr.Hubster going to school. A lot of hard work and self restraint is what made all of that possible.
So what does it mean to be intentional instead of frugal? You might be intentional if:
- You buy a few really nice items of clothing a year. The rest is second hand.
- You go out to a nice dinner with your mate to celebrate or just to hang out kid free.
- Going to the zoo, science center, or another form of amusement is budgeted because it is a sanity saver.
- You feed your family good, nutritious food because you believe that food is primary to wellness.
There are so many ways to be intentional about your spending. These are just a few examples. While being intentional, it is important to know that you budget for these items and you will not go broke while getting them. Also know that you may not save as much as a frugal person, but you may be happier than you could be if you were super strict with your budget. I am in no way saying that being frugal does not make one happy. Some people just need to let loose (on budget) every once in a while.
So, how did I come to this conclusion about myself?
As we moved into our townhome, we did quite a bit of updating. The place was not updated, not a happy place for me, and the carpet was 12 years old. Since we downsized a lot upon moving to Ohio, we decided that we wanted it to be a very happy space for us. I mean, who doesn’t want to be comfortable in their own home? So we painted, replaced the carpet, updated appliances, and put in new countertops and backsplash. It now feels so much more like home. And we stayed on budget!
But then I felt conflicted.
I blog about being frugal, which I do truly believe is a good way to manage money, but I make some nicer and bigger purchases. So, I had to ask myself “WHY?”. Why do I make these purchases? I make them to make myself feel comfortable (either in my home or my clothes). It is important that I make an impact while voting with my dollars. This is why ethical clothing is such a win for me. Also because my health and the health of my family is dependent upon these purchases (such as natural foods and cleaning agents, supplements, and essential oils).
I believe that these purchases are good for myself and my family. They are completed with intentionality. So, I decided that I needed to stop calling myself frugal for the first time in years.
My hope is that I can guide others (i.e. you!) to living a life on purpose, an intentional life.
“An intentional life can mean a vacation AND saving, eating healthy foods AND staying on budget.”
One thing that I like to do is grade items based on how important they are to me and my family. Natural cleaners are super important so I give it a 7. I can make natural cleaners too, so that assist with keeping that cost down. Giving my animals good food to eat is about a 4-5, so they get good food, but it is not specialty food. Ethical clothing is of really high importance, so I give it an 8. I would say things like safety and your dwelling will earn the score of a 10. Also, grade a purchase prior to making it. How bad do you want it on a scale of 1-10?
Again, let me say that being frugal is okay too! Save money where you can. The more money you save, the more you will have to put away. And the cost of those nicer items will balance out with the lower ticket items if you are careful. Just be intentional with those nicer items:)
So, how about you, are you intentional or frugal? What is one thing that you will not sacrifice for savings? I would love to know.