Frugality is Not a Sacrifice

Today’s post touches on the concept of frugality and how it helps us invest money. Without frugality, much of our earnings would be akin to adding water to a bucket of holes. With frugality, we plug those holes and gain the capacity to expand our frontier. This is why the Distilled Dollar household believes that frugality is not a sacrifice but rather security.

The common misconception is that frugality is a form of austerity in which we deprive ourselves of the things that make us happy. The truth is, frugal people are happy too.

We derive happiness from relationships, connections, purpose, and not necessarily from possessions. That might just be us. We may enjoy the act of buying something, but we value investing that money.

Frugality is not a sacrifice. Frugality is the earning of our resources.

If saving is earning then frugality is the first step to investing our savings.

The definition of frugal is, “characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources.” Someone said to be economical is someone who makes, “careful, efficient, and prudent use of resources.”

Now that we got the definitions out of the way, we can see frugality is a means to optimize our money. We may also want to say time should be optimized.

Frugality is not a sacrifice. Frugality is a means to gain more Freedom.

If we take a moment to imagine life in reverse what might we see? If someone started living a frugal life today, saving 50% of their income, then they would be on pace to be financially independent in 17 years.

From this perspective, a 25 year old could avoid losing 23 years to an unsatisfactory career.

Frugality is not a sacrifice. Frugality is a fast track to becoming a millionaire.

More cash each month means more investments, which produce earnings, which further produce more earnings. But, let’s not forget that financial income is one of many currencies we have in our lives. Furthermore, we forget how far $10 can go today.

For $10 I can travel two hundred miles via bus or watch a month’s worth of high quality entertainment. For that same price I can even buy a book on Amazon and have it delivered to my doorstep! Truly, these are luxuries in the backdrop of civilization.

As part of my previous 90 Day Frugality Challenge where I read more covering Stoicism, I felt this quote from the wealthy Roman philosopher Seneca summed it up well, “It is not the man who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more.”

Do you link frugality with sacrifice?


10 comments… add one
  • Dividend Diplomats Apr 23, 2017, 9:09 am

    Distilled –

    Exactly. It is not a sacrifice, it is a tool to get further ahead in your life and maximizes the use of resources you have. Long we shall be frugal!


  • Your First Million Apr 23, 2017, 3:14 pm

    Could not agree with you more on this. I often tell people that there is a big difference in being frugal and being “cheap.” Frugality is simply having financial common sense… allowing for you to utilize your smart savings to be invested and make more money for you in the future. It is a simple law of money that for some reason many do not seem to grasp.

  • Mr. Grumby Apr 23, 2017, 6:19 pm

    The concept you outline here is a difficult one to get across to friends and family who are caught in the hamster wheel of consumption and spending. They give us some good-natured ribbing about frugality but question why we travel or do the things we want to do. The expectation seems to be that frugal Ty means deprivation, and any deviation from that paradigm is met with skepticism. Great post. I’ll pass it along.

  • Brad - Apr 24, 2017, 10:45 am

    Big AMEN to this. Everyone needs to wrap their head around a few key financial understandings. Frugality isn’t a sacrifice and budgeting isn’t restrictive (it merely aligns your spending with your priorities).

    Too many people assume the worst and have a negative outlook on personal finance topics.

  • Rachel Molder Apr 24, 2017, 6:58 pm

    Agree 100%! Wish I’d applied this lesson in my 20’s!

  • Mike Apr 25, 2017, 12:22 pm

    Matt, i agree…being frugal does not mean that you are cheap…it means that you are making a value judgement with purchases…saving money is empowering and should be embraced…take care, Mike

  • Ryan @ Just Another Dollar Apr 26, 2017, 11:54 am

    I absolutely agree that frugality is not a sacrifice. To me, being happy living within our means is freeing. Our long term goal is to finish paying off debt and reducing our monthly costs to the point where we can be free to take any job we want, regardless of pay. I find it incredibly frustrating when people ‘feel bad’ for us when we choose not to eat out frequently or buy the newest gadgets.

  • FindingMyFrugal May 16, 2017, 12:08 pm

    I could not agree more with your take on frugality. My wife and I made some pretty poor financial decisions when we were younger, but have been able to repair some of the damage we made early on simply by evaluating what was important to us and doing without the things that weren’t. This has actually enriched our lives, as we take great joy in paying down our debt, rather than making us feel deprived which “frugality” so often is mistakenly taken to mean. Great article!
    – Chris

  • Susan Wilson May 23, 2017, 10:51 pm

    I totally agree with all you say, and like some of your unique conclusions. The challenge is helping others to understand this. I guess our personal stories help people understand how it worked for us.

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