I think we forget to ask this question. It’s assumed that we do it to get out of debt or otherwise out of necessity. But that’s not always the case.
I was raised with a mom who knew frugal inside and out. We didn’t live in penury, but she taught me to be careful with money, to stock up on sales and to find cheap entertainment.
Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m also frugal out of necessity. We have credit card debt. Even after that’s gone, Tim and I will probably always have to be extra careful with our finances, to be sure we can survive.
Still, I cannot imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t be careful. Even if Tim I could both work full-time, could pull in “respectable” paychecks, I just can’t picture a life where money isn’t watched and planned around.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be a little more relaxed about it all. I’d probably buy more clothes, eat out a little more, and maybe even buy some books. But I cannot imagine a life where I thought standing credit card debt was acceptable, or where we consistently lived beyond our means.
As they say: Momma didn’t raise no fool.
Besides, I like the victory that comes from saving money. The smug victory of watching those coupons bring the total down by $20+, or seeing a movie without paying ludicrous prices for tickets.
And, when I have a child, I want to pass on the enjoyment of the smaller (or, at least, cheaper) things in life. I want my kid to be able to appreciate simple pleasures in life: to be happy going to the free day at the local museum, running around in the local park, marveling at the possibilities of the library.
What’s more, I want him to be free from this society’s belief that more is always better, that you have to have the latest thing (no matter the cost), and that the thrill of the purchase trumps all.
So, I suppose I’m frugal for all those reasons and more. I want to be able to enjoy life in all aspects — from the occasional indulgence to the freebies that abound. I don’t want to go numb to spending; I want to always feel the joy in simple experiences — not always be beholden to the latest gadget to find fulfillment.
What about you?