In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some common assumptions about frugal people and hopefully set the record straight!
I hate the word frugal! It conjures up a whole host of negative words to most people and really gives frugal people a bad reputation – especially when you consider that the stereotype of a frugal person is actually pretty far from what the reality is.
Frugal people are cheap
If you google ‘frugal people’ then you’ll find images of people counting their money, wearing layers of clothes and locking up their wallets and piggy banks which does make me a bit sad. It fits in with the frugal stereotype of someone who would rather sit shivering in a cold room than turn the heating on and whilst it’s never a bad idea to put a pair of socks and an extra jumper on before turning on your heating, most frugal people that I know would just put the heating on.
Being frugal in this scenario to me would mean that I’m confident I have the best deal possible for my energy, I heat the house sensibly so it’s warm in the morning and the evening and I keep the thermostat at 18 c rather than the 20 c that I used to have it set at as I know that every 1 c lower on the thermostat reduces my bills by around £80 a year so I made the decision to reduce it. That’s how I’m frugal with my heating – none of that means sitting in the cold or thinking about it all the time but all of it means that my energy bill is lower than someone who doesn’t do the above.
Is that cheap or just sensible?
Frugal People are frugal because they have to be
Not everyone is frugal because they have to be! That might be why a lot of people start off their frugal journey but somewhere along the line, it becomes a habit.
I started to change my mindset when I wanted to be able to afford to reduce my hours at work to part-time so I could spend more time with them when they were younger. I wanted to be able to pick them up from school every day and spend as much quality time as possible with them but that meant a reduction to my pay of over 25% which felt impossible at the time.
A few tweaks to our spending habits, a complete overhaul of our budget which involved revisiting every single regular payment and making sure it was (a) necessary and (b) the best price we could get. Add in meal planning and the discovery of sites like TopCashBack and it suddenly began to feel possible.
I considered my purchases more and started to change my overall mindset about money and was able to reduce my hours and enjoy so much more of the kids growing up which was the best thing I ever did as a parent.
These days though, I have a better job and have more disposable income so I do have money left over each month. Does that mean I’m not going to meal plan and will spend more money on my food shopping each week? Does it mean, I no longer want to earn cash back on something I’m buying for the sake of 10 seconds extra? Or that I’m not going to shop about when my car insurance is due? Of course it doesn’t!
I want to make the most of the money that I do have and not doing something I know will make or save me some money feels silly to me. I’m frugal now because I know how much money it saves me and because it’s a habit now so I don’t even think about most things that I do.
Frugal People have no money
One of the most common assumptions about frugal people is that they don’t have any money which is absolutely incorrect! I mean, lots of frugal people are frugal because they need to be but as I said above, lots are frugal because they want to make the most of their money and they don’t want to waste it.
If your car insurance is due for renewal the same time as mine but I shop about and find a policy that saves me £30 with £40 cashback on top for going through TopCashBack then I’m £70 better off than you are for about 15 minutes work.
If we both come in late after a long day at work and you realise you have to feed the family but have no energy to cook, you might pick up a takeaway menu and order tea for everyone but I have a batch cooked lasagne in the freezer that I can just pop in the oven. You’ve spent £20 plus on a takeaway and I’ve just served up a lovely lasagne from my freezer in the same time it took your pizza to be delivered.
Frugal People don’t have nice things
Wrong again. I had a proper little smile to myself the other day when I was having a wander around the charity shops as I was wearing my Micheal Kors winter jacket (bought from TK Maxx in the sale for about 40% of the RRP), with my Burberry scarf keeping me warm (bought pre-loved for a ridiculously low price) and my Mulberry handbag (bought as a treat in the 50% off sale after working a LOT of overtime throughout the six months of COVID). All lovely things that I could only justify because of the bargains I got and the way I save money every month with living frugally in other areas of my life.
My Burberry scarf, for example, was something I wanted for a couple of years but I didn’t want to pay full price for one so I did my research and realised that they do cashmere scarves but also woollen ones in the same design that I wanted. I then set up searches on sites like eBay and Vestiaire so I would get a notification when one was listed. I discounted lots over the year or so I had the searches set up for one reason or another but then I got the notification of this one which was a reasonable price for the cheaper woollen version in the design I wanted. I put in a cheeky offer and it was accepted so I was over the moon to finally have my scarf – also, in case you’re wondering Vestiaire do authentication checks before they send it out so I know it’s genuine.
So if this one of your assumptions about frugal people then I promise it’s not true and rather than say that frugal people don’t have nice things, I’d say that we’re maybe just a bit more aware of the value of things and we’re happy to wait to get a good deal. We definitely have nice things. 😍
Frugal People always buy the cheapest products
Absolutely not! The cheapest product would be my first choice if, and only if, I was confident that it would last well and do exactly what I needed it to do.
I always make sure that I read reviews and research products before I buy them and the cheapest may not have the best reviews or give me all the functionality that I want so that won’t be the one I buy. There’s no point buying a cheaper product that will need replacing more often or not do everything I need it to so I’d rather spend a bit more buying the best product for me.
My Instant Pot is a good example here as I could have absolutely bought a more generic model or a smaller one but I went for the one with all of the great reviews that had all the features I needed and more. It did cost more than some other models but I did wait a couple of weeks until Black Friday so I got a great deal.
Frugal People are boring and don’t do stuff
Hmmm. I definitely don’t agree on this one either although the last couple of years probably aren’t the best example of me doing things but if you don’t count them then I live a wild lifestyle. 😂 And by wild, I mean I do go out every now and then with the girls for cocktails, I have the odd spa day with friends and I love to travel so I generally have at least one trip planned.
So there’s my thoughts on the most common assumptions about frugal people – have I missed any?
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