“Frugality is the balance we seek. Frugality is the Greek notion of the golden mean. Frugality is being efficient in harvesting happiness from the world you live in. Frugality is right-use (which sounds, appropriately, like “righteous”)—the wise stewarding of money, time, energy, space and possessions.”
Vicki Robin, Your Money or Your Life
On one extreme, someone spends money on buying new things constantly hoping it will make them happy.
On the other extreme, someone becomes a miser and is so cheap they never buy things so they can keep all the money to themselves.
To be frugal is not in the extreme.
Frugality lies somewhere in the middle.
The word “frugal” has a negative connotation for a lot of people. It seems like you have to pinch pennies and be cheap. A frugal person would show at thrift stories and never own anything nice, right?
Let’s redefine our understanding of what it means to be frugal. The book Your Money or Your Life does this best.
The authors write:
“To be frugal means to have a high joy-to-stuff ratio. If you get one unit of joy for each material possession, that’s frugal.”
If you enjoy nice things, then buy them and keep them. Take care of them.
As you become more frugal, however, you start to look for things to buy that you know will bring you joy or fulfillment rather than giving in to the never-ending desire for more stuff.
To be frugal is to find alignment with a desire for “enough.” A frugal person recognizes that more and more “stuff” won’t bring joy. So, they focus on the things that do bring them job and concentrate their time and energy there.