Why Frugality?

Lately I’ve been sharing some of the ways I try to be a frugal homemaker. Frugality is coming back in style now that the economy’s in bad shape again.

Yet I’ve heard criticism of frugality from some surprising sources, even from a few Christians who believe that being frugal ignores the reality that God is very generous to us, and that “there’s more where that came from,” so why try to make things last longer?

Most frugal people will tell you that while they do want to “stretch a buck,” being frugal is also something they do on principle. I guess my frugal streak comes from both principle and background:

I think being a good steward of your resources means letting nothing go to waste, if possible, and using what you have wisely instead of wasting it.

I’ve seen how hard my husband has worked all these years, and tried to make his pay last instead of spending it frivolously on things we didn’t need. Besides, six people living on one income is in itself a motivating factor!

I was raised by parents who grew up during the Depression. We weren’t poor, but we didn’t have any extra money lying around. I learned to maximize what I had and not to waste anything.

How about you? If you’re frugal, why? And if you’re opposed to frugality, why? I’d love to know how other people feel about it.

6 thoughts on “Why Frugality?

  1. Overall, I’m very frugal. With a husband who works at a church, and that being our only income, we have to be. I don’t have a lot of extra money to buy the perks that some of my friends do. That said, we manage to live very well, and really have no need of anything. God has surely blessed us! One of my kids asked me the other day about money or something and asked if we were poor because we didn’t have lots of money, which led to an interesting discussion on being ‘rich’ in other things, which are more important than having lots of money. Being frugal has also led me to learn new skills. I cut my own hair (and my kids), and have had to learn plumbing skills, pond making skills, floor-laying skills and furniture building skills. Really, even if we had tons of money, I still would probably live this way!

  2. I believe it means spending your money wisely and taking care of what you have. God does bless us. I heard God gives you things that in levels. If you can’t take care of what you have or gives you why would God give you any thing more? If you are being foolish you aren’t following God’s plan for you. More money doesn’t mean happiness. I get simple pleasures by making my own gifts, or growing a garden. A great use of talents that God gave us. Some people don’t know how to handle money. Look at the big wigs who are having money problems. Where did it get them?

  3. I’ve run across people who think that frugality means you aren’t using the gifts God has given you properly, that you are hoarding and trusting in your savings instead of in God’s gifts that He gives graciously. And that could be true. But it doesn’t excuse wastefulness either, does it?

    I agree with Katherine. I would be frugal even if financial necessity did not force frugality upon us. If we had lots more money, it would ease some stress, and we’d be a little freer to live a normal-frugal life instead of a super-tightwad-frugal life. But why be wasteful when you could use that extra money for missions or to help those who are even needier than we are?

  4. Hi Barbara,
    I’m very frugal by upbringing and by necessity. I have to say, that since several friends who previously never wanted for anything and have called me for money saving tips since their husbands lost their businesses, that I’m thankful for my frugal upbringing. It’s much easier to live ‘without’ all your life than to have to learn to after years of prosperity.
    I think those with the mindset you describe have never left the country…or at least seen true poverty.
    Thank you for your stand on this issue. It is refreshing. And of all things to be politically correct about…sigh!

  5. We’re big believers in living within our means. When I ask myself “WWJD?” I think of all His preaching about not putting stock in material things and how we should be generous towards others.

    I do think for SOME people, the pursuit of frugality can become an unhealthy obsession. To me, it’s just another form of materialism. God wants us to be good stewards of our resources, but not to the point where saving money is a higher priority than living the Gospel.

    I’m not talking about anyone here in particular, just that it can be a problem for certain individuals 🙂

  6. Thanks, everyone, for the thought-provoking comments. Like some of you, I’d be frugal no matter what. It’s almost like a game at times, getting great deals and seeing how well you can live without spending a fortune. And now that taxes will be going up, there’s an added incentive to stretch those dollars. The less income we need, the less tax we pay for things we don’t approve of.

    And of course, as Susan mentioned, the money you save by not wasting things can be shared with those in need. Win-win!

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