How to be frugal and have fun – is it possible? Is it right? Is it the same as meanness?
My brother in law (also called Ian like me) went to buy an expensive vacuum cleaner for my sister. He went through his usual routine of finding a good bargain, then starting to bargain. If the vendor won’t bargain, Ian walks out. Once the price has come down as far as the vendor likes, Ian asks “Is that the best price that you can offer me?”
If the price doesn’t come down any further when Ian offers to walk out again, he looks for something else that’s cheap.
“OK,” said Ian, “I like the look of that hair-dryer. I would be prepared to pay that price for the vacuum cleaner if you throw in the hair-dryer for free.”
“Done!” exclaimed the vendor, and both of them were happy. You see, a hair-dryer selling for $50 probably cost the shop $2 from China. So my sister got a useful hair-dryer for free, and the vendor was happy to add an extra $2 discount.
It’s Not Meanness
Enemies of the Scots call them the meanest people on earth. But Scots have a very strong tradition of hospitality. Other Scots still hate the Campbells because of the Massacre of Glencoe several hundred years ago. Massacres were common in these days, so why was everyone shocked? The Campbells accepted hospitality for the night, then rose from their beds and killed their hosts. That was an unpardonable breach of hospitality.
Frugality is not being a tightwad. As far as I’m concerned, the meanness definition refers to the excessive fear of spending money. A truly mean person will be found dead of the cold because he wouldn’t spend enough to buy some blankets. A truly mean person with pockets that jingle won’t consider helping others. He can’t understand how to be frugal and have fun.
Being frugal means that you have more money to help others and you don’t have to work as hard to keep up with the Joneses.
The difference in normal frugal meaning and meanness is that you can enjoy a great frugal lifestyle and have fun. Well, Ian enjoyed his bargaining, didn’t he? Frugal living is great!
Mathematics of Living Cheaply
I don’t want to confuse you by using Higher Mathematics to explain things. OK – I admit it – I can’t do higher mathematics. But most children could answer this question correctly.
“If everything in a shop costs a dollar, and another shop is selling the same things for $4, would you get four times as much in the $4 shop?”
The banks say that the way to happiness is to own more. To get more, and be happier, you have to borrow from the banks.
Interest rates and bank fees mean that you pay up to four times as much when you pay with borrowed money.
Maths Problem: Are you truly getting four times as much when you pay with borrowed money?
My Thrifty Definition
A frugal or thrifty person will aim to get the very best value for money, preferably with a win-win situation, so don’t rob a bank. So now you know how to be frugal and have fun.
Set priorities and don’t buy anything that you don’t consider to be good value for money. Don’t buy ANYTHING because it is expected of you. Tell all your friends that you will no longer send Christmas cards. When they see how much you will save, you’ll start a trend!
Set a high value on your time. What would you most like to do with your time?
Would you like to travel USA for $20 per day?