Realizing The Frugal Monster You Have Become!

Frugal MonsterFor the last few years I have not had a whole lot of cash to play with. Much of this was due to an overwhelming debt which is now under control via a debt management plan and the fact that I have not been earning a high monthly wage. However during this period I have lived in 3 countries and done many wonderful things, not lavishly but I have done things and I owe all of this to the frugal nature that I have acquired.

I wasn’t always a frugal being. When I was back in London (my home town) earning a high wage I would always blow it on the weekends and expensive items (By the way this is not how I got in debt, read my post Me My Debt And I for info on this). Now days I really have to think before hitting the town or buying the newest iWhatever…. But I would 100% say I am happier now. I live on far less, so I need far less. Needing less to live on greatly reduces general stress and expectation of money. Sure I would like more money but it’s not the most essential thing….. This I guess is why I am and what makes me Frugal.

Over the past few weeks we have had a guest visiting us in Sunny Cairo. My partner has been slaving away at University so the guest and I have been out and about doing touristic things and normal life duties as well. Her spending habits are what I would classify as normal in USA so having a normal spender with me has made me realise a lot of things…

I have become a tightwad!

I stand in the supermarket working out the price per gram of cheese to see which feta is cheaper, I argue with taxi drivers over 5LE ($0.85) and generally just monitor every situation when it involves money leaving my possession.

I asked my guest “I am being tight?” and she replied “No, you are just a very very frugal person!”.

My first reaction was a little negative, I felt attacked but when I sat down to think about it I realised it’s probably a good thing and to coming over as frugal or tight isn’t the end of the world if it helps me in my overall life.

To the normal spending folks us frugal minded types seem a little extreme, I mean who cares about a $0.10 difference in cheese? Is such a decision worth the 45seconds it takes to work out?

In our frugal bubble we all make sense to each other. When Jeff showed us how to practically get free Gillette Fushion Razors that seemed great to me, to others it would just seem a tad extreme. Many of us frugal bloggers talk about how we scrimp and save and we rejoice in the fact that we spend less money even if it does take a lot of our time. Some excellent recent examples from other include the articles How To Become A Coupon King (or Queen)Buying Used Clothing For Kids and Cheap Meals: Dine for Less.

The internet has created many monsters but the strong frugal beast is nothing but good in my mind. I struggle with money at times and work hard to live well on my budget. Without the frugal and personal finance community online I probably would have my frugal ways beaten out of me by the normal folks. In fact I would have probably resorted to getting even more in debt!!!

To others we may seem like odd creatures, obsessively humped over our computers crawling for deals, banging numbers into our calculator and hoarding our wallet like it’s our “Precious” but I am proud of my frugality and I think you should be too…. “I Am Not A Monster” :) (Now which movie did that come from?).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter and if you have had any attacks against your frugality and money saving ways from the “normal” people.

27 thoughts on “Realizing The Frugal Monster You Have Become!”

  1. Hey Forest! It ebbs and flows for me. I get really frugal, then I go out and blow $1,800 on two round trip tickets last minute to Hawaii with my lady!

    I’m working on balance. It’s kinda like eating. If you don’t eat, you tend to overeat on that one meal and then ruin it all. Better to eat a little by little all day.

    Love that Yakezie Network widget! Is it a widget I can just copy and paste into a PHP or TXT widget? I think it’s in the groups section yeah? I’m terrible with technology.

    Cheers, Sam
    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Best Financial Advice I’ve Ever Heard From A Comedian =-.

    1. Hi Sam,

      I think in many ways it pays to be frugal so that when the chance to go to Hawaii pops up you can do it guilt free and without strain to your finances. If you save on the little things that don’t matter throught your year then the odd weekend away or un-frugal event are well deserved.

      Your analogy is perfect though! I definitely over eat at lunch if I forget to grab breakfast (happened today).

      The widget needs the code just cleaned up and then i’ll get it uploaded with install instructions to the group… Been slow on this as have been busy with some client work, sorry…. will get my act together so we can all use it :)

    1. Thanks :)…. hmm not sure about the comments thing, will look around in my settings and see if I left something unchecked!

  2. It’ll be interesting to see how I handle my fairly new habit of questioning every purchase when we start traveling more again. Usually when traveling (especially with children) you’re opting more for ease and comfort even if it means paying a little more.

    I just don’t want to ever reach the point where I am sacrificing life enjoyment in favor of frugality. Like everything, it’s about moderation and balance.

    That photo’s freaking me out, by the way. Was the quote from that movie?
    .-= Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black´s last blog ..Hallelujah! PTL! We have renters for our house in Vegas! Woo-Hoo! =-.

    1. I agree on the affecting your life bits…. Sometimes you do just have to take some hits to not ruin a night or a day out…. I tend to be very frugal but un-tighten my belt if on holiday or out for a birthday or something.

      The “Precious” mention was related to lord of the rings but the quote about not being a monster is from The Elephant Man, I think! I may have to be corrected on that!!!

  3. GREAT picture to go with your post! Love it!

    Some people do take frugality to an extreme (you always read about the hermit that had millions and he left it all to a major university or other charity in a will). But I don’t think us frugal bloggers quite fit in that category. We are clever and are not easily taken advantage of… In fact quite the opposite! We take advantage of opportunities that are available to us!

    I view being frugal as a way to enable me to live a richer life. I’m actively saving my pennies to live off of the interest they provide. I think the end result should be financial independence or at very least stability!

    It’s all about balance!

    And yes, the “I am not a monster” is from the Elephant Man, but hey, it’s all good!!! :)
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..What I Have Learned To Date From Blogging! =-.

    1. He he, Thanks :), it’s probably copyrighted so i hope they won’t bug me to take it down.

      No we are definitely not monsters but I do find it strange when less than frugal friends and family treat us strange for caring about what we spend….

      I agree my life is so much richer since I took a more frugal approach. One thing is I work under less pressure these days and although it earns me less money I just have have a generally more relaxed life… Living frugally allows me this luxury….

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. I agree with Sam and Jolyn that it’s all about balance. I’ve become so frugal over the past few years, but I’ve made it into a game. I challenge myself to see how far I can stretch our dollars. And that allows us to spend in other areas like travel or an occasional nice dinner out.

    Either way though, it’s about being content with what you have and loving your life and it sounds like you are doing just that.

    1. A frugal game is perfect…. As for dinner out, that is my Achilles heal… Saving in other areas allows me the odd meal out at a nice place…. I am slowly trying to cover as many restaurants as I can in Cairo…. Also travel has eaten a fair bit of cash over the years and I have some more coming up in the next few weeks with a friend arriving.

      Thanks for stopping by as always :)

  5. I think for a long while it was a bragging point to be able to spend freely. Then came the great recession and slowly people have taken to frugality more. Still, our spending ways have left a stigma in us as a country that maybe something is wrong if we have to worry about every expense. This wasn’t the case in our grandparents time. Making ends meet was important and something to be proud of.

    You have to figure out what is valuable to you. No, I don’t watch every penny, but I try to make good decisions most of the time and if I can save then that’s what I do. Is .10 important? In itself, no. But add up all that change and suddenly you have dollars, then tens of dollars, and so on.

    Its about a mindset. When you start to let the little amounts go, eventually the big amounts aren’t watched either. Let’s face it, what is $100? Will it really destroy you to spend? But if your attitude is open to spend it adds up quickly.

    I like to look at it this way – by watching what I spend, and being frugal and maybe even cheap at times, I get to save up and spend when it really means something to me and my family.

    1. Being frugal definitely links in with “being poor” and people are embarrassed to e so … However you tend to find many frugal people are the ones with least debt and although they have less nice things they are richer with a less stressful life.

      We do need to change that and I am encouraged by many many awesome Frugal and PF bloggers.

  6. I think the biggest benefit from being frugal is the reduction in stress. Right now I am working on cleaming up 35 years of accumulated junk. Things I thought were of value at the time now just clutter my life.

    Wish. I had learned frugality earlier.

    1. Hey Joe, at least you will be able to take a deep breath and enjoy the freedom once it’s all gone… I really believe less stuff = far less stress. Thanks for your comment as always.

  7. Forest, I’m frugal so that I can spend what little money I have on the things I want – like guitar strings, fresh food or a visit with my daughter. Being green is perhaps the side effect.

    I unfortunately don’t always discipline myself to budget perfectly and still have school and “divorce” loans to pay off.

    The more I stretch my dollar, the more creative I want to get.

    Keep going. That monster in you is kinda good. Besides, if people want to throw their money away so they can work twice as many hours…it is perhaps them that should look at their lives and not put you under a microscope.

    Secretly, I think many of my friends admire my “resourceful” attitude.

    1. Hey Stephen, I would say I am pretty much the same as you…. I do have debts and do find myself saving on the little things to spend on the things I want…. I also want to work less hours and don’t particularly want a whole lot of cash… I don’t dream of being a millionaire…

      It is a big cuddly good monster :)

      I have been umming and arring over grabbing a cheap guitar for about a month now…. maybe next month :) (My guitar lives in England with my Mum right now :( ).

  8. At least your friend called you “frugal!” I get called “cheap” or “a tightwad” by my family. But I’ve learned to just accept it. I may be cheap, but they’re drowning in credit card debt while I’m CC debt free! I don’t have to worry about getting so low on funds that I may not make it to my next paycheck because I have money (though not as much right now) set aside for emergencies and because I really only spend money on necessities so I don’t go over my check.

    I’ve learned that “cheap,” “frugal,” “tightwad,” to “normal people” are really just synonyms for “someone who is conscious of where his money is going.” I don’t hand over my money freely because I’m conscious of how much I’m spending, because I know that if I go out for an expensive dinner that’s $40 that isn’t going to my student loan debt. If that makes me “cheap,” I wear the title as a badge of honor! :)
    .-= Red´s last blog ..Running to my wedding =-.

    1. ha ha, I get cheap too at times.

      Sadly I have CC debt due to some bad lending decisions to lose people…. But its controlled now and is being paid off through a debt management plan.

      You sound like you have things well under control and I respect that a lot, sod what the ohers say, we are frugal and happy :)

  9. Fellow cheapskate here. All my co-workers reminded me daily until I quit my job and started several businesses. Now I am the one laughing all the way to the bank. Here’s to fellow tightwads.
    .-= Dougster77´s last blog .. =-.

  10. I’m a bit like Samurai…. really frugal about 99% of the time then I buy something that’s bigger… like a keyboard, or computer, or dslr for a project or new business idea.

    I usually tell people that working towards larger dreams is why I save a lot of my money and they respect that especially when I tell them my dreams are to shark dive and own a piano bar!

    How to you justify it to people when they ask?
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Three of the Best Blog Posts You’ll Ever Read =-.

    1. I can be like that too but am trying hard not to be right now as have no emergency savings… So that is priority.

      Wow a piano bar and shark diving, they are awesome aims to head for!

    2. Oh when people ask about my frugality, I don’t justify it, I just say I don’t have much money…. which is true right now.

    3. If you don’t mind me budding in… XD

      If I were to justify frugality, I would probably respond with something along the lines of ‘the rich buy luxuries last.’ And while cutting back on expenses is one thing, I think one of the most important elements to having solid income is to make sure you’re buying assets that produce passive income.

      I consider frugality to be a means to that particular end. Frugality however, can only go so far, but for real wealth to take place, one has to eventually break that rut of active self employment or by being an employee. Those two can teach you a lot, but being part of it is the anti-thesis to financial independence.

      1. Hey Aury, sure I don’t mind, in fact I love comments of any kind :).

        I am self employed and don’t earn a whole lot of cash but feel wealthy in other ways…. To me wealth is far more than just money.

        However of course I want to be financially secure too and as you say, the rich buy luxuries last…. frugality helps you reach financial comfort.

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