11 April 2010

On Being Frugal

I've been thinking a lot lately about money - the purpose of money, how I view money, how much to save, where to scrimp and where to splurge.

A few weeks ago, Grandma L. mentioned to Eric and and I that she and Grandpa had come into a bit of money that they weren't expecting. They asked Eric's cousin (who is a financial adviser of some kind) how to invest it, and he said, "Grandma, you're both in your eighties. You should spend it!"

Eric and I had a good laugh when Grandma told us this story. We were amused by Eric's cousin's candid statement, and we were amused at Grandma's reaction. (Her question went from asking how to invest it to advice on how to spend it.)

I have said time and time again that I want to be like Grandma L. when I grow up, and this is yet another reason why. They were never especially wealthy, but they were extremely frugal. They saved their money so well that they are able to live nicely in retirement and enjoy their money in their old age. Eric's dad always says that he was practically raised in the depression, but that frugal lifestyle is exactly what has made it possible for Grandpa and Grandma to be more than financially sound into their retirement. And it's not like they were so frugal that the kids wore rags on their feet! They went on family vacations, and I'm sure, had a reasonable amount of comfort in their home.

And so, my personal money philosophy - Save for the future. Being frugal does not mean saying no to everything. It means choosing which things are worth splurging and which things are better for saving. This varies a lot from person to person, which is why I guess money is a big problem in a lot of marriages. (I, personally, feel really grateful that Eric and I see eye to eye on money and on which things are worth our hard-earned cash and which are not.) If all of your frugality is simply to have a massive amount of cash when you are dead, then what is the point? Save enough to maintain the lifestyle that you want while you are in retirement, and enjoy the rest.


Steven said...

I think the BIGGEST waste of money is made on eating out. I have co-workers who eat out 3-5 days a week & then complain about not having money. I have friends who eat out at night 3-5 nights a week, and they have weight issues. Rhonda & I have a 1 night a week rule. She gets our food from WHOLE FOODS. That place is great! They have pre-made gourmet fresh meals for $10. That is less than what we would spen on any fastfood & healthier. In addition there is enough for me to take to lunch.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Uh, Sherry. New color scheme = bad. The writing is black on dark gray. . . maybe I'm having browser trouble?