Frugal is More than a Way to Spend Money, Part 1
I don’t know what you think of when you think of “frugal,” but I think of my parents. They are undeniably, definitively frugal, and they always have been. It’s how they were raised. So, when I think of “frugal,” I think about how they spent their money. I think about the black and white TV we had until I was 12 (that was 1991 or 1992) and the Chevy from the ‘60s that my dad drove (without air conditioning and with vinyl seats) until I was 5 years old. I think about feeling like everyone else had cool stuff and I didn’t, and being afraid of what people would say if I invited them over and we didn’t even have a VCR.
As I become an adult myself, I find that the choices aren’t as easy as they seemed when I was younger. If I have several hundred extra dollars, should I buy a Wii (very cool, by the way, and that’s from a GIRL), put it towards my student loans, or invest it somewhere else? It’s answering these questions that has led me to believe that frugality is a mindset that, while it will influence how I spend money, does not dictate living in the Stone Age.
Here's the part where I actually get to my point: Frugality is first and foremost about goals and priorities. When I think about how wonderful it would be to pay off my student loans, it makes it much easier to choose regular coffee over a latte. When I think about the travelling I'll be able to do when my fiance and I are totally debt-free, or how awesome it will feel when we can buy our first home, passing on buying that third pair of boots is automatic. It's the priorities, the long-term goals and desires that drive me when I choose not to buy good things that I like, not any traditional idea of what I "should" be doing with my money.