If you are among the 70,000 or so subscribers to the uber-successful "Get Rich Slowly" blog, you may recognize my title: it was the title of a post a few days back. I read the post, which quoted approvingly some other writer who opined that "frugality and education" were "necessary evils" for the early part of life. Eventually, I suppose, you move beyond the need for either frugality or education.
Even now, typing these words provokes a physical response: I feel like I'm having a heart attack! I kept returning to the post, meaning to write a response, but remained so upset that I could only produce a single sentence. While a fair number of people disagreed with the premise of the statement, a surprising number of people persist in thinking that frugality has to do with deprivation.
Au contraire. Frugality give you more of whatever you're after. It can be time, of course. But it can also be stuff.
Here is a real life example. A while ago, my daughter, at 18 in the frivolous accumulation stage of life, asked me to keep an eye out for her fave mascara. So I did. Here is a copy of the email I sent her, using the language of the crazed couponers: Wags has Maybelline on bogo. Do you want that mascara? To which: YESSSSSS. Brown and black.
So today I went to Walgreens (Wags) and got her two mascaras for the price of one (Buy One Get One). I spent around $7.00 for the two. For those who want two mascaras, here are the possibilities.
Profligate Person: Buy both for $14.00 on credit card. Pay minimum. Pay interest on mascara till paid off.
Normal Person: Buy both for $14.00. Whatever.
Frugal Person: Go to WAGS when they have a BOGO. Spend $7.00. Now you have $7.00 more.
Now, we can look at the options a Frugal Person has with the extra $7.00.
SAVER: Save the $7.00.
CRAZED MASCARA ACCUMULATOR: Buy another BOGO set, for a total of 4 mascaras.
CHARITABLE FRUGAL PERSON: Give the $7.00 to Habitat for Humanity.
FRIENDLY FRUGAL PERSON: Treat a pal to some coffee and a muffin.
SOCIABLE FRUGAL PERSON: Go out to lunch with a friend, Dutch treat.
NICE MAMA FRUGAL PERSON: Buy some cashews, also on sale, to give Miss Em as a treat.
Note that in all cases, the frugalista has MORE. So when people opine that frugality and education are necessary evils, to be endured when young, I must disagree. I think you'd be crazy NOT to be frugal.
So, what would you do with the $7.00???