I hate the word FRUGAL

I am so sick of the word frugal sometimes because people either hate it because they think it means ‘cheap as hell’ or love it so much they go mad and shred tissue boxes to line their beds and jackets with to keep warm in the winter.

I want to come up with a new word.

Intelligality or something to that effect, to mean making smart choices for the priorities you have in life.

This new, revolutionary word will tell you to just be RATIONAL about what you buy.

(Maybe a phrase like Rational Splurgist? Planning Splurgist?)

See, this word (or phrase), will cover the idea of these two basic points:

Not giving up what you love just to save money because you have made priorities

Love lattes? Buy the super large one every day if you want.

(By the way, I also really hate how we use Lattes for every example, coining the term ‘Latte Factor’, but it’s just so easy to relate to since coffee is such a staple. Maybe we need to change that to “Shoe Factor”, or “Necklace factor”)

Heck, buy two!

Why bother making it at home unless you want to when they do it better at your local coffee shop, and it saves you time?

(I would however like to encourage you to bring a re-usable container because it saves on waste, and keeps your coffee hotter, longer.)

But if you drink a latte every day, you can’t also go to the movies every weekend, buy new clothes online every time there’s a sale or go on a luxurious vacation every year.

Well, I stand corrected. Technically, you can do whatever the hell you want.

But if you don’t have the budget for it, aren’t saving any income, and are in debt, then you need to make a choice.

  • Latte or Extra-fun Cable TV channels?
  • Lattes or Shopping at sales once a month?

Figure out what you love, and spend money on what brings you the most happiness. If it’s buying a pair of Louboutins every month, why not?

But make sure you can afford it while being financially smart about your future.

That reminds me.

One lovely reader from Europe told me that she loved Starbucks and couldn’t imagine her day without it. But she’s not into the idea of having a huge home or lots of things, and that’s her tradeoff.

She doesn’t spend money on furnishings or on square footage she doesn’t need, and she takes pleasure in the daily latte she drinks because it’s a good start to her day.

And not being cheap on what you love just to save a buck.

And when you DO buy something you want like an MP3 player, buy the one that you want, instead of beating yourself up over it and buying the 50% cheaper No-Name MP3 player that doesn’t make you as happy.

And if you’ve saved up for it, and can pay it without using plastic and getting into more debt, why not?

Why the hell would you want to feel bad about hemming and hawing over the $100 you spent for an Apple product?

Just buy the damn thing, and love it instead of looking at your No-Namer as a cheap substitute for what you really wanted.

Envy will just eat you up, and besides, it’s just money and you’ve saved for it. It was a planned purchase.

That, in a nutshell is what “frugal” means, but it’s clearly a word with bad connotations and makes people roll their eyes at me because they think I’m going to get mad at them for buying a daily latte.

So what’s my vice? Electronics.

I want the Palm-Pre.

I pet laptops when I see them.

I want a mini video camcorder.

I want a new digital camera to replace the one I have.

I want an iPod Nano in blue for my future car.

I could gush about hard drives all day long.

I want the super thin, sexy red notebook by Vivienne Tam to travel with, if only the specs were better

But I’m not buying all of these things at once because I don’t want to throw down $3000 without thinking about my choices with three things in mind:

  1. Rationally (Do I need that now or can it wait?)
  2. Emotionally (Is it the design/prettiness I wanted? And do I really want it?)
  3. Financially (Can I afford it?)

(Hey that spells REF, ERF or FER… maybe we can make up a word out of that)

Instead I am spending my time researching and making choices about what I should buy next, thinking about the WHY and WHEN it’ll makes sense.

And that day may never come, especially for that sexy Vivienne Tam red notebook, but that’s okay.

I’m making a choice between buying an expensive but very pretty notebook, and buying a Garmin GPS instead because it’s more sensible and useful.

Other vices in case you care: Food, Necklaces, Purses, Jackets


Saw the Vivienne Tam Netbook in person and was not impressed. The red was not the shade of red I had imagined, and the design wasn’t as cool as I had expected.. and for the jump in the price tag, it was DEFINITELY overpriced.

Disappointed FB.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.