There is such a thing as being too frugal

Disclaimer: This may not make total sense. I am still groggy from travelling and my brain is just not flowing the way it should but I think you’ll get the gist of my post once you read through the rambling.

Just reading all of these blogs at once after being away for a couple of days (my reader is at 1000+), compounds the following message into something totally intense and just makes me want to huff and sigh really loudly.

SAVE BY NOT SPENDING.

A STARBUCKS LATTE WON’T MAKE YOU HAPPY. MAKE ONE AT HOME FOR $1 INSTEAD!

STOP BUYING SHOES. SHOES WON’T MAKE YOU HAPPY.

WEAR YOUR HOLEY SHOES UNTIL THEY DIE TO SAVE YOUR SOUL FROM SPENDING ON MATERIAL GOODS.

You know what? I’m going to say it.

Honestly, I’ve said it time and time again, and I think there is such a thing as being too frugal.

Shoes DO make me happy. Buying a cute leather bag DOES make me happy. Drinking a Chai Latte makes me happy.

It doesn’t make me happy forever, that’s true. The lust for the bag wears off after about 5 months, but I still believe that every time I look at the bag and touch it, I get this warm tingly feeling of “oh she’s so soft and YELLOW!”

I still feel that way about a lot of my wardrobe. I remember when I bought it, with whom, how I felt and how much I paid.

It’s like a physical memento or reminder of how I felt at that exact moment.

Anyway, if we think about it, does anything really make you happy forever? Even the free stuff?

After it all wears off (the happiness), you just need another hit of it again. Like a drug.

Case in point: I saw my sister for 4 days.

I was super happy, super excited, had a GREAT time (even while powering through all of her tissue boxes in an attempt to stop the allergen-happy Niagara Falls from coming out of my nose due to her cute Bichon Frise.)

But now that I’m back, I’m still happy, but the happiness has worn off in the sense that I feel like my heart has been lifted and healed during the time I spent with her… but now I just kind of miss her and want to see her again and help her organize her apartment.

My random, blabbering point is that NOTHING lasts forever.

And there could be something said for “you cannot buy happiness”, but it cannot be the be-all and end-all.

I had to end up spending money to go see my sister, and it’s true, if I had spent the money on a bag or a new wardrobe I would not have been as happy.

But I gotta say, there must be something wrong in my brain because while I was out and with her, I was pretty darn happy buying that purse.

So who’s to say that it’s set in stone, that you cannot buy happiness? In what way do we mean it?

Should I stop seeing my sister because it always costs at least $400 just for the trip/transportation to see her?

Does it mean that I should stop spending money on travelling and seeing the world because I could just as easily rent a DVD and watch the journey of another person through Japan, eat some sushi on the couch and call it a vacation to Japan?

Should I stop buying all material goods because they don’t contribute to my quality of life (as per PF bloggers out there)? (but they totally do. I love my bag)

Should I give up everything and become a monk because it’s clear that the best things in life are free?

That all sounds inane to me, especially since my priorities are not about getting out of debt any longer.

If you deprive yourself of a small latte treat just because you think to yourself “oh this doesn’t contribute to my quality of life the way seeing my sister would”, it just sounds stupid.

As though you are able to rank that buying a coffee would be less important than seeing my sister, and even if you are able to afford it, you don’t because it doesn’t have as much of a happiness impact.

See, to me, it’s all about choices.

If I HAD to save money to buy the ticket to go back and see her, then I’d give up all the chai lattes in the world just to save the cash to do that.

But since I don’t, I won’t and I didn’t.

If I wanted a latte, and I am craving it, and I know it’ll make me happy, then obviously it contributes to my quality of life to be able to spend the $3 on it since I am NOT in debt and I set priorities.

I just don’t get it when people beat themselves up for spending $3 on a latte, when they can really afford it and most importantly —– THEY WANT IT.

Sure, maybe taking a free nap for a couple of hours instead of seeing a friend over $3 lattes would be cheaper, but that’s up to YOU to decide that it’s a better idea and that it enriches your life in doing so.

However, I am going to always pick my friend (lunch, dinner, coffee, whatever) rather than hole myself up in the bed and nap my time away thinking that it is what makes me happier in the long run because I ended up saving the $3 and could just call my friend on the phone for free instead.

Doesn’t that sound stupid to you? It does to me. Maybe I’m stupid then.

I also don’t eat out all the time. Quite rarely actually. But people think I do that to save money and truth be told, my drive for eating at home rather than eating out comes from the simple fact that BF makes better food at home, in a bigger quantity, and in higher quality.

It’s not because of money.

Our grocery budget is around $700/month for the 2 of us as a result, but if we spent $350 on groceries and $350 on eating out, it’d be the same thing in the end. We just choose to cook & spend it on eating well at home.

And we can always cut back. We just don’t want to.

But others will deprive themselves of being able to go out and enjoy themselves just because they feel bad having spent the cash, even though they could afford it and want to do it.

If it makes you happier to save the money, then save it.

But don’t do that stupid in-limbo thing where end up feeling bad and ruining the previously enjoyable experience of dining out just because of money you spent.

Spend it, enjoy it and be done with it.

I also don’t do the eco-friendly, minimalist schtick just to save money. It’s a nice bonus, but I do it for other reasons — to help the environment and because I’m a paranoid kind of person about untested chemicals for long-term human usage.

Plus, it helps with travelling. I have to bring less liquids and gels now.

And I feel like everyone is cutting back or depriving themselves JUST to save money and not for any other reasons, and they only see the negative in what they’re doing rather than the positive.

The worst is then these PF bloggers go and make other people feel AWFUL for what they consider to be “extra extravagances”, like being able to eat a breakfast out each day, or buying a latte in the mornings to start your day off.

*rolls eyes*

$5 a day is $150/month. If you can afford it, go for it. If not, then cut back to once a week. It’s simple.

Just set priorities.

This frugality thing is getting to be too crazy for words, y’all are crazy. πŸ™‚

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.