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Frugality is NOT Deprivation

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip

Since I do a lot of media interviews talking about frugality in general and frugal fun in particular, I get asked some off-the-wall questions. And one thing I've noticed: a number of reporters just don't "get it" that you can have a fabulous quality of life and it doesn't have to cost much.

They think frugality means sitting in a cold, dark house, cutting rubber bands in half to make more rubber bands and washing out filthy, greasy plastic bags.

I explain that while I see value in frugality, I'm much more interested in saving their listeners or readers $500 to $1000 on their next fabulous vacation than I am in saving them a tenth of a cent by doubling the size of their rubber band collection (hey--I seem to get all I need from buying broccoli anyway!)

What I say over and over again is that frugality is not deprivation. Not only don't I feel deprived, but my frugal lifestyle allows me to travel more, to see more live entertainment, to enjoy better quality food both in my own home and on the road, to enjoy the pleasures of elegant artwork and fine craft items; it's just that I've learned how to do all these things without spending much (or sometimes, any) money.

People who are frugal are often saving for some large goal: a house, a college education, a trip around the world. If they start resenting the savings, they'll stop saving. But if they learn not only to save for their goals, but to have a great deal of fun doing it, they're way ahead of the game.

And yes, the "pleasure of the hunt"--finding a real bargain--is part of the fun. But the other fun is the memories of the fabulous vacation, the exquisite sound of the concert where you got in free while others had to pay, the gourmet spread that cost you 1/5 of what the person at the next table paid (and was just as satisfying).

Next month, we'll get back into specific advice (and if you can't wait that long, please visit the archives at http://www.frugalfun.com/frugalfuntips.html); thanks for allowing me to wax philosophical for this new year.

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