27 Feb 2013 4 Comments
Most of the time, we judge others’ financial habits by what we can see from the outside — the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, and the things they buy. But we fail to realize and never compare what they spend as it relates to what they can actually afford and how they balance it to their present and future needs.
I have to admit, I have gotten some criticisms from some people (though it’s really none of their business) on how they think my husband and I are frivolous with money by buying an $800+ stroller and buying items that costs more than the average.
In all honesty, I actually consider ourselves frugal. We splurge on things that will last us a long time. I know it seems contradictory but I would rather spend my money buying good quality merchandise once or twice in a lifetime instead of buying many cheaper versions over and over again. In the long run, more money is actually spent. Besides, we don’t mind splurging on things that we would totally use and would make our lives easier and at times, happier! Though we buy the nicer things, we look for the best deals possible, while also putting value into the equation and don’t scrimp on the most important things such as retirement, college for our kids and health care for our family.
I think being frugal is just knowing how to manage your money in a smarter, more productive way so you are able to live a life that you want to live. It means being creative when it comes to shopping to get the most out of your hard-earned money. Living frugally is finding opportunities to save money and utilizing them. With such a mindset, you’ll realize that it’s necessary to spend money, and that there are wise ways to do so.
When we want to buy something, we tend to think about it, discuss it and do research. We sleep on it. Then, we do more research. So for that nice, sturdy stroller we have – we didn’t pay retail for it. We shopped around and purchased it at the best price we could find.
Being frugal isn’t about depriving yourself of the things you enjoy. It’s about spending where your heart is. It is all about setting priorities and making smart decisions so that you can still have nice things and go on family vacation without burying yourself in credit card debt. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that you should be giving into every indulgence that you want. It is important to practice moderation, so that you have control of your finances. To make a point, we may have an expensive stroller but we only get the news channels from our basic cable at home. Instead of a regular home telephone, we have a VOIP telephone that cost $3.50 a month (that we would definitely get rid of if my parents weren’t using it so much to keep in touch with their friends). My husband and I bring lunch to work 95% of the time. Though we love coffee, we don’t go to Starbucks daily but we brew coffee at home everyday. My husband cuts his own hair and I do my own nails rather than going to a nail salon. We clip coupons and we don’t mind buying some used items (like certain furniture) on Craigslist. Those are just a few of the many little things we do to save money. They aren’t huge sacrifices but they’re cheaper. We prioritize how we spend our money, eliminating the things we feel we can do without in order to save money, and then use that money for things that matter more to us, in this case, little pleasures that make life more fun.
So it’s really interesting how some people just look at the things our family buys and vacations we take and decide that we’re living in a life of luxury. But can you really tell at a glance just how someone lives their life without seeing the whole picture or actually walking in their shoes? I’m not telling you this because I feel I need to justify myself but to tell you that it is not wise to judge people by the things they own or places they go to. Sometimes when we don’t have all of the information, it is easy to jump to conclusions about people that simply aren’t true.
Please don’t ridicule me for buying an expensive stroller because I didn’t want the added stress every time a cheaper stroller tips over while my kids are having a meltdown. Don’t judge me for carrying a Gucci purse because I got a great discount on it not to mention that I worked hard for it. Life is short, and I believe it’s important to do and accomplish the things that make us happy while we can enjoy it as much as possible. With that said, I encourage you think and realize that each family have certain things that they see as necessary even if the rest of society would disagree. Each and every family have different priorities so let’s just spend smart, live frugally and live a happy life with our families.