Is Being Frugal Always Being Different?

Posted by Mrs Money on January 28th, 2010

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Goa - Anjuna Hippie Markt
Creative Commons License photo credit: KlausNahr

Last weekend I spent time at my best friend’s house, celebrating her daughter’s third birthday. It’s always funny- every time I’m away from home I realize just how differently Mr. Money and I live our lives.  I was helping my friend clean the house and noticed how all the cleaning products she used were commercial,  the laundry detergent was store bought, and she used her dryer to dry clothes.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of that because it works for her, and that’s all that matters.

I just couldn’t help but feel how different our lives were.  It’s really cool when I can share my frugality and greenness with people and they don’t make fun of me. A lot of the time I shy away from sharing things with people because I’m afraid they’re going to think it’s silly to do __.  I’ve decided that it’s my life, and as long as myself and Mr. Money are happy, that’s all that matters.  Who cares if I don’t use shampoo and I use cloth toilet paper? I like it and that’s that.

It seems like doing frugal things is being different from the crowd.  We tend to consume less, recycle more, and live simpler lives.  We find joy in the small things and stop charging up crazy credit card balances and are content with what we already have.    It’s not that we’re any better than anyone else, we’re just different.

Do you think being frugal is always being different?  Will being frugal ever become the norm?

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17 Responses to “Is Being Frugal Always Being Different?”


  1. Jenny says:

    We are doing family cloth too, but I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to blog about it. I fear the people I know in “real life” would not get that. I frequently wish I could hang out with some of the people whose blogs I read, but most of them are hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    I think light to moderate frugality has come into fashion due to our crappy economy. If it ever gets worse, I think peer pressure will give way to necessity and you’ll see people, for instance, deciding to buy bread and eggs with their last $5 instead of TP. My grandma lived through the Great Depression and we thought her hard-to-break frugal habits were hilarious, until a couple of years ago. The younger people in my family were born into relative plenty. When it gets bad enough for enough people, wasting resources becomes shameful rather than fashionable (it’s already happening, as people are scorned for driving gas guzzling SUVs, for example)–and I think it’s a good thing!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- I think I would be embarrassed at first if my family found out about my cloth tp! It is a weird subject to bring up. ;) I would love to hang out with you! I am sure we could have lots of fun.

    I agree with you- I think the economy teaching people to cut back has been a great thing! I just hope they continue that trend. :)

    [Reply]

  2. Frugal Babe says:

    My family is a lot like yours – right down to the cloth TP – and I agree completely. We are vastly different from our friends, even though pretty much all of our friends are concerned about the environment and are at least somewhat focused on saving money for the future. Just the fact that we don’t own a dryer or a TV makes us stand out a bit. I’m a lot more comfortable with our frugality now than I was ten years ago – I happily tell people that all of my clothes come from thrift stores, and I’m proud of the fact that my car is 19 years old. But I know that we are very different from most of the people we know.
    I agree with Jenny about how great it would be to be able to hang out with some of the bloggers I’ve “met” over the years. The house next door to us is for sale, and I have my fingers crossed that a family like ours will see the potential in the huge backyard and move in there :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Frugal Babe- I think it’s awesome you don’t own a dryer or TV. I could do without my dryer. I used to be embarrassed that I only shopped at thrift stores, but I’ve realized to embrace my frugality!

    I’ll come buy the house next door and we can become neighbors. Would you mind chickens? ;)

    [Reply]

  3. There is nothing wrong with being frugal and being different from everyone. Look, this country is in trouble because folks were not frugal enough, both people and the government.

    Americans have consumed too much, saved too little. And the Federal Government now owes its people and the world $12 trillion dollars.

    I think it’s cool to be frugal. Nothing to be ashamed about.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mr Credit Card- I agree. I think it’s crazy how much Americans consumed. I hope people continue to slow down their spending in the future too!

    [Reply]

  4. Akborn says:

    I have to admit, I kind of chuckled while reading this because you see for a large portion of my life I was raised and lived a life style that I guess now would be consider frugal, no running water, no electricity, living simply and on hand me down clothing. Lol if the location(weather) had allowed it we probably would have grown our own veggies. It’s actully been in the last 8 years I grew away from it, moved to the city got dazzled by ALL the fancy du-dads and gadgets now I am trying to be more concervative, live a simpiler healthier lifestyle but my point was to say I agree I think and hope that more and more people would cut back live simplier :-)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Akborn- I think that the simpler you live, the happier you are. But that’s just me. :P

    I think it’s awesome that you were raised that way. It makes me angry how many people (including myself) take for granted the living conditions we have here in the US. We are so spoiled! Thanks for your comment!

    [Reply]

  5. Zella says:

    I don’t think it’s abnormal to be frugal (these days, at least), but I have deliberately chosen a neighborhood without an HOA so that I can be frugal without having to deal with other people about it. Educating people is only fun when you don’t have lawsuits over clotheslines. :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Zella- Us too!! We didn’t want to buy a house in a subdivision because we didn’t want restrictions on what we can and can’t do. We’re so glad we did what we did. Sometimes I think we’re a little redneck with our clothesline and wood pile and garden beds, but that’s okay. :)

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  6. Lulu says:

    I am one of the very few frugal-ish people I know so I can sympathize with you. I have a budget and stick to it and my co-workers simply cannot understand why I don’t just whip out cash when they decide last minute on a Thursday to order pizza.

    I am the only one in my workplace who brings a lunch bag to work (even though we only get 30 minutes as teachers).

    I am the only one who uses coupons….and I was also the only one who did not have a fear of the January bills for Christmas spending….so I take being different and I love it.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Lulu- I think it’s great that you are frugal too! We’ve got to stick together. :) 30 minutes is so hard to go out to get lunch! Brown bagging is the way to go.

    Great job on sticking with your frugality! It pays off! :)

    [Reply]

  7. Fun! I just found your site. Does being frugal always mean being different? I’m not sure. I live in France with my husband and see his family a lot–they are frugal in their own way, watching what they spend, comparing prices, never buying on credit etc. I feel different here because we don’t have a TV, for example, but no one has a dryer really. I also use my ‘hot box’ to cook food for long periods of time, which is different from most people, but my in-laws basically think it’s great. They worry that we don’t eat meat or when we weren’t using our heater. As for cleaning with vinegar, nobody bugs me about that. Haven’t ever tried the family cloth yet . . .it might spark rebellion, but then again, you never know . . .

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Simple in France- Thanks so much for commenting! I went and checked out your blog and I love it! I think we could be great friends IRL. :)

    The family cloth sounds gross, but really isn’t if you use it for just #1. ;)

    [Reply]

  8. Kait Palmer says:

    Just found your blog and love it!
    Yes I think being frugal and green is different…for now.

    My mom and grandma used to make fun of me for “going green,” but slowly they’ve caught on and are realizing its more old fashioned than anything else. Glass storage bowls, growing your own garden, using real butter…they now do all that and act like they’ve been doing it since Moses was born!

    Whenever I mention something new and green I’m doing (like using powerstrips and turning them off when they’re not being used) and they hem and haw at it I just smile and wait a few months…then they’re doing it too. :-)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kait- Thanks so much!

    I know- it’s funny how we’ve evolved and made so many advances and now we’re wanting to go back to how things used to be. I think the olden days were much less confusing and a whole lot healthier! I’m glad that your mom and grandma are on board!

    [Reply]


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