Is being frugal the same as being sustainable? Not quite, although many people believe that both practices are the same. Frugality has more to do with money and economic resources and less to do with natural or ecological resources than does sustainability. While there are several concepts within each that cross the line between the two, generally speaking, sustainable practices preserve and protect resources that are available to a large demographic while frugality has more to do with preservation of one’s family or personal economic resources.
Living with less doesn’t mean that you have to live a life of poverty. That is a common misconception people have that sometimes puts them off of trying to simplify their lives. Figuring out what you can live without is a big part of getting started on this path. Learning what is important and what is just extraneous flotsam in your life is the goal, not becoming a hobo. Getting off the treadmill and learning how to truly live life to its fullest is what it is all about. At least for me it was and it seems to be for most people I talk to about this subject. But, everybody has a different reason for wanting to reconstruct their lives in this way, so it really doesn’t matter what that reason is. We are all coming into this from different prespectives and situations, so there is no right or wrong way. This is all about the journey.
Frugality – Do I need it and how do I get it?
In recent years, the concept of frugality has gone off the rails as far as I am concerned. Rather than be a way to wisely make your hard earned dollars go further, being frugal seems to have turned, for many, into a competition to see who can come up with the silliest ways to save a few pennies. Some people step over the edge, going from being economically astute to being nearly obsessive about it. Like the woman I saw do an interview about frugality and who said that she washed and dried her paper towels. Why was she buying paper towels in the first place? Wouldn’t it have been more frugal to have used a cloth towel? (By the way, that example could also be used to illustrate sustainability, relating to saving a tree versus growing cotton, versus recycled paper.)
To my way of thinking, frugality is ingenuity and imagination combined with common sense. If you are living simply (and with sustainability in mind) in the first place, you already have the proper mindset to lead you to rational and practical solutions for everyday problems. When you fully embrace the concept of what it means to live simply, there is no need for over the top ways to save a miniscule amount of money. The very act of living simply means that you become dependent on yourself for your needs and that in turn leads to the frugal part of it all. Freeing yourself from the notion that more is better may be all the frugality you need.
Of course, there will be some people whose goal is to save every penny possible and there is nothing wrong with that, although I do not consider that simple living, frugality or sustainability. Practicing frugality can be one of many steps in the natural progression toward simplifying your life, but it may not necessarily be for everyone. It is quite possible that one could be extremely wealthy and still live a truly simple life? My concept of simplicity may be very different from someone else’s and there is nothing wrong with that. Just don’t be suckered into thinking that sustainable living is part of frugality. Frugality is only one of many possible facets of sustainable living.
So, since planting the seed to grow your own ideas is what this article is all about, I have included the following lists of links for you to use to fuel your imagination. Have fun exploring them!
FRUGAL LIVING, DOLLAR STRETCHERS, ETC.
These links to to frugal living social networks, websites about ways to live cheaply, etc. As always, these links will take you to sites with more links and are intended to give you a jumping off point for your own search.
Frugal Living Community www.frugalliving.about.com/
Zen Habits.net www.zenhabits.net/the-cheapskate-guide-50-tips-for-frugal-living/
Cheapskates Australia www.cheapskates.com.au/
LINKS TO FREE STUFF
I am including these links to free stuff because free stuff is always good. However, caveat emptor applies here. Not much is really free on some of these sites because you have to give them your personal information to get the freebies. If you don’t want your inbox or your mailbox inundated with stuff you never asked for, don’t sign up for this kind of stuff. These sites are driven by advertisers, some sell your information, etc. so think before you click and watch for the bait and switch that some of these sites put out. And if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Totally Free Stuff www.totallyfreestuff.com/
Free Stuff.com www.freestuff.com/
Free Stuff Times www.freestufftimes.com/
Yes, All 4 Free www.yesall4free.com/
Free Stuff Without Surveys to Take www.yofreesamples.com/