Author Topic: Does being frugal make you stingy?  (Read 5839 times)

WhatMomWears

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Does being frugal make you stingy?
« on: January 10, 2013, 04:54:49 PM »
I've been thinking about this for a while and I think, in my case, as I've moved towards frugality (albeit slowly), I have also become stingier with the things I have. Especially the foods I make that take effort and cost more (stocks, etc). I was wondering if anyone else has found this to be true. I'm fighting it because I don't want to become that kind of person who doesn't give or share willingly. It's not like giving will take something out of the mouths of my family either.

Erica from Northwest Edible Life posted this yesterday and it's a philosophy I am struggling to achieve but desperately want to.

The thing is, I simply hate being stingy with food. Iím just not into it. Hospitality is important to us and our family is in the fortunate position that a lot of things would have to go south before household food rationing seemed reasonable to me. There is always room for another mouth at my table and everyone can always have another serving if they are still hungry. The idea that I might hesitate even a minute before sharing with a friend or having the neighbor kid stay for dinner kinda disgusts me, actually. Nothing is ever wasted, but there is always plenty.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 05:31:13 PM »
It is a balance for sure but being frugal does not equate to stingy, but it can be a tradeoff.  My grocery budget is probably double what a good MMM follower would be at but when I look at it the budget is highly inflated by holidays, BBQ's, birthdays, family get togethers, etc. As an example, for one of my kids b-days last year it would have been far cheaper to take him to one of those b-day/kid type places because he invited everyone (was turning 7) and we ended up having like 40 kids plus parents plus relatives plus neighbors....did this need to be, no, but it was fun.

Are here ways to reduce this with pot-lucks and serving less expensive items.....abolutely, but I can do it and these things/events are the most enjoyable.  I find that with my work and other life it is difficult to see/meet/catch-up with people and doing the homefront is great for me.

That is my view, but it doesn't make it the right one for you.  To each his/her own.

Skyn_Flynt

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 06:59:46 PM »
As my cash flow has improved, I've been more willing to pay other people to do jobs that I don't like doing or don't feel like putting the time in to learn. I don't spend more on frivolous "items" but will spend more to get tasks done. I'm more willing to give a handyman's job to someone that I trust to complete it, than worry about getting competing quotes for the best price.

So I feel less stingy in some ways. But I've actually gotten tighter in other areas, where I see opportunities to cut out expenses MMM style. (Phone plan, cable TV, turn the heat down, use less water, etc.) I can't bring myself to have the attitude "I can afford to waste money".

JJ

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 08:07:40 PM »
Here's my 2c (from https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/your-mustache-might-be-evil)
I see a huge difference between frugality and miserliness.  Frugality=not spending money on stupid crap so you can spend it on things which matter and not be a slave to generating income.  This can be done with a generous spirit and is generally based on structural, big ticket, set and forget adjustments (e.g. getting rid of a car, moving interstate, getting rid of cable whatever) which yield large savings with little ongoing effort and no obsessing.  You can pick up the bill when you are having lunch with someone, put $10 in the homeless guy's tin, etc etc and still be frugal (in my opinion).  You can live a frugal life which is full, happy and beneficial to others.  In fact, you can often live a full, happy and useful life because you don't waste effort on meaningless "stuff".

Miserliness, on the other hand, is when you hope the other guy will pick up the bill, get uncomfortable if you are in a restaurant and start adding up the cost, ignore the homeless guy in the street, eat crap food because it's cheap etc etc.  Misers may die rich but they never die happy.

Jamesqf

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 08:35:27 PM »
Not at all.  When I have large crops of fruit (more than I can eat) I share with all my friends & neighbors.  Of course this depends on me having a surplus: if there are for instance only a few peaches on the tree some year, ain't nobody getting them but me :-)  Likewise, I like to cook & bake, so often make a bigger batch of things than I can eat and share with neighbors. 

kudy

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 11:14:29 PM »
I love sharing the spoils of my garden. I also love hosting dinner for friends... but it's hard when I make something and mentally account portions of it to lunch for the week, to not be slightly stingy with food. Eating more would be over-eating anyway, right :)?

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 09:33:50 AM »
While I don't think they're entirely orthogonal axes, stingiess and frugality are fairly independent traits.

I know I'm definitely more ready to spend money on others than myself. I have a friend who I always pick up the tab on, because I have more money than him right now. Being frugal in my own life allows me that luxury.

Especially the foods I make that take effort and cost more (stocks, etc).
Cooking stocks is expensive? Hm. Now, I am a chicken stock kinda guy, but my stocks are virtually free. I just save bones until I have enough to fill the pot, toss in veggies that are getting past their prime in the fridge, and voila! After a days simmer, I have stock. I don't see why it'd be different for pork or beef, either.

skarn

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 09:50:32 AM »
Frugality doesn't have to make you stingy, but it can.

I think it depends on how much you want to give to people.

I can be really stingy on myself, for example, but treat friends to meals and experiences without sparing too many thoughts for the costs involved. I try to make it as value for money as possible, of course, but it's not "cheap" value-for-money, either,

Ozstache

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 02:49:12 PM »
Here's my 2c (from https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/your-mustache-might-be-evil)
I see a huge difference between frugality and miserliness.  Frugality=not spending money on stupid crap so you can spend it on things which matter and not be a slave to generating income.  This can be done with a generous spirit and is generally based on structural, big ticket, set and forget adjustments (e.g. getting rid of a car, moving interstate, getting rid of cable whatever) which yield large savings with little ongoing effort and no obsessing.  You can pick up the bill when you are having lunch with someone, put $10 in the homeless guy's tin, etc etc and still be frugal (in my opinion).  You can live a frugal life which is full, happy and beneficial to others.  In fact, you can often live a full, happy and useful life because you don't waste effort on meaningless "stuff".

Miserliness, on the other hand, is when you hope the other guy will pick up the bill, get uncomfortable if you are in a restaurant and start adding up the cost, ignore the homeless guy in the street, eat crap food because it's cheap etc etc.  Misers may die rich but they never die happy.

Very well stated!

forward

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 03:15:26 PM »

OneDay, I am willing to admit that it is an issue for me and I have to think about it.  For instance, I make more than many people I work with and in the past I always picked up the tab when we went out as a group and ended up with some large bills.  Since I have figured out that if I actually work at it I can spend much less and save much more (MMM), I have considered that I should stop doing this.  Its going to be something I have to wrestle with a bit, do I pay the tab, doing so is in some small way the cultural norm in my profession.  Am I being stingy if I don't?  Another scenario is a couple of families are going to a show or some activity and its going to cost a fair amount for you to take your family also, theme park, expensive movie etc.  You decide not to go because you can have just as much fun yourselves without spending anything.  Stingy or frugal?  I think it can be difficult sometimes.

WhatMomWears

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 05:06:51 PM »
I haven't yet started roasting chickens so I buy organic chicken backs which aren't cheap. Neither are the grass-fed beef bones I use (though the ones from the ranch are better than Whole Foods). To get the beef bones from the ranch we have to either drive 3 hours round trip or ask a friend to bring them up for us when he comes to work. It's a process. I don't cook beef with bones in (I use mostly stew meat and ground beef). Plus the two days of making it...like I said I'm fighting the stingy voice that wants to keep it all for my family.

Bakari

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 06:10:47 PM »
Quite the opposite.

I've found that spending less has allowed me to save money, which in turn has meant I could afford to be generous.

Most recent example, I was talking to a friend in another country, and she was talking about making me a handmade xmas gift, so I got to wondering what she might appreciate, and I remembered she wanted to visit home, but knew she couldn't really afford it, so without a second thought, I offered to cover half the airfare (but no more than $500, I'm not paying for first class!!)
Two years ago, or any point before that in my life, I wouldn't have DREAMED of offering anyone a gift that size, as the only way I could have if I wanted to would have been by putting it on a credit card. 

tooqk4u22

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Re: Does being frugal make you stingy?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 07:41:11 PM »
Quite the opposite.

I've found that spending less has allowed me to save money, which in turn has meant I could afford to be generous.

Most recent example, I was talking to a friend in another country, and she was talking about making me a handmade xmas gift, so I got to wondering what she might appreciate, and I remembered she wanted to visit home, but knew she couldn't really afford it, so without a second thought, I offered to cover half the airfare (but no more than $500, I'm not paying for first class!!)
Two years ago, or any point before that in my life, I wouldn't have DREAMED of offering anyone a gift that size, as the only way I could have if I wanted to would have been by putting it on a credit card.

+1, good example