My grandparents were married during the Great Depression. Their first few years together were spent in severe economic hardship, and the financial lessons they learned during that lean time never left them.
They always had one car.
My grandma wore the same dresses throughout my entire lifetime. I think when she died, the dresses she still had were 25 to 30 years old.
They rarely went out to eat, opting instead to cook and eat simple meals at home.
My grandparents did without much of the time, and they were very frugal with their money.
They sold their house when they retired and lived in a 5th wheel trailer parked on the side of our lot, less than 20 steps from our house. All of their possessions fit in that space, and their home was not cluttered.
Has the Meaning of Frugality Changed?
Now, the definition of frugal seems to be different. People try hard to avoid doing without.
Now, the motto seems to be, “Why do without?” Live like the Jones’ without spending money like the Jones’.
Whereas my grandparents carefully bought the groceries they needed, today’s frugal zealots clip coupons and create grocery storage spaces out of their garages. They have rows and rows of processed food that they got for pennies on the dollar thanks to couponing.
Many mom bloggers are making their fortune sharing all the hottest deals available. Kids’ winter jackets for $8! Hurry, buy women’s turtlenecks for $4 today only! Get your child the Barbie princess house for the low price of $48!
Hurry! Hurry! Buy the bargain.
Do You Really Need That Bargain?
So many consumers are on the hunt for a good deal that they never stop to ask themselves if they really need the item that is on sale.
What if your child doesn’t need the Barbie princess house? What if your child has so many toys, she whines about picking them up and doesn’t take care of the ones she has? Is that Barbie princess house still a good deal?
What if you never even thought about buying that item until you saw it on sale and didn’t want to miss out on the savings?
We’re Overwhelmed with Stuff
Look back at pictures of people’s homes from 60 or 70 years ago. Their homes were not cluttered. They were much more like the minimalists’ homes of today.
Now, we take advantage of so many “deals” that our homes are overflowing. Here in Arizona where there are no basements, and therefore no built in storage, most people can’t park in their garages because they’re stuffed with possessions.
We don’t need all of this stuff.
Snagging a great deal on something we don’t need isn’t a deal.
It’s a waste of money.
Keep More Money in Your Pocket This Holiday Season
We’re entering into the busiest shopping season of the year. There will be good deals, plenty of them. You’ll likely be tempted to buy as many gifts for yourself as you will for others. After all, the prices are so good.
But ask yourself one simple question–Do I need it? If you don’t, it’s not a deal.
Do you think the definition of frugality has changed? Do you or someone you know struggle with buying more than you need because something is on sale?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.