Am I Frugal Enough?
I’ve been feeling a lot lately that I’m an imposter. I have no plans to retire at the age of 35, be financially independent on a homestead in the woods in a few years, or plan to travel the country without a care about my income because I’m living off of dividends. I don’t want to quit my job, though I do want to be free of a mortgage. I do drive a car on occasion to pick up my son on a nice day just a half mile; especially if we are on a time crunch. And I do splurge on unnecessary goodness from time to time.
I started this blog with the hopes of sharing what being frugal means to me and telling the story of frugality and enjoying modern pleasures in the process. Lately, it’s started to feel less me and more as if I needed to prove myself “frugal” enough.
One of the greatest things I always come back to about being frugal is: choice. You may choose what’s important to you and what’s not. When you live frugally and below your means, quality seems to make more sense despite the higher cost at times. It’s being frugal vs. cheap, and being in control of your finances.
What I love about being frugal is that while at times I feel my goals aren’t lofty enough, I know they are what works for us. I haven’t bought a new outfit in over six months, but I do spend on non-frugally things from time to time.
For example, I know many frugal bloggers who’d never think of buying a robotic vacuum for their home. The cost would seem a waste for them, though they happily will spend on something that may be important to them and not us. The Frugal Momster, however, has done her research and knows it’ll be awesome for us because I love a clean house. We both work full time outside the home and work a variety of other jobs with a family social life mixed in, but cleaning every Saturday morning hasn’t been enough.
This week we bought a Neato Botvac D85 to clean our house. With a shedding dog and a baby crawling around, plus a kiddo and husband in and out of woodworking outdoors, we were vacuuming regularly and still not getting it all up.
If we are able to spend more of our time on those side passions, less on cleaning, it’ll end up being a profitable expense. In addition, we have one child obsessed with vacuums, so we’ve had to plan our cleaning for when he’s not home (unfortunately, he likes to build them and take them apart; not clean thoroughly).
With all this in consideration, I found myself questioning my decision to get a great sale price on the vac. Would a frugal person hire a robot to do her cleaning? Could this money be better invested or used to pay off the mortgage?
I’m glad I finally came to my senses and realized my frugal journey is our own. We’ve worked hard to pay off over $100,000+ in student loans, auto loans, and pay to clear ourselves of a bad neighborhood on an underwater mortgage in the course of 5 years. Instead of feeling bad about my decision to spend a little more on a vacuum (what do regular ones even sell for these days?) I’m going to applaud myself for choosing what is best for our family this week and in the future. Being focused on my own frugality vs comparing our journey to others.
Since paying off so much debt with the debt snowball and being almost completely debt-free with just a mortgage, I’ve been a bit lost lately. The focus now isn’t so much on paying off all of our debts as it is on building wealth outside of that longer term debt. Our goal still is to be mortgage free by 40, but that’s not our only purpose for working and living this way. We enjoy the simplicity frugal living brings; the hard work that comes from doing-it-yourself, the learning process, and sharing that with others. I hope you do to as you continue on your personal frugal journey, too.
Being frugal is different for every person and family. Focus on what’s most important to you, and let lesser priorities be where you save to put towards your goals.