The word frugal still has a generally negative connotation to it. It brings up images of cheapskates who penny pinch every little thing. They are of course wearing worn faded clothing and you would never see them inside of a restaurant. At the grocery store they are picking through every little fruit and vegetable making sure every green bean and tomato they buy is perfect. They walk right past any sort of donation and get into their 20 year old car to drive home. Never ever ever would you see them spend any money on anything at all unless they were forced to. It’s a tired image that just isn’t entirely true. There are parts in there that are but being frugal doesn’t also mean that you’re a cheapskate. Big difference still!
I would say that I’m frugal but I wouldn’t call myself a cheapskate. I save money in most areas of my life but I spend more for things that are important to me. Being generous with my money is also another thing. I’m not giving out money left and right but I know I have a weakness for overspending a bit much on gifts. It’s very much possible to be frugal but still generous in life. Sounds like it doesn’t work together and would cancel each other out but there are plenty of ways to be generous without giving money away.
Giving your time
Many people I know that don’t have a lot of money instead volunteer their time or help someone out. This can go so much farther than just giving someone money. Time is money also even if you don’t directly get cash from it.
The best part about being frugal is that it does increase your ability to be able to donate to worthy charities if you want to. Certainly wouldn’t donate all the money I’m saving, but putting $25 towards my favorite charity is something I am able to do.
On the flip side it’s really easy to get sucked into the mentality of “If it’s free then I don’t need to do anything!” True when it comes to small giveaways, but not so when it comes to friends and family being generous and helping out or passing on items they don’t have a use for. They aren’t looking to get anything back, but if possible I try to at least respond to their generosity by doing something for them. Growing up in a family that’s always been very generous with what they have has also really taught me to pass it on. Even if I can’t do something for them I can be generous to other people.
Being frugal doesn’t mean you turn into Scrooge McDuck. It means taking control over your finances and not falling in line with consumer driven America. I certainly still do plenty of things that make me happy and probably aren’t considered frugal though! There are plenty others who really fit the term frugal much better than I.
In what aspects of your life are you generous?