The Trouble with Living the Frugal Lifestyle – Part 1

Frugal living isn’t always easy.  Sooner or later your attempts at living the frugal lifestyle are going to be shot down.  The other day a reader posed the question, “how do you deal with friends and family that like to spend more frivolously than you, and sometimes put pressure on you to spend more, or worse…they make fun of your lifestyle?”

Example scenarios that come to mind: dinner and a movie out with friends, multi-family vacations, and neighborhood parties.  These are all times when the pressure for you to “keep up” is very high.

Constantly dealing with these situations and trying to live frugal at the same time can be challenging.  Since life is worth living to its fullest and since becoming a hermit is not the answer, I’ve got a few guidelines for you to consider:

Up first…

Keep in Mind that Frugality is YOUR Choice

One of the great things about this country of ours is the notion that (for the most part) you can make your life what you want it, increase your earnings, and spend your money on whatever you like.  It’s a great freedom we have.

That being the case, you’re not responsible for the way others live their lives.  If they want to spend wastefully all the time (or just sometimes), it’s their right.  It’s (usually) not your place to tell them how to spend. Like a reader once said, the only time you should tell someone to quit spending wastefully is if they’re involving you (i.e. asking you for money).  So keep the focus on what you can control: your own spending.

Additionally, remember that one person’s idea of frugal is not another’s.  We all have our own frugal-o-meter, so to speak.  That friend’s purchase that you’re questioning might be the only thing they’re splurging on at the time.  Or, they may have all their other financial goals met, so they are free to spend how they please.

So the take away here is that if someone is pressuring you to spend, don’t look down on them, but have confidence enough in yourself and your goals to do what’s best for you at the time.  If you’re friends and family are half-way reasonable, they’ll understand and take note.

Up next… You Don’t Always Have to Make the Frugal Choice

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  1. Morgan McKay says:

    My “frugal lifestyle” has allowed me to:

    1. Lose weight
    2. Travel 20% of the year
    3. Join sports teams
    4. Make tons of friends
    5. Be happy

    The proof is in the pudding and I don’t have many people questioning my frugality after seeing the things I get to do. Most of them actually think I am spending MORE than they are or that I came into some money!!

    Most of my frugal efforts focus around food too so connect with me on twitter @EpularisMM if you are like-minded.

  2. Gift giving gets me every time.
    My husband and I live in a tremendously expensive area and while he makes a good living, we need to live very carefully if we want to save enough buy a home of our own.
    My side of the family is struggling financially, and it’s hard to stick to my resolution of not more than $20 per person for Xmas and birthdays. Between my desire to help, and the pressure I feel from my family and siblings to act like “the rich aunt/daughter/sister” it gets a little uncomfortable.

  3. Frugal living is a choice, I agree. As a society, we have gotten very fat and sloppy. I challenge every one of your readers to examine the way they live their lives. I examined my lifestyle recently and found that I can easily cut hundreds of dollars from my overhead, and barely feel it.
    Good luck to all

  4. Great advice and I think it times like this a frugal lifestyle is very important. But like you said, it is upto the individual to decide what is the best course of action.

  5. No Debt Plan says:

    If your friends and family are putting you down for living the frugal, smart life.. are they really your friends? Family is a different issue. For me, I see some of my friends spending frivolously and not living on a budget. That is their choice. But I’ve been able to bring a few of them around 🙂

  6. Man o Man. This is topic I have been dwelling on for quite some time. I say I want to be more frugal, but I never follow through with it. I have tons going on with my life and I am not doing a good job at all at maximizing my financial health. I have been reading all over the pf world bout how to become frugal and tips with it, but none of it will help unless I take action and stop. Time to make moves.