You Can Be Too Frugal

too frugalHave you poured a half finished glass of orange juice back into the carton? Have you taken toilet paper down from your trees after being TP’d to use for its original purpose? I have heard of people doing just that. Have you done outrageous things just to save money? Are you happy with this lifestyle? Do you need to be so frugal?

We’ve all heard of peoples’ frugal habits, and just as spending too much money can be a problem, so can spending too little. If your situation does not require you to be extremely frugal, then why are you? Is it a goal you’ve set for yourself? Is it a challenge you enjoy? Or is it an addiction that needs to be stopped? Sure, you may have debt, or maybe not make as much as you want, and most of us could save more, but we have to achieve some kind of balance and avoid these problems.

Lost Opportunities

One problem with spending all of your life saving as much as you can is you may look back on your life and all you have to show for it is a pile of money and a string of wasted opportunities. This may be okay for some miserly people, but a healthy individual enjoys himself throughout his life.

Not knowing how to enjoy retirement

When you finally reach retirement and you decide you can spend some of the money you’ve saved, can you decide what you want to do with all of that money you saved? Have you been saving so long that interest in anything but saving has long since withered away?

Bad Health

Retirement can also be the time when your health gets worse. What if your health gives out and what you were planning to do is no longer feasible? The vacations you were going to take, the second house you were going to buy, the old car you were going to rebuild, etc.? Anything can be limited or nixed entirely by failing health.

Bad Family Relationships

Family members don’t necessarily share your frugal bug. I’ve heard of people getting nothing but hand-me-downs and never anything new. Worse, they did without many basic items all because their parents wanted to save a few dollars. It wasn’t because they needed to, but they were addicted to saving money. This may seem like nothing to some, but it hurts emotionally and sends the wrong message to children. Life is more than just about money.

Becoming a Jerk

Cheating is another way you can harm others. I know people who will complain about food or service, just to get a discounted or free meal. They do this every time they go out to eat. Others I know have stolen silverware, or emptied condiment containers into secret containers hidden in clothing or purses. Others have had no qualms about mooching off others food and hospitality just because they didn’t want to spend any of their own money.

Criminal Activity

Stealing music, movies, software, etc. with today’s technology is easy, but it’s also illegal. No matter where you stand on this issue, if caught, the consequences can be worse than spending the money.

I’m not suggesting we all necessarily live for today and forget about tomorrow. And some people have no choice but to watch what they spend very closely. That still doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy life as much as we can while at the same time setting aside money to continue to do so in the future. Find a healthy balance and stick with it. You’ll be happier for it.

Image courtesy of Tim Somero

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7 Responses to You Can Be Too Frugal

  1. nance says:

    Some of the behavior of people you describe isn’t being frugal. It’s a mental problem, I think. Saving, or not spending becomes an obsession, and some individuals can’t control it. It’s sad.

  2. Matt says:

    You can take pretty much anything too far. Personally I understand frugality and I’ll exhibit some measure of it but I still need to enjoy myself and I just don’t enjoy being that miserly or that frugal.

  3. hbemis says:

    I believe in extreme frugality for goals. I don’t think frugality is bad. I think miserly people are bad. If you were bad before you became frugal you’re likely to be much more when you are frugal.

  4. Fr says:

    Just like overspening, Frugality can become some kind of addiction. And like every addiction, this can lead to serious problems. Hopefully, savers have that rational grace caring for them :-)

  5. Dody says:

    I don’t agree. I think if children are hurt because their parents never bought them new stuff, the kids are brats. My parents didn’t even buy me USED stuff, I bought my own. Am I hurt? Sure! Do I buy my kids new stuff. No. I usually make their clothes. It’s a happy medium between buying trash for way too much and hand me downs.

    I think extreme frugality is okay. It means security.

  6. VIJAI says:

    Good thoughts but I should agree to that some extent. It even can be family breaker. I think in many cases, frugality can be heriditary habit but how far and to what extent do you want take it is up to depending upon your current condition.

    Conditions are not the same. If somebody seen their parents save and being frugal to big extent, they might be in real bad condition to do it. But you are doing well, you don’t have to be too frugal and can spend money to live the life to fullest.

    Thats my 2 cents.


  7. mjs says:

    My aunt who is loaded used to take all the condiments home from retaurants..this one restaurant in san dieog california knew she was this way, when they seated her all the condiments were not on the table..the waitresses never got a tip either..I took her out to eat a lot when I lived in the city for 10 years, I always tipped well and I always brought her tons of sugar, salt, napkins I purchased from the grocery store, she never got over a life as a child that was horrible, my mother’s only sister and my mother was the one spoiled not her, my mom died very young so she never got to see her many kids grow up and a tiny baby left tooo…so people who are that frugal usually it is a mental thing from their young childhood..She is in her late 90’s mentally alert and in pretty good health, don’t tell me about life throwing people curve balls cause I saw it all with my only living relative of my mothers family alive…I refuse to live that way, tipping waiters and waitress plenty, giving people what they need..I had almost the same kind of life, it is a truly mental condition. She still thinks she needs to be frugal at 97 years old, oh, my God…I say…..

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