Frugality Buys You Time

We all know that time is our most finite resource. We all have a set number of days on this planet and we’re not getting any more. We can’t make or buy more time. Since we can’t make more time, it’s important to make the most of the time we do have. I’ve found that, “going frugal” has been the best way for me to “create” more time. No amount of money, whether spent or saved, can actually create or buy time of course. It’s just an expression. But frugality does give me more time to spend on the things that really matter to me.

People often ask me how that is possible since frugality sometimes brings up images of slaving away on chores the old-fashioned way, cooking over a hot stove for hours on end, or spending tons of time in the garden or sewing. If you’re spending more time doing your work, how can you possibly be spending time on other things? The answer lies in the misperception of frugality. Since I’ve gone frugal, I don’t spend any more time cleaning my home than I did before, I just use vinegar and baking soda. (Actually, I spend less time since I’ve purged a lot of my junk and there’s less to clean around and maintain.) I don’t spend any more time cooking than I did before, I just use different ingredients and recipes. I do spend more time in the garden, but since that is something I really enjoy, it’s a positive and not a negative.

Being frugal means that I don’t waste time in the mall (or on the Internet) four days a week aimlessly shopping. I have that time to read or pursue other hobbies. I don’t eat out much which is not the time saving device most people think it is. In the time it takes me to drive to a restaurant, order, wait for my food, eat, and get home, I can cook a meal, clean up the kitchen and take an after dinner walk with my neighbor who tells the best stories. I do a lot of my own maintenance, but even that is really a time saver. I can get the job done and over with instead of wasting time finding a repair person, waiting on them to show up, and then supervising them while they’re here. I can instead finish the job in an hour and spend the rest of that time on something else that’s important to me.

Frugality is also buying me time in another way. The more money I save, the less I have to work. Before I became frugal, it cost me a lot more to live each year. I had to work a lot more to make that much money. It’s a vicious cycle. Spend more money, then work more to make more money. Repeat. As I cut down my expenses, it cost me less and less to live each year. As a result, I didn’t have to work so much. Since I’m self-employed, I discovered that I could take a lot more
time off and still meet my expenses and continue to save for the future. I now have a lot more time to travel, read, exercise, spend with family, or just sit outside enjoying the weather.

Frugality isn’t about just saving money, it’s about removing a lot of the unimportant, extraneous junk from our lives and paring down to what is most important. This paring down saves money, but it also saves time which is, arguably, more important. By eliminating trips to the stores, eating out, stuff I have to clean and clean around, and activities I don’t enjoy, I’m able to “create” a lot more time each day. The more frugal I become, the more time I create each year, as well, because I don’t have to work as much to meet me expenses. Frugality enables me to make the most of however many days I have on Earth.

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2 Responses to Frugality Buys You Time

  1. Heidi Beckman says:

    You give a great definition of frugality–it’s about re-evaluating your priorities and deciding to live a life that is aligned with your deepest values, instead of spending money and time on less-valued things. I really like that way of looking at it.

  2. Monkey Mama says:

    I think the best thing about frugality is having more time (not working so much)!

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