Does Being Frugal Mean You are Poor ?

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Why do we as a society think that if someone is being frugal they must be poor? Why do so many people think that they have to buy name brand everything to keep up appearances?

There seems to be such a stigma attached to people who chose to live frugally. ” Oh they buy their clothes at the second-hand store” Oh they only buy the store brand”  “Oh they never go out to eat and if they do they go to the less expensive places” Oh they make all their own stuff”, Look at that older car they drive, and things like that.

Several years ago I was talking to someone and we were talking about this and he was telling me about a couple he knows. She had been divorced and on a very limited income with small children so she pinched every penny she could and lived as frugally as she could. When they got married he made really good money and instead of adapting a spendy lifestyle she continued her frugal ways. They now own their home, they pay cash for their cars, and pay cash for their vacations, and can afford to take several a year, They also have a good amount in the bank.

I know people who make good money, have big beautiful homes, drive brand new vehicles, eat out all the time, buy mostly brand name clothes. But have no savings, no emergency fund and one small hiccup like an unexpected Dr. bill is devastating to the finances. They live paycheck to paycheck all so they can keep up appearances. ( you know keeping up with the Jones).I also know people who don’t make a lot but are the same way they spend way more than they can afford. It makes for a very stressful life.

I read something a while back about the massive amount of credit card debt that a lot of people have and a big majority of them can only make the monthly minimum payment. So with more money going out then you have coming in that causes for a very stressful life. One of the biggest reasons couples fight and get divorced today is because of money problems.

I have to admit that I use to be that way to a point I would spend more than I really had to spend then have to worry about bank charges, will I be able to pay this bill or that bill, can I afford groceries It is not a good place to be. I still was frugal to a point but not like I should have been, like living within my means.

So back to the Question does being frugal mean you are poor? No, It is a little funny because a lot of these people who live frugally and within their means are better off than the ones who don’t. They can afford an unexpected emergency, If a good deal comes along they can get it, they can make repairs if needed. And a lot of times their net worth is a whole lot more.

When I started down the path of true frugallity I decided I was going to make it a challenge to see how frugal I could be, how much I could save by doing it myself.  Not having to worry about late charges, bank charges and all the things that go with living outside your means. Having some extra money if we wanted or needed something. It is kinda sad now though because I wil tell my extended family I am making this or that now and it dosn’t even get a rise out of them they are like “of course you are ” haha’

You would be surprised at some of the name brands and super nice stuff you can find at the 2nd hand store for next to  nothing, A lot of your store brands are just as good as name brand (some are better and yes a couple of things not so much) and if you are making everything from scratch you won’t need a lot of store-brand products. Eating out takes a lot of money for one person anymore it is 15 to 20 dollars and that is at a less expensive place. Limit how often you eat out and if you do, drink water instead of soda’s forgo the appetizers, and try to make it a special occasion when you go out. You can save so much by making your own, from food, to cleaners, even some of your beauty products. If you need ideas on how to save so you can get out of the spending trap and get on the road to a more frugal life I have 201 ways to save money here. Some of these are very extreme and some are not it just all depends on how bad you want to get out of the debt trap.

So what do you think “Does being frugal mean you are Poor?”

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10 Replies to “Does Being Frugal Mean You are Poor ?”

  1. NRP

    “Money, the root of all evil” ?????

    One of the reasons I really like your BLOG Connie is you have a way of making one think, and I don’t mean thinking about who is going to win the Super Bowl, but really thinking about oneself and what is really important to ones lifestyle.

    “Does being frugal mean you are Poor?” I believe it’s quite the opposite, I truly feel that have an overabundance of money makes one poor.
    With that said let’s define “poor”. Poor IMHO has nothing to do with how many zeros are behind the Bank Account, it has everything to do with the value in your heart and soul. With the Lifestyle one chooses to live, with their happiness and satisfaction in life.

    I know for a fact that most of my family makes from 3-5 times the “money” that I do, yet every time I talk with one of them, they are unhappy about this or that, they are worried about the Markets, the Economy, if the Country will go into Socialism and so on. They are always running from here to there trying to find/buy happiness. They are running around like fools trying to “find themselves” at a retreat or some ‘get-away’.
    Honestly they have zero idea how to escape the “keep up with the Jones’s” or the age old trap of “how to get out”.

    So on with my “Define Poor”. I have to say at times I wish I had an extra $500K in hand, but then I think “why” what would change in my life if I did. Would I be happier or would I want another $500K in hand? What would I change? Buy a bigger home? Buy a new $90,000 truck? Again I ask “why” would than make me happier or would it again just be for show and “keeping up with the Jones’s”?
    Personally I could care less what the Jones’s have, and how they live their lives. I am happy with myself and feel fulfilled living my, yes “my” lifestyle.

    Is New stuff or Bright and Shiny “stuff” all there is in your world? If so I feel for those that only see their lives being filled with “Money”, there is a heck of a lot more in this world than that.
    Maybe some/a-lot of people are totally happy being that way, Ok, that is their choice in life, but from my vantage point, their “money” is what’s making them “Poor”.

    1. Post author

      I ont know why some of your comments go to the trash. Drives me nuts I usually try to keep an eye on it but the second I stop there it goes .s lol.

      First off thank you I really enjoy you coming to visit and always having a good comment and adding to the post.

      I do agree with you and this sounds super crazy but I don’t think I would like a lot of money I figure I would be pretty bored because I wouldn’t really have to do anything because I could go buy everything and hire all my work to be done for me. I enjoy trying to find ways to save and do things myself but I have always been that way. Maybe that is why so many people with lots of money are bored and depressed ( and I know a few and I know not all). Also, I see so many who make a ton of money but really have nothing to show for it and I really don’t understand that.
      Guess I will continue pinching my pennies and have something to show for it (all my paid off things) Including our house and a lot of old tractors that look sad but are paid for and still get the job done haha.

      Have a great day

  2. Marybeth

    I am very frugal and we are not poor. We are using our money to help our kids get through college debt fee and saving for retirement. In my 20’s I was not as frugal as I could have been. If I could go back and change things. Live and learn. Thankfully my eyes were opened in my 30’s so we had plenty of time to correct our mistakes.

    1. Post author

      Isn’t it nice knowing you can put your kids through school and they or you are not going to have a massive student loan to pay back? Wish more people would think this way.
      Have a great day

  3. NRP

    Please check your Spam/Trash.
    I posted to this article yesterday, guess I’m in the doghouse again???

  4. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

    Great article! I grew up thinking we must be poor, compared to a lot of people we knew, because our furniture and appliances and vehicles were mostly older, we often bought used clothes and books, we ate less packaged and restaurant food, my parents cut our hair, and our shopping always involved price comparisons and coupons. On the other hand, I often thought our stuff was more interesting than “brand new, just like everyone else has,” and why *would* anyone waste money or waste stuff when we could avoid it??

    Then it was time for college, and I found that I didn’t qualify for financial aid because my parents had zero debt and massive savings. It shocked me that the university expected 1/3 of my parents’ income to go toward my education, and it shocked me when my parents explained that they could spare it because they were spending less than half their income on day-to-day expenses! At first I thought it wasn’t fair that families with similar income who spent more lavishly did get aid–but after college I realized what an advantage it was to have zero debt and to be accustomed to a frugal lifestyle! I wrote about it here a decade ago: Starting With Something.

    1. Post author

      Thank you and I read your article looks like we are the same page lol. And I also grew up with very frugal parents it does help you learn how to pinch a penny and live a frugal lifestyle. I will be reading more of your blog.
      Have a great day

  5. Liberty

    Frugal living could mean you are poor, and that you have to be frugal. But it is nice when frugalness is a way of life because of not wanting to be wasteful, and to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us. Great article! I’m featuring you tomorrow at Best of the Weekend!

    Liberty @

    1. Liberty

      I just edited today’s post to include my new eBook which just went live about How We Paid Off Our Mortgage in Less Than Six Years….. Since you are all about frugal living I thought you might be interested…. : )

      Liberty @