My biweekly personal finance column at MSN Money has morphed into a daily frugality blog. Since life never happens quite as you wish, the new gig was poised to launch right when I got sick last week.
My mental picture is of the Fates passing a joint and cackling with laughter as they watched me struggle with computer connection woes six or seven hours after what was later determined to be a gall bladder attack.
Eventually everything was resolved and Tuesday was the debut for Frugal Cool. Despite the semi-preachiness of the inaugural headline (“Frugality: The right life choice”), this is not an eat-your-vegetables kind of site.
In fact, I specifically noted that you won’t be kicked out of the movement if you forget your coupons, and I encouraged readers to…
“…forget what you think you knew about the word ‘frugal,’ which has somehow come to mean ‘joyless self-denial.’ What it actually means is choosing to live a life without waste, a life in which each decision means something.
“There’s nothing cooler than self-determination — and frugality doesn’t limit your choices. It just refines them.”
Personally I think of frugality as intentional living or mindful spending. These phrases require choice, and choice means not deprivation but freedom — the freedom to live the kind of life you want by deciding where your money will go, vs. heaving greenbacks at somebody else’s idea of a good time.
The true value of things
Personal life goals will determine your approach. Maybe you’re looking at short-term sacrifice for a long-term goal such as graduating debt-free or buying a home. Perhaps you want to reduce your impact on the environment and/or to live sustainably.
Could be you’re flirting with minimalism and see no reason to buy – or to pay – more than necessary. Or maybe you’re tired of being broke and frugality is just one string in your fix-my-life fiddle.
I want to offer useful information (and frugal hacks!) to all. I also want to dispel a few stereotypes. The trouble with words like “cheap” and “frugal” is that they make the idea of intentional living seem like an unending round of deprivation and hardship.
It ain’t necessarily so. Personally, I’ve never been happier.
Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. I’d like to be the blogger who knows the price and also the true value of everything, i.e., what’s important in life.
Living frugally got me here. I plan to keep it up. Drop by and I’ll share what I know.