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The Definition of Frugal

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Being frugal is a state of mind. I always tell people at workshops that my definition of “being frugal” simply means “being a good steward of what the Lord has given me.” The Lord has given me so many blessings that I want to make sure that I use them wisely. In the New Testament, Jesus talks about the three men who received talents. Talents were money. Some of the men used the money wisely but one man did not, and instead hid the money. The two who used their money wisely were given more – the one who was stupid didn’t get any more money. (Matthew 25:14-30) I don’t want to be stupid. If I’m not smart with what God has given me, will He give me any more? Nope. That’s pretty cut and dry to me.
When I say “state of mind” I mean that you have to change how you think about things. If you’re using something, before you throw it away you might want to think, “Hey, can I use that for something else before I dispose of it?” Case in point – cereal bags. Most everything can be used again, even hairy food (think compost pile ). Too many careless people just throw things away on a whim. Okay, now let’s stop a minute. This can be taken to extremes. Think HOARDERS. You have to exercise some common sense. Don’t save things and keep them around for years, sleeping on them, storing them in your shower so you can’t take a bath. The things you save or use again should be used fairly soon. Don’t save newspapers for 10 years because you think you might use them……one day. “One day” isn’t good enough. If you’re going to save something, you better have a specific purpose in mind – a specific purpose that’s going to occur in the next century. Being a hoarder isn’t being frugal…’s being crazy.
Let me just throw something out there – using coupons isn’t necessarily being frugal. Yeah, I said it. If you save tons of money at the grocery store and drug store by using coupons, but then you squander all your savings on junk you don’t need – that’s not being frugal…..that’s being crazy. “Yay! I saved $75 at Kroger……and then I went out and bought a zebra-print couch cushion with matching big screen TV…..and I put it on American Express!” Being frugal is learning to live without credit – living on the money you DO have…..LESS than you have.  Coupons are great, but you have to combine that use with a change in your state of mind. How can you be wise with what you do have? It takes planning….it takes a budget. Are you cussing me yet?
The opposite of frugal isn’t luxurious. You can live a luxurious life and still live on less than you make. You can even feel luxurious on a very small amount of money…..just sit on an old couch and relax for a while; prop your feet up or paint your toenails (unless you’re a man, that’s just weird). The opposite of frugal is wasteful. The definition of wasteful is “inefficient in use of time and effort and materials.” “Being sensibly frugal allows one to allot resources wisely – and generously. And makes splurging for an occasional luxury possible. Frugality is not about deprivation.”
Let me give you some encouragement. If you’re not naturally a frugal kind of person, you can become one. It just takes practice and time. You really can change how you think about things. Ask yourself if you can use something twice before throwing it away. Ask yourself if you’re being wise with your money. Ask yourself if you’re MAKING A BUDGET (seriously, make a budget). Ask yourself if you are being generous. If you’re not being generous, you’ve taken frugality too far to the extreme. Even while being frugal, always allow time and money for being generous. As the Lord God has blessed you, so you should bless others.Amen. Or as Annie says – “DONE!”


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About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. This is such a great post and so true. Saving money should be all about spending it on what YOU want. It’s more about telling your money where to go rather than pinching pennies.

  2. Love it! You define it very well. :)
    I think it comes down to being wise; wise in managing your household, wise in shopping, cooking, organizing planning, everything! I often pray for wisdom, especially when grocery shopping!
    In Australia we don’t have coupons like Americians seem to have. Occasionally I come across them (in the newspapers, websites, junk mail etc) but rarely use them. If its an item I wouldn’t normal buy, I don’t see the point, even if it’s a great deal. 😉
    Hoarders makes me get very anxious, I know I shouldn’t watch it, but I do feel more in control afterwards, lol!

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