In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been MIA, I’ve been sick for the past two days. I promise to be back in full force on Monday. Pinky swear! In the meantime, please enjoy this post from staff writer, Mitchell Pauly. On most days, you can find Mitchell blogging over at SnarkFinance.com.
Being frugal is like deciding to wear a giant feathered cap and a monocle. It might isolate you from people you formally knew as open-minded and caring, but you know you look awesome. Frugality isn’t exactly a national obsession on par with weight loss, fast food, and terrible catch-phrases, you feel me? In a country where the average person consumes about 1.7 tons of pork in a lifetime (fact), a little frugality is usually considered as strange as idolizing a Nobel Prize winner.
Yet, the U.S has these cultural obsessions in a macro-atmosphere of stagnant wages, elongating work days, and widening economic inequality. This is like dating a girl who throws knives at you, releases farts so harsh they kill plants, and refuses to shower any more than bi-weekly- yet you continue justifying your decision based on how she was in college. It’s over and she kind of sucks now.
Frugality is Isolating
This brings us back to frugality which can be socially isolating. I have personally lost a multitude of friends as a result of my frugal ways. We just want different things based on our view of American culture. They want to cultivate a group of friends and lifestyle on par with the D-bags in Entourage, date women who can’t see what is offensive about Carrie beaming with joy when Mr. Big shows her a large closet, and write 16-hour work days off as “hustling.” Good for them.
I want the freedom to use my time how I see fit. I want a lifestyle that is geared towards what makes me spiritually happy, not superficially. I want to participate in activities that challenge and engage me, and are in complete alignment with who I am and who I want to be around, not activities that are “synergistic” to my career (looking at you, golf and drinking). In fact, I don’t want to hear the word “synergistic” outside of an ironic context.
Frugality is My Business
As lonely as being young and frugal can be, it is ultimately my business why I am frugal. I mean this in layers.
- My focus is on my financial situation from a cash flow perspective, and frugality reduces spending.
- Frugality forces me to focus only on activities that better me. It forces me to utilize my time in more meaningful ways than inanely spending money like some consumerist zombie.
- My lifestyle and values are mine only. If someone has an issue with them that is their business… I will continue to run mine.
Discussing frugality and American culture is like comparing fine French dining to Chipotle: they are just two different approaches to the same thing—life. Chipotle takes the approach that more is better, making burritos that could double as mortar shells but not bothering to melt the cheese while fine French dining focuses solely on taste and quality. Chipotle therefore, is very American—large and filled with stuff with no regard to how it all should synergize into something ultimately more satisfying.
I guess what I’m saying is this: don’t be Chipotle burritos.
 Seriously, not melting the cheese? This should disqualify Chipotle from any discussion of Mexican food.
Why have you chosen to be frugal? Do you think that frugality is lonely?