When I was about 12, I really wanted a pair of Converse All-Stars. I don’t remember how much they cost exactly, but it being Denmark in the 90’s and they being imported, I am sure that they weren’t cheap. My mother thought they were too expensive and didn’t agree to buy them and instead offered to get me a similar pair of shoes, without the brand at probably half (or less) the price. I wasn’t happy about the decision and obviously it made an impact, as I remember it until today.
I like to think of myself as frugal and not cheap, but sometimes gets confused of where the line really goes between the two? I have gotten so used to think twice about my purchases, to thinking more “no” than “yes”, that sometimes I have to stop and think, why it is that I do all this. Is it the frugal way or am I just being cheap?
It is a very fine line between the two and can at time be hard to see the difference. I found this quote online that I think puts it very well: “Cheap people are driven by saving money regardless of the cost; frugal people are driven by maximizing total value, including the value of their time.” And that is how I see the distinction most fitting when it comes to my way of thinking and behaving.
I see it like this that on one hand, I spend my money carefully, because they have a limit that I don’t want to overstep. On the other hand, I like to consider the value of my money and of the things that I buy. My wish is to spend my money on where they matter the most, off where I get most value out of them and where they don’t go to waste. It is not saving money for the purpose of saving money, but rather to prioritized my money in a way that I am the most effective with the time earning and will make an effort to spend them according to the priorities I have set for myself (and my family). Or in other words: I want a life where by spending less I can work less, thus freeing up time to do the things I really appreciate. When looking at it like that, it makes sense for me to be frugal (but not cheap!)
So, while my 12-year-old self was not happy about my mother’s decision, my 37-year-old self, would agree with her totally! Today I am quite sure that I would make the same decision she did then and probably that is prove that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…..