Frugality is not About Deprivation-and Here’s Why

The following is a guest post by The Frugal Goddess. The Frugal Goddess is written by Annabel Ascher, a resident of Sonoma County California. She has lived a life of economic extremes, from great fortune to sudden poverty. She relearned the secrets of frugal abundance all over again when her circumstances changed in 2007. Faced with the death of her husband and loss of livelihood, she had no choice but to change her lifestyle.

When times got tough Annabel used everything in her frugal tool kit to develop a system that will work for anyone to save money, live well with limited funds, and eventually restore prosperity. Many people are now realizing that more  stuff does not equal more happiness. Let the Frugal Goddess show you how to live frugal, green, and happy!

When I tell people what I do there are several common reactions. Or perhaps they should be called misconceptions. One of the most common is the idea that frugal people live a life of deprivation. In fact the opposite is true. It is the spendthrift that ends up living a life a deprivation, especially in old age when it is too late to do anything about it.

If you look at the very rich, the families that were self-made in this generation were all extremely frugal when they were first amassing their fortunes. And the ones who came by their fortune in a previous generation always have a frugal ancestor. What you give up when you become frugal is not prosperity but immediate gratification. Just think about it—it is almost impossible to amass wealth and amass a pile of unsecured credit at the same time.

But doesn’t that mean that you must suffer a deprived life while you are in the building phase? Not necessarily. You may have to adjust your concept of fun and luxury a bit, but there are lots of ways to make yourself feel good without spending a bundle. All the best things in life may not be free but some of them are. Next time you get the urge to pull out your wallet for some passing fancy, go fly a kite. Hug a kid, or watch the moon rise instead. And think about how spending on something small but unnecessary today will keep you from buying that house or taking that big trip later. No, frugality is not about deprivation at all. It’s about having the patience and discipline to go after what you really want. For more info on The Frugal Goddess, check out


5 thoughts on “Frugality is not About Deprivation-and Here’s Why”

  1. I was brought up very frugally. I got what i needed vs. what I wanted. I more or less live the same as an adult and managed to achieve financial independence (38 y.o.). I am concerned that I will have a lot of difficulty changing from a saver to a spender when I retire again. I know it is a nice problem to have, but it is a concern.

  2. So very true. Here is my own example: I used to have a serious mac/gadget addiction. Every 12-18 months I had to have the latest and greatest powerbook, ipod, or whatever it was Steve Jobs was telling me I had to buy that year. Becoming frugal in 2008 led me to Linux, and the universe of open source software. My main machine today is 2007 Core Duo Dell Latitude laptop (purchased for the princely sum of 122 bucks off ebay, a similarly spec’d early macbook pro from 2007 is still around 600 dollars) running Linux Mint that does everything conceivable that I could ever want a computer to do. It is also my DVD player, and thanks to a USB tv dongle, can function as a tv. In addition to hulu, bbc iplayer (ok, I invested in a 60 buck per year VPN so I can trick the BBC into thinking I am in the UK-it is so very worth it). I can stream “free cable” (ok, its not really free cable, just an add on that aggregates every stream ABC, NBC, Discovery channel etc have online) with the 100% free xbmc. I also no longer buy music, if I want to listen to something I just go to youtube and find it. Its also possible to download and convert that flv or mp4 file into an mp3, though I avoid that as its a little to close to theft for me.

    Far from being deprived after giving up my mac addiction and going Linux and opensource I am actually overwhelmed with all the media/software choices out there for me. I’ve cut the cable bill completely, and cut out the Cupertino tax completely.


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