April 29, 2008, 10:16 pm
Filed under: 20something, About me, Frugality

Earlier this evening, I was walking back to my apartment from my local Ben and Jerry’s scoop shop with an ice cream cone in one hand and Honey’s lease in the other and I asked myself, why do I live frugally? Today was free cone day at Ben and Jerry’s and as soon as I got home from work and gathered up my dog, I booked it for my free ice cream. I was scrambling to get in line before 7pm, the official end of their generosity. When I finally got my cone a little past 7 and I began walking home at a leisurely pace, I realized that I didn’t need to go to all the trouble I went to for an ice cream cone. After all, a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s is only three or four bucks. Why was I trying so hard to save a few measly dollars? Why am I constantly trying so hard to save money? Some of my readers may be asking the very same questions so I thought it wise to outline why I choose to live frugally.

I am young, quite young in fact, and I know that I have plenty of time to worry about all things financial. But I also realize that my youth affords me time to optimize my smart moves and to neutralize my bad ones. Compound interest is on my side and I plan to take full advantage of it so that I can reap the most rewards. I’ve chosen the art of frugality to free up my money so that I can put as much of it into savings as I can and watch it grow over the years.

The strongest driving force behind my frugal efforts is the simple fact that I don’t have money to throw around. Not surprisingly, my two part time jobs don’t afford me all the luxuries life offers. Yes, I could use my credit card to satisfy my urge for new things or better quality, but spending more than you earn is one of the stupidest things you could ever do. You will pay at least double the original purchase price in interest and dig yourself into a hole that you may never get out of. I honestly don’t think I will ever make a lot of money because those of us who enter the field of liberal arts rarely do. We follow our passions and manage with whatever compensation we can receive from them. I came to terms with that fact a long time ago and have begun functioning financially in that mind set.

The desire for a strong financial future goes hand in hand with a frugal lifestyle. I don’t want to have to worry about how I’m going to pay for things when I’m older. Having bulging savings accounts offers that peace of mind. I want to eventually be financially independent so I can stop working whenever I want if I’m unhappy with my job or if I decide to have a baby and be a stay at home mom. I would like to retire early, pay for a car and or a house in cash (or mostly cash), travel extensively, and pay for Jake’s and my wedding in full. The only way I can meet all of these goals is if I don’t waste my money on things that are temporary and hold no greater significance. Every dollar that is spent on things that are outside of my goals set me back. 

Pure and simple, wasting my money today wastes my chances of having a satisfying future. A frugal lifestyle is more than just a way to squeeze out the money I need for bills. It gives me the blinders I need to stay focused on the things that will continue to matter to me for the rest of my life.