FIRE.061 Super Frugal – Upper Frugal

After my one-step below cool post I realized my wife and I have a lot of stuff.  Even though we live in a really small house(s), we still have so much stuff.  Things accumulate over decades with two people who don’t like to get rid of useful—or historical—stuff.

I know in so many ways I am frugal, but reading about vacation homes and muscle cars seems to distort the frugal picture.  I then started thinking about people who are super frugal and live a VERY low cost of living.  People who spend—or plan to spend—in the teens of thousands per year.  People who ride bikes instead of driving in order to spend less.  Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that there is so much to love about cycling for transportation and/or exercise.  I even heard on a podcast with an endurance runner who doesn’t own a car, that he runs to appointments and to/from dinner with friends, even if it’s 7 miles away.  It’s just his lifestyle.

This all made me think, is the American way of frugality scalable?  Can there be different levels of frugal?  I believe the answer is yes.

If the definition of Frugal includes “economical and prudent in spending,” CHECK.  If you add” not wasteful.”  CHECK.  If you add “entailing little expense and requiring few resources, meager.”  Hmmm?

It seems there really can be different levels of Frugal.  There may even be a ratio to “middle-class.”

  • Think about Frugal people.  Maybe Millionaire Next Door types.  People who buy what they need, do not require fancy items and keep the items for long periods of time.
  • Think about the lives of the Super Frugal.  Maybe the Early Retirement Extreme lifestyle where people are skilled enough to do most tasks themselves so they save money.  These are people who require very little spending money to have an acceptable lifestyle.  Just a different take on spending wisely.
  • Now for my current category, Upper Frugal.  People who spend wisely on the things they need, as well spending wisely on the extra wants in their life.  It’s not “few resources” level of frugal, but is definitely “economical” and “not wasteful.” This may be the one-step below cool.  (Question: is this one-step below Frugal; cool, or one-step below “I spend like crazy and show off; ‘cool.’”)  In my thoughts, Upper Frugal may be a smart spender from the Upper Middle-Class range.

Hmmm…Does income or net worth, or rather spending/stuff determine someone’s class level?  Which one?

Often people seem to judge—or get it into their head’s, some opinion—of others and their actions.  That may not be the greatest activity.  I feel it’s fine to review situations and get a feel for them, but judgment is not the best quality.  Understanding and especially learning from situations is critical to improvement.  Experiences let you prepare and pre-judge situations to best position yourself for your most favorable outcome, but it may not be the best place for judgment.

My takeaway: Some people spend more than you.  Some people spend less, or FAR less than you.  They may have their reasons and their own path in life.  Watching, understanding and learning from everything could be the best way to move forward and progress.

*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice.

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