Extreme frugality is a practice that a few of those hardcore misers do to take "cheap" to the next level. In its very essence, it is saving money. There is nothing wrong with saving money rather than throwing it away a dollar at a time. But the core question is how much are you willing to do and willing to give up?
There are different levels of comfort that we're used to. Sure, families all over our country are giving up their luxuries like expensive clothes shopping, the occasional fine dining and the like. Some go for the extra mile and are giving up what they call 'essential' luxuries; they are switching to generic names from their usual brand of food, not stopping by to Starbucks for their daily 'lattes and cappuccinos to-go', and going to thrift stores to get everything they need. But there are those that take frugality to the next level by taking a bus or riding a bike to school or work, brown bagging instead of eating out at lunch, skimping on grocery and always on the look out for clearance sales and double coupon days.
Take for instance a young man in Albuquerque who has attempted to live in his car for a few months to save money. His daily routine is waking up and driving a block to his University, showers at the gym, immediately attends classes, and goes to his part-time work. His free time include doing yoga, playing his guitar, rock climbing, and planning his next step on how to go further, as well as planning how to stretch his food.
Another family is giving up their car, permanently or temporarily, while gas and food prices are at an all-time high. Some are watching their budgets by taking on part-time work aside from their day job. There are families that water down their orange and apple juice, eat rice and beans for a week or two, and concoct whatever dishes from what's currently stocked in the pantry.
Because every family has their own tolerance level, we need to think about what we can and cannot live on. Saving money is successful if you're able actually adapt to the frugal lifestyle you made for yourself. Sometimes taking frugality to the next level will backfire on you, leaving you feel stressed, unhappy and very deprived. It will take a toll on your daily life and relationship with the family, especially if your spouse doesn't agree with your way. It can also anger your children, or have them feel as if you're not supposed enjoy what you have. Taking things to the extreme is not always a good idea, as there's always something bad that's going to happened around the corner. Rethink your options, search more ways to effectively save money and cut costs. There's a difference between being smart and frugal and just plain unnecessary suffering by giving up all the comforts in life.
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