The Line Between Frugality And Deprivation Is Determined By Your Values

For some, washing and reusing plastic freezer bags is a good way to save money, but others consider it an extreme measure. Ditto making your own cleaning products or drying clothes on a line. Personal finance weblog Mr Money Moustache maintains that the line between wholesome frugality and extreme deprivation depends on our personal values and how much stock we take in societal norms.

Photo by tanakawho

Those norms can vary from co-workers encouraging you to go out to lunch every day, the belief that only poor people dry clothes on a line, or that everyone needs a top of the line computer/TV/etc.

In some cases, imposed frugality can change your values.

An extreme example of this is the Great Depression. In the 1920s much of society was living very materialistic, even luxurious lives. In the 1930s many suddenly found themselves struggling to find enough food and stay warm, let alone have a job or even luxuries. They didn't volunteer for deprivation but they quickly became extraordinarily frugal and managed to cope with the trauma.

Those people saw their values changed virtually overnight. Even after WWII when prosperous times returned many who lived through that age refused to let go of their extreme frugality and use their savings to improve their lives after retirement.

The important take-away is that the difference between an action being merely frugal or desperately cheap depends on your values. Perhaps you're saving every nickle and dime to retire early and travel by RV; it that case every luxury postponed now gets you closer to your departure date.

Frugality can be empowering as it allows us a way to exit the rat race without hitting the lottery or waiting for your well-to-do elder relatives to kick the bucket. It's only deprivation if your frugality has no long-term goal.

Frugality is Not Deprivation [Mr Money Moustache]


    The attitude that using a clothes dryer is somehow better than hanging them out on a clothesline annoys me greatly. Clothes dryers have a single advantage to the sun: convenience. In every other possible way, putting your clothes in the dryer rather than hanging them on the line is worse.

    (1) The sun doesn't use electricity
    (2) The sun's rays kill everything - your clothes end up fresher and more hygenic. This contrast is most evident in bedlinen.
    (3) The sun is silent
    (4) A clothesline is very inexpensive to buy, install or maintain, compared to a dryer.
    (5) A clothesline can dry more than one load at a time
    (6) The sun doesn't cause further wear and tear by tumbling your clothes about.
    (7) You don't have to clean the sun's lint filter
    ... I could go on

      Dryer works when it rains...
      Or in the snow...
      And at Night...
      The towels end up fluffier....
      The clothes are nice and warm to put on....
      More difficult to steal underwear from a clothes dryer....
      And my daggy undies are hidden from the world
      Sex is better on a dryer....

        Dryer works when it rains…

        I have an indoor air dryer for the few days a year where I can't get my clothes dry on the outside line. They almost always dry over night using this method. And that's not having them in a room with a heater.
        My mum has a line under her patio so can dry her washing outside even if it is raining.

        Some people are just lazy.

    The sun doesn't create a fire hazard. Well if it goes supernova, but that will be many millions of years in the future.

    Sometimes its an environmental factor not a monetary one

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