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Is there such a thing as "too frugal"?

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  • I just read a great post over at Owlhaven, in which she wondered at which point frugal becomes too frugal.

    http://www.owlhaven.net/2008/12/09/is-there-a-point-at-which-frugal-becomes-too-frugal/

    It made me wonder the same thing. So I thought I'd ask you... where do you draw the line when it comes to being frugal?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 10th December 2008
  • The word for "too frual" is "miserly", and of course there's such a thing. I don't think it's something we see a whole lot of here in North America, though...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 14th December 2008
  • This is something I get asked a lot in connection with Want Not, and my answer is always the same: It's too much when you feel deprived and monetarily there's no reason for it. (And I mean adults, here---my kids always feel deprived!) If your frugality is interfering with your enjoyment of life, it's a problem.

    I agree with MaryP that it's something we rarely see 'round here. Most Americans have such an overblown sense of entitlement that they feel deprived even when they're living far beyond their means.

    The husband and I had a spirited discussion about my clunker of a car the other day. He was arguing that if I want a new car, I should buy one. I was trying to explain to him that although I would love a new car, it's not important enough to me to give up the money in the bank. If I could afford a car and not buying one made me unhappy, that would be stupid. But if I can afford a car and don't feel like I need one, that's frugal! :)
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mir Kamin on 15th December 2008
  • I agree that "too frugal" is when you become mean and stingy. If you will not reach out to those less fortunate, even though you are able to, you are "too frugal." If you become so concerned about saving money that it consumes you and becomes almost an addiction, you are "too frugal." Also, if it becomes an unneccesary embarassment to your children (i.e. you make them wear ugly, homemade clothing when you really could affort otherwise and they are mercilessly teased for it), you are "too frugal."
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mom2Rylie on 15th December 2008
  • I think Mir kit it on the head -- if frugality is interfering with your enjoyment of life, it's a problem. Completely agree.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 17th December 2008
  • No. I don't think that there is anything like being too frugal especially in today's economy where people are losing jobs left and right
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nonye Adeyemo on 22nd December 2008
  • I agree with most of the posts. If your saving interferes with your comfort and enjoyment of life, then you are too frugal. This, however, only applies if you have a choice. If you are very broke, then you have no choice and this is not frugal. I grew up with a very frugal father so believe me, I know how terrible this is. During the summer, he would not use the AC and winter he would hardly use any heat, although he has a very high paying job. We were so incredibly uncomfortable all the time and I was sick all winter long throughout my whole life. The doctor told him it was because our house was too cold and he said that the doctor didn't know what she was talking about. And yes, he refused to make the house comfortable for guests and all the guests would complain nonstop. A couple of years ago my mom threatened to move out if he did not start using the AC as she would live her summers sweating all day long. This is not it, though. When his $2 pair of flip flops broke, he refused to buy new ones and used a twisty tie from a bread bag to hold them together, much to the horror of me and my mother. He just recently was forced by my moms family to buy her a new car because hers was from the 70's and a total death trap. So, I have grown up frugally and it sucks on many levels. I am very good with money and great with saving but far from frugal! I like to be comfortable and have some fun, although my dad tries to stop me whenever he gets the chance.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 5th January 2009
  • When frugal means you are miserable, it's too much. I think it is more a game to see how we can get what we need (warmth, comfort and food) without overspending. Leaving the heat on and the doors open is spending too much. Having the A/C at 50 degrees when it is 102 outside is a little overboard.

    Overspending is the opposite of frugal. I think being smart spender is much better. This leaves us with more resources to do things for our kids, give to those in need and help relieve the stress and burden of worrying about money.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by chobbs on 17th January 2009
  • oceans mom, your dad was not "frugal" he was the dictionary definition of a "miser"..
    however, it sounds like you've got "frugal" down pat in your household..
    this, she is a good thing..
    ;)
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by porch on 31st January 2009
  • I agree with you about not being happy or when oone is mean... IMHO, too frugal is also when it is dangarouse. I remember reading in a frugal contest about soeone going in the back road to aviod highway fees when his wife was in labor.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yafa on 31st January 2009

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