Strategic Frugality: Living a Frugal Life by Choice

Go Gingham: Strategic FrugalityFrugality usually falls under two categories.  People live frugally either out of necessity or because of a choice.  Strategic frugality is living frugally by choice. Living life the way you want to live it and having chosen to do so. It is a type frugal living that is thoughtful and decisive.  It is a conscious way to spend less money, waste fewer resources, have more time, and enjoy life more.

During the Great Depression, frugality was a necessity.  People had no choice and had to do without.  They had basically nothing.  There weren’t choices about how you could live.  People just needed to survive.  Today, people can and do choose.  Strategic frugality is a decision that guides you, something you go back to, again and again. It is a commitment to a certain way of life.  Buying less, saving more.

Most people, when they hear the word frugal, think it means coupon shopping.  Using coupons can be frugal, but it falls under the category of tactical frugality.  Tactics are steps you can use to help get you to your goal.  Tactics can help you achieve your financial and living goals but tactical frugality doesn’t get you to the real issue:  how you live your life.

My decision to launch this frugality blog came about because I found that frugality was usually depicted under three categories:

  • Coupon sites
  • Minimalist sites
  • Personal finance sites

None of these sites fit my criteria of an overall, strategic plan for frugality.  A place where budgeting, living, and having fun while living frugally all come together. These three types of sites are all really tactics.  Steps and activities you can take to reach your goals.  Don’t get me wrong, all of these sites will help you.  They just don’t always get to…

How you live your life.

That’s what this blog, Go Gingham, is about.  Slowing down, deciding to make do with less, fixing rather than re-buying, living below your means rather than beyond them, and enjoying more time for yourself, and more time with your family.  Having less technology in your life so you can enjoy life.  Getting back to cooking, sewing, gardening, reading, and quality living rather than working to pay for your spending habits.  Saying no to cable TV, Facebook, too much technology, over-scheduling, and microwave ovens to enable you and your family to say yes to more time together.

Deciding to live a strategic, frugal life isn’t always easy.  Strategic frugality takes self-discipline. It is always just easier to buy something new, receive immediate gratification, and pay for it later.  It takes self-discipline to be patient, to wait, to fix or mend, to think about your purchases, to try and find something used (or free) and to save for a future goal.  Those challenges are part of what can make frugality fun.

There, I said it.  I think frugality can be fun. 

Time to play games.  Bananagrams, anyone?Strategic Frugality - time to play games      Time to read more books.  Library books – galore!Strategic Frugality - time to read library booksTime for writing letters and thank you notes.Strategic Frugality - time to write letters

What do you think? Can frugality be fun?

Go Gingham related links:

Tried and true investing strategies
Just balance that checkbook! You can do it!
What does it mean to budget? Find out here
Frugal living is the key to saving
The problem with budgeting – yes, the problem!
How finances figure in frugality
How to save money on your smart phone bills – great tips from readers!
Why I love to home swap – it’s free!

8 thoughts on “Strategic Frugality: Living a Frugal Life by Choice

  1. I like the differentiation between being frugal out of necessity or choice. However, the term “strategic frugality” points to a “strategy”, whereas frugality for me is much more passive. I don’t “map out” or plan to save money. It’s the *lack* of action that saves the money. I *don’t* call the cable company to sign up. I *don’t* go test drive new cars at the showroom. I *don’t* go to the mall and window shop. Instead I just relax, make do with what is in the house, get resourceful with the stuff on hand. It’s more like “accidental frugality” – ha ha.

    And some might point out that using a microwave would technically save you time which you could then spend having fun with your family. I haven’t found another way to heat up a whole plate of different leftovers in less time, dirtying fewer plates, and using less electricity. Have you?


    1. I love the accidental frugality! As far as the microwave, I’m trying to promote slow families cooking slow food, eating fewer microwave ready prepared foods. Leftovers warmed up? We either eat them cold, use the toaster oven or stick it on the stove top. The stove top being used when the food is still in the pan from the meal. Yes, the entire pot goes in the fridge sometimes!


      1. Ah, a toaster oven. I could see that working in some cases. We don’t have a toaster or toaster oven. We use the broiler instead.

        I also reject microwavable pre-prepared foods. (I ate enough of those in high school, frankly. Remember Budget Gourmet meals in a cardboard box?) I mainly use the microwave to heat soup in the bowl (rather than using a pot, and *then* a bowl) or heat cider/coffee/cocoa without dirtying a pot. I’d love to get rid of the microwave when it gives out (it already blows the fuse when you try to use it in the summer – electricians agree it must be the microwave itself) and instead put in a double-oven. Now you’ve got me thinking…


      2. Good. Glad to get you thinking. By the way, we really give our toaster oven a workout and the one we have now has been the best in the last 20 years – Oster is the brand.


  2. Weston and I just went over the January budget today, we talk about spending trends and how not necessarily how to save but how to spend less. And when we look at making big purchases, such as a used sofa for the downstairs t.v. room we talk about want vs. need and employ patience in the decision making.

    I agree with Liana about the being frugal out of laziness and making do with things you have at home. Window shopping leads to wants which make you think you need something. You’ve been living your whole life without X and surviving, I think you’ll continue to live without it. This is true, unless of course we’re talking about yarn.

    Good post sistah!


    1. Ah, the yarn! Everyone must have a vice…
      Thanks for the comment and good job budgeting with your betrothed. Very wise to have those conversations before your wedding.


  3. Sara,
    Yes, yes, and yes. You don’t have cable so you probably have not seen the show “Till Debt Do Us Part”. I ran across it while making black beans in my crockpot (thank YOU!). What strikes me is how much happier these couples are when they decide how to live rather than falling into it on accident.

    And by the way, I LOVE the addition of GoGingham.com to your pictures.


    1. I have not heard of that show but I can imagine…Thank you for the comment and for noticing the pictures. By the way, I’m making beans in my crock pot right now!


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