Earlier this month one of my favorite personal finance bloggers, Bret Frohlich, wrote a terrific piece where he declared war on frugality and explained why frugality doesn’t always pay.
In fact, Bret’s post got me thinking about those who choose to take on a life of extreme frugality. Keep in mind that I’m not referring to people who dutifully cut coupons and grow their own vegetables.
Instead, I am talking about people who bring home roadkill for dinner, read by candlelight, and/or eschew heating regardless of how cold it is outside.
Why would anybody ever choose such a punitive lifestyle?
As I see it, there are three predominant reasons:
1. After living far beyond their means for too long, they discover themselves to be deeply mired in debt, like this college student who chose to live out of a pick-up truck.
2. They are committed environmentalists that are determined to try and “save the Earth”, like this lady.
3. They are fanatical, committed anti-capitalist knuckleheads that are determined to try and “save the Earth” – like the Freegans.
By the way, on their website, the proudly-unemployed Freegans unabashedly proclaim to us uninformed working-class sheep that not only does “working suck,” but it is “dehumanizing” as well.
Interestingly enough, in the very next sentence the Freegans go on to espouse, without the slightest hint of irony, the joys of dumpster diving. Go figure.
Those who practice extreme frugality do not have a monopoly on making life harder than it has to be.
And while it is important to invest in your financial future by doing everything you can to stick to a strict budget and stay out of debt, please don’t go so far overboard that you forget to invest in your quality of life as well.
Life really is too short to live like a refugee if you don’t have to.
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