Frugality is everywhere. It’s on TV, in the papers and certainly on the internet.
But that doesn’t mean that frugal folk stand out any more than your average American. Often, frugality is completely behind closed doors.
I come across a wide cross section of society in the course of my job as a hospital nurse. I was caring for an East African woman a few weeks back and sure enough, the subject of frugality came up. I explained the measures my family takes to live inexpensively, and her response was, “Oh, but there are no other Americans that live that way.”
This got me thinking about how I might appear to someone who would simply be taking me at face value.
Because I live in a large house in a desirable neighborhood, to a stranger it would be a safe assumption that we are the Joneses. The outward appearance of our lives would appear as anything other than your typical mall shopping, credit card swiping average American.
Of course, you know better. You know that we cook inexpensive meals from scratch, shop thrift stores for almost all our needs, shy away from pricey gift giving and do almost all of our home improvement projects ourselves.
Of course, there is the opposite situation where people appear to live in luxury yet are actually swimming in debt. This, we expect. This, is covered quite nicely in the media. This, people expect from Americans.
But the secretly frugal are not on people’s radars as much. We exhibit no stereotypical signs of poverty such as run down cars and grubby clothing. We appear to be living the American dream.
No wonder my patient thought there were no frugal Americans.
Do you feel like your frugality is behind closed doors? Are you private about the financial choices that allow you to appear to be living beyond your means? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”