Why you should never feel self-conscious about being frugal

by: Claire Murdough

Almost everyone tries to save money when they can, but it can be embarrassing to reach for your coupons when you’re out with your friends. It’s like there’s something uncool about saving money. But frugality doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and you should never feel self-conscious about it.

I’ll admit upfront—I’m usually “the frugal” one in any given group. Aside from working at a company that lives and breathes personal finance, I’m also not a big spender by nature. In that way, it’s been easy to maintain my frugal tendencies. Though my affinity for saving isn’t something I’m actively spieling about in everyday conversation, it definitely manifests in my actions. Unfortunately, there’s a common theme I’ve noticed as the frugalista figurehead—frugality isn’t always given the high-five of awesomeness in social settings.

It’s not easy to stand by your tendency to save when others around you are putting on the pressure to spend. On more than one occasion, my decision to save rather than spend caused me to feel judged or isolated from others—even when my saving strategy had zero impact on another person’s life or experience. During those times I also felt the need to excuse my desire to save and defend my frugality.

Which brings to question… when did frugality become such a bad thing?

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve felt the need to defend your frugality, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Frugality has become equated with cheapness, with stinginess, with dullness. Not exactly painting a positive picture for anyone looking to save a few pennies. There’s something considered inherently “uncool” about saving money. This, despite the fact that being financially sound (and beyond) is considered an important pillar of professional and personal success.

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