The Problem with Hyper Frugality

Written by Anthony Garcia   // September 7, 2011   // 1 Comment

Hyper Frugality

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written, but I’ve been putting something some thought into the strong emphasis on frugality that has become mainstream. Before I rant on what I think about frugality, I have to say that I think being frugal is prudent and an intelligent way to go about living. There are plenty of benefits one can gain from being frugal. For instance, building an emergency or rainy day fund, saving for retirement, saving for your kids college, and so  much more. The problem I have with hyper frugality, and by hyper frugality I mean that it becomes one’s primary focus in life, is that it can take away attention from one’s ambition.

Again, I must stress that being frugal has plenty of pros. But my issue with focusing on pinching every single penny seems to get more attention by many of us “personal finance blog” people than to think of ways of earning more pennies by taking on ambitious goals. If you have a regular 9-5 job it may keep you from realizing what you’re truly worth in the workforce. These are two critical elements that affect your personal finances.

Let’s start with the first topic - earning more money by taking on more ambitious goals. Obviously, all of us Americans, except those at the top of the economic latter, have had to cope with the reality that the American dream has become more of an elusive mirage than an actual mountain that you’re ready to climb. For those of us fortunate to have a job in an economy with an unemployment rate hovering above 9% it can be nerve racking and really difficult to find a good paying job that can provide for your basic living expenses and also provide you with a lifestyle that is fairly comfortable. Of course you can sell all your crap, which by the way I think Baker does an awesome job of helping people do this. Again, I completely support the notion of getting rid of all the stuff that’s unnecessary in life and focus on what’s important (good job, family, friends, taking care of basic necessities), but for the purposes of my argument I think we need to spend just as much time understanding and focusing on our potential to earn more.

If you want to earn more don’t limit yourself to what you know. The benefit of living in the modern era of communication through the internet is that you can learn to do what ever you want. I’ve seen many people create personal finance blogs as a way of boosting their income. Keep in mind it’s not an easy task and you don’t make money right away. When you do start making money, however, it won’t be much but it will indicate the potential you have with your blog and your next step would be to continue optimizing the blog so that you can earn more. By starting a blog you can learn so much about developing a website, design, search engine optimization, copy writing, and so much more. Of course this will take hard work and will require you to go out of your way to watch and read a bunch of tutorials, but in the end you will be able to develop your skills.

I use the blog example because this is something that I’m familiar with. You on the other hand can choose something you like and go for it. The information is out there it’s just a matter of how passionate you are about you want to do. The point being is that you should look for new things that excite you outside of your normal 9-5 or comfort zone in order to increase your income. You might surprise your self.

Your Value as a Worker

As I said before it’s typically considered a blessing to be working in a time when the unemployment rate is so freaking high, but there’s something to be said about those that are working – they are productive, very productive. It’s startling to see that although we’ve experienced probably the worst recession since the Great Depression company profits are astronomically  high, worker productivity has continually increased, and at the same time average salaries have not only stagnated but dropped. According to many discussing worker productivity and wage stagnation/drop this is an issues that predates President Obama, President Bush Jr./Sr., President Reagan, and President Nixon. So it’s safe to say we can probably avoid finger pointing at any particular party.

The more I write about this the more I find myself sinking into an entirely complicated topic about economics and politics and I’m sorry that I’m going to have to leave some of you hanging but I think I’m going to have to follow up this article with an entirely new article discussing the problems of dropping wages and the dying middle class in an age of increased worker productivity.

But I will wrap this up by saying if you want to settle for what you currently have in your career you will never be able to experience or achieve greater goals if you don’t know what you’re worth as a productive worker in this society. Granted if you have your dream job with equally rewarding compensation this article, and the follow up article is not for you.







  1. By John Dough, February 23, 2019

    eMoney, its nice to see you writing again. I agree with the fact that at some point, being frugal can take away from enjoying the money saved by that very frugality. Life is short, and during this period of remembrance,the point is driven home. Ambition should always trump frugality and the drive to learn more with the hopes to earn more is a point not lost on Americans. I look forward to your follow up post.


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