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Apologies in advance for the total lack of pictures today. The only camera I have is in my phone, and it’s not behaving itself at all today.

Stingy. Oh, that word just makes you shudder, doesn’t it?

Frugal. Did you have the same reaction?

Unfortunately, to many people the two have become interchangeable. I believe that frugal and stingy are VERY different from each other! Frugal has become a bad word in some circles, and it really shouldn’t be.

Frugality means being careful and thoughtful with money. Being frugal requires careful budget planning. It means avoiding impulsive purchases. It means spending less now so that you can save for the future.

Here’s a good practical example of frugality versus stinginess. I have $10 sitting in my wallet. Three options immediately come to mind: 1) Treat the kids to a snack at a fast food restaurant. 2) Hoard it. 3) Save it for now, then use it to pay the unemployed war veteran in the neighborhood who offers to wash the car.

Jim and I like option 3. Most of the time, at least.

Being frugal helps us to be generous. If we blow every dollar we have on (largely unnecessary) trivialities, we have nothing left to tithe at church or to give to a person in need.

Stinginess, on the other hand… if I was stingy I probably wouldn’t hire the man who was down on his luck.

Living the frugal lifestyle is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not a bad thing! Living frugally means being smart with money, not necessarily hoarding it.

In the past, I was ashamed of my aversion to spending money without planning. I thought I was stingy, because I hadn’t heard of frugality. I was raised on a college professor’s salary and  a grocery budget of $100 per week for a family of 6 didn’t seem strange to me.

Big purchases scare me. I was terrified to hand over the money for the first car Jim and I bought together. Shopping for our new refrigerator scared me too.

Now I can say that I’m proud to be frugal. I love finding ways to avoid unnecessary expenses! I love my “charming” money saving efforts such as line-drying our clothes.

It’s possible to live simply without feeling deprived. In fact, there are other blog posts out there about enjoying the small things and finding contentment in life.

Frugal, simple living.. now that’s something I can get behind.

In other news, I did try making the Raspberry Swirled Coffeecake with homemade freezer jam and lebneh yesterday. I was pretty unimpressed, but I made a few mistakes. I’ll try again and post about it in the future. What came out of the oven yesterday is not worth showing you a picture.