That is the last thing you expect to read on a personal finance blog right? The only way to success is through single ply toilet paper and driving a pinto right?
WRONG. Soooooo WRONG.
Frugality is a word that needs to be killed off in my opinion. Struck from the language of any personal finance responsibility advocate.
Because it is associated with deprivation and that makes most people give up before they start. For so long the word has been associated with “going without” and “lesser quality of life” that it is past the point of no return. We are better off just killing it. BOOM. DONE. GONE. It’s an uphill battle to change the mind of an entire culture that is embedded over so long.
What does this leave us with to make people be more responsible? What word or words should we use?
Easy. OPTIMIZE. This word makes most people think of engineering or technology but at it’s core it just means to make better. You can optimize all aspects of your life and achieve the same financial result as frugality (not extreme frugality, though you could argue for extreme optimization). This word sounds good, it sounds smart, seems like a good choice, great way to live! Say it out loud both ways with me one time:
“I want to live a frugal life”
You sound like the scrooge, admit it. Sounds terrible. Don’t believe me? Ask 5 random strangers or friends what they think of when you say that today and see for yourself. Now let’s try this:
“I want to lead an optimized life”
That sounds awesome doesn’t it? Like you are a smart person who has the world at their fingertips. You have limitless possibilities. You are both nimble and intelligent, this can permeate to all aspects of your life.
Sounds good? I think so. Hopefully you do too. What are some examples of optimization that doesn’t lessen quality?
MVNO’s. These are essentially wireless service resellers, some examples are Xfinity and Cricket wireless. With Xfinity you are piggy backing on Verizon’s network at fraction of the cost, virtually no downsides to speak of – just less cost. Cricket is the same thing but with AT&T.
An automotive example of optimizing is buying a 2-3 year old vehicle with low mileage vs buying new. You still get mostly modern safety features and technology/reliability but somebody else takes care of the most massive upfront depreciation costs. For example a 2015 Mercedes C300 that had an MSRP of $50,000 can often be found as of this writing for $25,000 with as little as 20,000 miles on the odometer. That is a 50% discount that allows you to bask in opulent luxury for the price of a new Toyota! But it’s probably not fuel efficient right? WRONG! This specific vehicle gets 34mpg highway! That isn’t going to topple your Prius mileage wise but you will be much more comfortable in the process. Remember, we are talking about optimization – not frugality. One sounds terrible and the other sounds good for a reason.
That isn’t to say the Prius is all bad and I know many people love them. But if you have driven both, which I have, the choice is clear which one is more pleasurable to drive and likely to live with.
Those are just a couple simple examples of optimization, which is what we are all about. What do you prefer?
Let’s do the math
Calculate your mortgage or work with the compound interest to see what it can do to expedite your wealth building.