Why you don’t have to be Budget Poor to Live a Frugal Life

Frugal life empty wallet(1)YOU DON’T KNOW THEIR STORY


Living a frugal life doesn’t mean that you have to be budget poor because many people are frugal shoppers no matter how much they earn.

If we spent all of our energy worrying about what other people should or shouldn’t do we wouldn’t progress as well as we should in our own lives. Why? Because time wasted on things we can’t control makes no sense.

Oddly enough this is what people do sometimes when they don’t have motivation to do better, are jealous of other people or simply like to complain.

Jealousy typically boils down to money or time and if you are someone who has too much or not enough you are going to hear about it from someone at some point throughout your life. You either have too much money to do what you do or too much time to look as good as you do.

I’ve overheard people talk about someone who spends money buying nice things but the fact is, maybe they CAN afford to do so. Why are you judging them? Is it because they earn a good income and you don’t?  That’s never fair.

The same goes for someone who is on a very limited income. If they aren’t wearing the best of clothes or driving a fancy car are you too good to understand just how tough it might be for them regardless of why they are in such a situation?

Most people don’t care either way because it’s easier to complain than it is to have compassion and motivation to be a better person. A crappy personality never gets people anywhere.


Budget Poor vs Budget Rich


Being budget poor could mean that you are making ends meet by living on a budget and spending exactly what you earn, more than you earn or less than you earn. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a rich life either.

It may also mean you struggle to balance your budget and pay the bills every month living on a tight budget. You may take from one pile to pay for another. At the end of the day the bills are paid in full, partly paid or ignored.

There are zero to limited savings at the end of the month once everything is paid.

Budget rich may mean that you spend less than you earn and you have excess cash in the budget to divide towards your investments and savings every month. Not many people have this luxury in life and if they do there are many factors that contribute to it. It doesn’t happen over night.

There may be excess savings at the end of the month once everything is paid.

The word ‘Rich‘ really means nothing at all though aside from what society deems as the ability to do what you want, when you want with limited consequences. That to me is filthy rich and will never have to worry, we’re talking millions.

It’s just a word because rich means something different to everyone. Whether you are part of the working class, middle class or upper class we all have a richness in life that we understand and should appreciate. It’s love and not money.

If you asked me what living a frugal life meant I would tell you someone who watches how much money they spend. However that’s my interpretation, yours may differ.

Neither one of the above budgets are entitled to special treatment. Just like I mentioned in a recent post your savings account is NOT a sign of your wealth.


Living a Frugal Life


Just because someone has money in the bank doesn’t make you their spending spokesperson. Unless you know what the money is for or how it’s being spent you don’t know their wealth status.

You certainly have ZERO say in what someone can or can’t do to earn extra money or save money to build their wealth portfolio.

I know a woman who is under 30, owns 3 homes and she makes a fortune working from home selling clothes that she has picked up for free or cheap at a second-hand shop.

She’s not the only one either. You only have to look on Facebook to see how many people are cashing in on the extra savings using this tactic on Auction sites around Canada.

Most people don’t have nude half mannequins hanging around their closet you know. It’s purchased for one purpose, to showcase used or new clothing or jewellery for sale online.

People earn a comfy living on EBay using the same marketing tactics and they are enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Is it wrong?

You decide but as far as I know there is no law saying people can’t live a frugal life and save money. If the items she finds are free or she pays a bit for them then she can do whatever she pleases as long as it’s legal, which means she can sell them for a profit.


Free is for the Poor


I received an email the other day from a fan who was asking if we’ve ever received any negative feedback from picking up free stuff being offered online given the amount of money we have in the bank.

The reason she asked was that she received a not so nice message on Facebook by a member of a group she belongs to. She was told that she has no business being in the group and that it’s for poor people who need to live a frugal life and can’t afford anything. She was then instructed to buy it herself and leave the free stuff alone for other people who are struggling.


She doesn’t know the person who sent the message as they used a fake Facebook account. She can only assume the reason for the upsetting message was for one of two reasons:

  • Someone knows her and is jealous and is making assumptions of wealth.
  • Someone came to pick up a free offer from her house and again is making assumptions of wealth.

I live in what one would consider a well-to-do area in our city although we are NOT rich. My husband lost his job last year and it has set us back financially so it’s been a God send being offered free stuff for my family. In turn, I offer for free what we have around the house which we no longer use.

Just because someone lives or owns a house DOES NOT make them rich.

The reason she emailed me was to set the record straight and to say that just because someone owns a house doesn’t mean they don’t have debt like everyone else.

This CBB fan told me that she does budget every dollar and they make ends meet every month even though it’s tough. So, all the money gets used up but they aren’t in serious debt or owe money to creditors but they do have debt.

She also wants to know why people who believe they have less than others can be so cruel and angry sometimes and the same from those who have money?

Good question… only you can answer that though. Ask yourself what kind of person are you when it comes to treating people as equal when it comes to money?

She feels like she is being bullied out of the group because she lives in a prominent neighbourhood. Not all people with big houses can afford them though and although they could sell the house it’s not the right time for them.

Her husband is now back working and they are working to get themselves back above water financially. They still pick up free stuff when it is offered makes things a bit easier for them.

She wanted to ask me if I could discuss how people judge others based on what they have and that you don’t have to be poor or rich to live a frugal life. “Judging people is wrong”, she says.


I’ll take it if it’s Free


I’m the first to say that we pick up free items online often whether it’s from Kijiji or Facebook auction sites. We’ve even picked up plenty of items from Free-cycle, curbside or from our friends and neighbours.

I don’t care what anyone thinks! If it’s free and it’s offered to me and I can use it, I’ll take it. It’s silly to correlate how much money you have in the bank as to whether you should be awarded something free in life.

We are not broke as you can see from our net worth updates however we didn’t get where we are today by spending our money like water. There were plenty of times where our budget just paid the bills when I went back to school.

Not to mention we didn’t even budget we just spent the least amount of money we could so the cash wouldn’t run out. It was tight living that way but we did it.

At no point did we ever think to judge what others did with their money or how they found ways to save even if it was by getting freebies. It’s one thing to chew the system by scamming and another doing it honestly.

Over the years both of our incomes have increased and we managed to pay our mortgage off. Now that’s it gone and we have no debt we can save even more money. Will that stop us from living a frugal life? Not a chance. Will we still pick up free stuff? You bet! But, we will continue to donate as well.

Having a healthy bank account in the plus doesn’t mean the money isn’t waiting to be used up. Ours is taking a bit of a pit-stop before we make use of it and we will.

We have renovations to finish in the basement and around the rest of the house. I also have to max out my RRSP and TFSA which I have not done over the years.

We will see a large portion of our income being invested especially since the 2015 Federal Budget update yesterday with an 82% TFSA contribution room increase to $10,000 from the $5500 current total.

Life never gets easier it just gets comfortable but the bills still need to be paid even when the debts are gone.


Treat people equally


We’ve had plenty of people come to our house to do freebie pick-ups and not once has anyone said that we should back away because those freebies are meant for low-income families. At least not to our faces.

I believe when someone makes a judgment call based on where you live or what you have it’s very foolish of them. It’s not possible to dissect someones financial life without knowing how much money they have or debt load and even then you still don’t know anything.

Making assumptions that people are budget rich is just silly.

Even if someone was budget rich there’s no reason WHY they still can’t live a frugal life. You aren’t going to become successful financially if you aren’t spending less than you earn, kill debt and stashing your money in either investments, real estate or a business.

Stashing cash under your mattress counts for something too, however I would never suggest that. Just getting rid of debt may be your financial success and that’s fine too but you are still entitled to live your life the way you see fit.

Living a frugal life isn’t going to turn you into a millionaire either. Increasing wealth is a combination of many things, not just one thing.

In order to continue building your savings account you have to earn more, spend less and live a frugal life or at least watching how you are spending your dollars.

No one can rightfully define what frugal means aside from being money-conscious because frugal is one of those words that is not treated equally among people.

There are plenty of people we know that are frugal with their money yet we know they earn 6-figure incomes. I’m certainly not going to tell them what they can and can’t afford.

Would you tell your neighbour that you don’t think they should go to garage sales because they should be able to afford everything brand new? Probably not unless you have a serious bone to pick with them but I can assure you that you will lose.


Financial Bullying


If you believe someone is financially bullying you then talk to them directly, talk to a Facebook group admin or wherever you do your business to make them aware.

Some people may say leave the budget bullies to believe whatever they want because wasting your time isn’t worth it. It may be but they should be told to mind their manners even though most people who are like this won’t change. Although deep down we really do hope they do.

Bullying is never a laughing matter whether it happens at home, at work or at school. It’s a shame considering the bullying that is happening in the lives of our children in and out of the education system. This is how it carries on in life but if we catch it early and educate than maybe just maybe we can make a difference.

Besides, what you do with your money is no one else’s business but your own.

Have you ever had someone bully you financially or tell you leave the deals and freebies to the people who need them?

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  1. I don’t think anyone should judge anyone elses money situation, but we all do it. However, having said that, it is helpful to keep those judgments to ourselves while we fight those demons. In the meantime, let’s all just mind our own P’s and Q’s. We, and our neighbors, will be much happier for it.

  2. Mr CBB, you just made a good statement to differentiate budget poor and budget rich. I agree with you judging people is definitely wrong. People should just stop making judgement especially if it is a bad one. We should not based it on what we see and on anything else because there is more in what we see.

  3. I just found your site through Rockstar finance. Great post. It’s really easy and tempting to judge other people’s financial lives. But, unless it’s your own financial life, you never have the complete picture. Period. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones’, whether they have more or less than you. Live and let live. Thanks for a good read.

    1. That’s just it and too many people waste more time sticking their noses where they don’t belong when their own house needs to be cleaned up if you know what I mean. Jealousy can be very evil and doesn’t get anyone further ahead. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you around!! Mr.CBB

  4. That’s terrible that someone told your reader that they shouldn’t participate in the free share. That to me speaks more to the fact that some people have way too much time in their hands and waste too much energy being overly consumed with the activities of others. I don’t think anyone should feel like they make too much money to do things like that! After all, being frugal is a great way to help build savings in the first place! Like Taylor Swift says, “haters gonna hate hate hate hate” no matter what. Best to ignore them!

  5. I used to budget pretty close to the bone (by that I mean something like “I’ll reuse that tea bag and save some money!”). And I gotta tell you, it is a little exhausting to do this especially when you earn an income sufficient for you to live more comfortably.

    Plus, ew, weak tea…

    1. Ha, we tried that as we both drink lots of tea… it sucks!! Very weak and I like a proper tea. That’s one area I will NOT skimp out on especially considering the costs to buy it at the coffee shop.

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