Budget, Frugality

Firmly Standing On The Middle Ground

As I sat down tonight to work on our budget for February – using the awesome You Need A Budget – I noticed something:  I stand rather firmly on the middle ground.  Allow me to explain –

There are some folks who choose to live without television.  There are some folks who pay for every possible channel.

I have basic satellite service, with no premium channels.

There are some folks who do just fine without cell phone service.  There are some folks who have the very latest in cell phone technology – and the most expensive data plans to match.

I have a basic cell phone with a family share plan.

There are some folks who make everything they eat from scratch.  There are some folks who eat out – for every meal.

I carefully shop sales for groceries, but I eat out once or twice a week.

There are some folks who buy all of their clothing from thrift stores – and some who make their own.  There are some folks who wear nothing but designer clothes – and buy all of it brand new, on sale or not.

I buy new clothing that is comfortable, affordable, and durable.

I think you can see what I’m getting at.  When it comes to making choices about convenience goods and services, I’m not quite ready to give them up, but I don’t want to spend a whole lot on them, either.

Personal money management is really about finding balances.  We balance wants vs needs, time vs convenience, today’s desires vs tomorrow’s dreams, practical vs fun, even smart vs foolish.

This is an inexact science.  There are those who would analyze my budget – and wonder how in the world I could miss so many opportunities to save.  At the same time, I think that there are those who would look at it – and consider me thrifty.

I’ll probably never be a truly “frugal” person.  I prefer the convenience of certain products and services.  At the same time, I don’t think I’ll ever be defined as a “spendthrift” either.  Instead, I think I’ll always be firmly standing on the middle ground.

7 thoughts on “Firmly Standing On The Middle Ground

  1. I’m with you there. I think that for some of us, it’s more about the control aspect in that we have gained control over our finances and we can then allow smaller indulgences back in and still remain balanced.

  2. I too am in the middle. I do not have cable. I just get over the air HD channels. I do have instant netflix and Hulu plus. They cost me $20 per month combined and I get to see most of the shows I want plus tons of movies. I do however have an iphone with the data plan so that’s fairly extravagant. I rarely eat out but I do take 3 day weekend trips every few months so I am sure that’s a wash. I suppose it’s what’s personally important to you.

  3. Personal finance is all about those choices right? As the bell curve applies to most situtations like this, I imagine there are few at either tail end (super-frugal and super-spendy) and most of us fall into the middle somewhere>

  4. I think I’m in the middle, too. If I had to scrimp more, I would, but I like to spend reasonably for new clothes and things here and there.

  5. I think I am in the middle too, however y definition may be different. I have basic cable, no movie services, no land line and cell phone on family only. We groceries at the lowest price supermarket and buy personal and household items at Target or Costco. Purchase Gas at Costco because it is the lowest price and 3% rebate. We max out retirement savings and no debt except for a 15 year mortgage that has only 6+ years left. We managed to keep our expenses low and our only splurge is travel which we do using frequent flier miles and good hotel planning. If you would like to learn more how effectively reduce your expenses check my blog

  6. There’s no doubt I’m in the middle. It’s pretty much where I intend to be. Like you, I want a certain amount of convenience as long as it’s not too expensive. For me, balance is important. I want to save where I can but I also want to enjoy my life too.

  7. It’s all about the “middle”. As I’ve been slogging through my personal finance life, I’ve definitely learned that it’s all about moderation (like just about everything else in life). We try to live in the moment, but not before we make sure we are meeting our long term goals. We have smartphones, but only because we get a 25% discount and it’s important to us. We only have basic cable but have a $9.99 Netflix account that we use A LOT. We have a home phone but it has NO features. We have decent computers because it’s an emphasis area of our lives. (We spend a lot of time using computers at our house). We finally bought a 47″ LCD tv, but not until it reached what I considered “commodity pricing” of $899. We have one newer car, but also have an 11 year old one. Etc, etc. We are saving aggressively for our future, but we’ve also left a little room to enjoy today. For all I know, we could all die in an airplane crash, or we could live to 100. Either way, I don’t want to look back and think I blew it one way or the other.

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