Words are wonderful. Each with their own meaning and interpretations. Frugal for instance, just a 6 letter word, is a way of life for some. When you focus your lifestyle around one single concept, one single word. There is risk that you are missing out on the bigger picture. Luckily there is a system of checks and balances you yourself can use, by looking at the antonym of a word, in this case frugal.
First let’s define this all encompassing life choice of a word.
Frugal – economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful:
What is an antonym?
Simply, the opposite meaning of a word.
Aspiring for that frugal life
Living a frugal life comes with a whole host of benefits. You live more simply, focusing less on what you “need” and more on what makes you happy. Being frugal allows you to save more of your money and invest that into your future where a life of early retirement or financial independence lies in wait.
The argument arises though, what about the now? Being frugal in today’s world implies a few unfavorable synonyms:
And the list goes on…
Ouch. Unfortunately I have had some first hand encounters with 1 or more of these words before in my own life. When starting something it is easier to go full force, gung-ho, freight training your way to victory. Unawares of the knocked over bowling pins of people you battered aside in your own frugal pursuit.
Going too far on one side is called extremism, it might be appropriate to pull a definition for this one as well, but we aren’t focused on this word right now. To prevent going to “the dark side” or not being an overly annoying “goody two shoes” a balance needs to be struck.
To be or not to be…frugal
Oh great frugal antonyms, guide us to our salvation.
Well, this isn’t a good start. Maybe, just maybe, I deserved some of those frugal synonyms. Those following the frugal path may not be thought of as generous. The aim after all is to not spend a lot on stuff.
I’ve even been called out by HerFI on this. For example I am hesitant to give to charities because I don’t know how that money will be used. Will all of it truly be used efficiently and without waste? Are the charities frugal with their donations? The money control demon in me wants to see where the money is actually being used.
Strike two! The odds are not in my favor here. This is a hard one for me.
When I can see where the money is going, I am more inclined to be generous and charitable. Buying a drink for a friend or taking them out to lunch. Small acts of kindness that I can still balance with being a tightwad. This is something I want to work on though, as there are some amazing charities out there worth giving to.
Charities can also be a way to give gifts during the holiday.
We simply need to work towards being more…
Is there one single positive antonym for frugal? Alas, the goal of frugality is to achieve one’s own goal of saving money. The goal for that can be unclear at times. My goal is to save more money to put into investment accounts to provide a secure future for myself and my partner.
The problem is if I live my entire life being frugal, what’s to stop me from being any different when I’ve reached my arbitrary goal? I believe in practicing habits now, so that they carry over when you’re older.
Cause ain’t no kid going to teach this to-be old man any new tricks.
At least we aren’t keeping up with the Joneses and buying crap we think we need based solely on what our peers our buying. Which leads me to the next opposite words.
Lavish, Extravagant, Luxurious
A frugal person isn’t flashing their money around. In fact most just assume we’re broke. It’s funny what we associate wealth to in this society. Extravagant houses, lavish cars, luxurious possessions. Yet, if we had our net worth stamped on our foreheads like a game of Heads Up then people’s assumptions would drastically change of one another.
Why is this? Because it is highly probable the frugal person, making half the income, has a higher net worth than the “wealthy for show others”. Hell, they could be making more and just not look it. The old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” holds even more truth in today’s day and age.
I think we all have choices to make though.
Prioritizing life choices fine-tuned to the individual and not trying to do it all at once is what keeps you under that excessive line.
Parts of your life can and should look luxurious. There are those things that really are important in your life and that you do value. The person across from you may not understand, but remember it’s your life.
I’m not what I think I am, I’m not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am.”
Take a moment to read that quote, then give it a second to resonate.
The tight-rope of life that we all must walk, has to be a balanced one. Free from worry of the judgment of others.
The moment you lose balance is the same instance in time where that life choice leads down an unsustainable, uneconomical path. Living below your means is somewhat of a foreign concept to the Joneses. Yet it is of absolute importance, especially as someone who is striving for Financial Independence.
Life moves fast, routines are established, and changes come at you with every corner traversed. Then it goes without saying that the same re-evaluation of your life needs to happen after each chapter in that unwritten book we call life.
We must stay economical with our life.
This post has shifted from things to being. Yet, wasteful applies to both so well.
We must not be wasteful with our items. Purchasing with intent and value driven decisions will lead to money savings.
We must not be wasteful with ourselves. Time is the enemy and every decision we make leads us down a road. Let’s just make sure it’s the road we want to go down. Waste not your life with regrets.
We are back to the word at hand. As we’ve seen, there are many positive and negative associations with this word.
Does it make this a bad or good word?
It comes back to that tight-rope. What checks and balances are you implementing in your own life to make sure you don’t fall down?
Frugal can truly help you live a wonderful life, but it can also destroy everything around you.
With such great power, how will you wield it?