What is "Frugal", Anyway?

My wallet. Not pictured: money.

My wallet. Not pictured: money.

You may be reading this blog and thinking “Frugal Adventure Field Guide? I see the adventure, but where’s all the frugal? This guy just talks about going outside and stuff”.

You’re correct, of course. I haven’t directly touched on the whole idea being frugal much yet. However, there’s a method to my madness:

  1. I wanted to kick things off with exciting posts about fun topics, not a lengthy dissertation on the core tenets of frugality and financial independence.

  2. Thousands of blogs already exist which talk extensively about being frugal, saving money, FIRE*, and all that jazz. I had an inkling that a good chunk of you would already have read a few of these. Starting with fun adventure stuff was my priority.

Nonetheless, I do want to start talking about frugality and how it all ties into the whole “adventure” thing. Otherwise this would be the “Ritzy Adventure Field Guide”, and that just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Like it or not, being in control of your money is a great advantage to adding more fun and adventure into your life. It gives you flexibility to live your life the way you want, and have the freedom to have amazing experiences.

WHAT DOES FRUGAL MEAN?

“Ok, ok, so what is frugal anyway? And how can being frugal make my life exciting when it sounds like it would make my life boring?”

First off, take a deep breath and calm down! I’m feeling some confrontation and elevated feelings! Talking about money can make the best of us a little tense, but let's avoid that here and talk about it in a level-headed, objective fashion.

Now that we’ve all found our center, let’s lean into this**:

Frugal seems like an easy word to define, yet when it’s put into practice we can find a million different interpretations of it. When I conjure up a definition for frugal, this is what I see:

“Using your money and resources wisely to get the most from what you have, while not living outside your means”

To me, this is a good distillation of the philosophy of being frugal. Pretty straightforward, but I intentionally left it a bit vague to the point where it could be interpreted in many ways. For example:

BEING FRUGAL, THREE WAYS

  1. Jack loves coffee, and likes to get the best bang for his buck. He always orders the largest size latte at the coffee shop because the price per ounce is cheaper.

  2. Jill loves coffee, and always brews hers at home each morning because it is cheaper than ordering it at a shop every morning.

  3. Jaime loves coffee, but only brews one cup per week so she doesn’t spend too much money on her habit.

Which person is being frugal? You could make the case for each case, but how frugal you are depends on your goals. Everyone has different goals in life; a person trying to retire by age 30 will have very different spending habits than someone simply saving for a vacation.

And, by the way, this is not an early retirement blog. Its a blog with advice on how to do fun stuff when you aren’t a millionaire. For insight into my perspective, I’ll tell you that my wife and I are definitely into the financial independence / early retirement mindset. However, I recognize not everyone is, which is ok! The main goal of being frugal with our adventures is to do more of them and destroy the obstacles in the way of getting started.

PUTTING THE “FRUGAL” IN FRUGAL ADVENTURE FIELD GUIDE

So, when I talk about being frugal, it's all with the goal of being able to do more fun stuff with your time. What is frugal about this blog?

  • Being a smart shopper on adventure gear and getting the best value

  • Having a DIY attitude in life and travel (think cooking your own meals and planning your own trips)

  • Cutting out needless spending and putting the money saved into adventures

  • Not spending more money than you make, having savings and living debt free

  • Much more, of course!

I hope you’ll be inspired to put your money where it counts as I explore more topics related to being frugal. I will try to make money posts as “not boring” as possible.

Until next time, happy adventuring!




*Never heard of FIRE? I will definitely dedicate a post to it eventually, but in the meantime give it the search engine treatment to get the basics. If you’re intrigued, I highly recommend Mr. Money Mustache, the blog which greatly helped the “FIRE movement” hit the mainstream.

**White collar buzzwords are ALWAYS entertaining