I had a feeling I'd be disqualified if the answer were "not so frugal", so that was immediately out. The right answer, of course, would have been "extremely frugal", but I wanted to be honest, so I did a little soul searching before answering.
Just what makes a person extremely frugal? What guidelines can we use? Where do we draw the line? And... just what do those terms mean? What is "extremely frugal" and "not so frugal"? (And who knows what "fairly frugal" means? - email me!)
There are some things that go beyond extreme frugality. Being frugal or penny pinching to the point of hurting yourself or somebody else, either physically or mentally, is beyond the reaches of frugality. Call it something else, but it's not frugal. Here's what extremely frugal is not:
- Saving money for the sake of saving money. That's miserly. (Apologies to Jonni McCoy of Miserly Moms fame.) Before we go a step further, remember that 'miserly' comes from the same word as 'miserable'. Remember Silas Marner?
- Deciding against that piece of clothing that you really do need, and 'making do' with what you have - for no reason other than you're too stingy to pay for it.
- Not taking care of basic needs - medical care, nutritious food, shelter and a degree of comfort.
One woman wrote that her grandmother was extremely frugal because she only heated as much tea water as she needed at one time. Is that extreme?