Yesterday, I got an ad in my e-mail with the subject line “Versatile = Frugal.” It caught my eye only because the word “frugal” was in the title, so I guess their advertising works. Being frugal is the new, cool thing after all.
They were advertising a “caftan” that could be worn as a dress, with pants , or with a skirt and a belt. Three whole outfits with one item of clothing! Amazing! And only $40! (And also ugly, in my opinion, but who am I to judge?)
I’m sorry, but buying a trendy piece of clothing that will be out of style next season is not frugal in any sense of the word. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy it – I think people should spend their money however they want to. They should just be responsible. If you budget your money and can afford that caftan and really love it, then go for it.
It might be frugal to buy a nice pair of classic black pants, the sort that will never go out of style and can be dressed up or dressed down. It’s more frugal to not buy anything and make do with what you have.
Though I suppose if you’re the sort who thinks nothing of dropping $150 on a new top, then yes, a $40 caftan is absolutely frugal.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.