It’s important to save for retirement. It’s sensible to have an emergency fund. It’s essential to live within your income and not go into debt. But where did the idea come from that people who are frugal and live simply… can’t… or shouldn’t… have nice things? Or that they should feel guilty if they buy something new?

It amazes me that so many people equate frugality and financial savvy with denial and a spartan lifestyle. I think they’re missing the point. Frugality is not about how much you can do without or how little money you can spend. True frugality simply means that you don’t waste your money on things that aren’t important to you so you will have that money for things that ARE important to you. What those important things are will be different for each person.

Being obsessed with NOT spending money is just as bad as being obsessed with spending it, because in both cases the emphasis is on money and stuff. Planning and saving for the future is important, but it’s also important to live in… and enjoy… the present. There should be no guilt in wanting or buying something new on occasion.

A thoughtful, sensible use of your money sometimes includes spending it.