I’ve always admired frugal people, especially the extreme ones.
I had a friend that once made a detailed, nearly scientific, study of fuel efficiency by brand name. He actually kept a ledger in his vehicle and noted variables and environmental factors. He also drove with the windows up and without air-conditioning because he read that he could save one mile per gallon. I didn’t do that because I assumed the cost of a heat stroke would offset the mileage gains, but he did, and he did it even though I made fun of him. Being weird was a small price to pay for him and I respected him for that.
Another friend’s dad had this old abused Ford Tempo, infamous for its unluck and stubborn durability. Nothing worked on the thing except the minimum to pass inspection. The windows wouldn’t even go up. He had hit two deer with it, one of which rammed the side and permanently locked the passenger door, so we had to get in like the Dukes of Hazaard. One time a turkey attacked the car and defecated down the side and into the interior, which created olfactory memories that just add to the glory. My friend and all of his friends, we made fun of that car for years. He could have replaced it using debt, but he was willing to be weird.
Both of those guys have gone from near poverty to financial independence because of their frugality.
I have another friend who has a mentor who is a multi-millionaire. My friend said his mentor eats a bologna and mustard sandwich for lunch everyday and has for decades. That’s just showing off. To me, that’s near martyrdom level frugality. Bologna and mustard? I think monks eat that to purge sin from their souls, don’t they? But he doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
I know another guy that reuses mouthwash! That’s weirdly weird! Admittedly, there’s a line somewhere that he crosses like an Olympic long jumper, but, still, he has my awe.
My mom had to ride an extra 20 miles to the hospital during her labor with me because delivery was $50 cheaper in a farther town. Sometimes when I feel I’ve disappointed my parents I just think, “Well, at least they got me on sale.” To my dad’s credit, when you’re willing to risk self-delivering a baby in the back seat and/or possibly living with an irate woman that tells everyone how cheap you are the rest of your life, you are serious about your money and for that you get my respect.
So, being normal is very comfortable, but, unfortunately, in America “normal” is synonymous with “in debt.” I wonder if we are willing to be weird.
Are you prepared to be weird?- Brad Clemons