Living stingy may sound odd to many people. Yes, very odd, especially to those who see this as an aberration. To those who are used to extravagant or reckless spending lifestyle, stingy lifestyle may connote a sign of poverty. But one thing is certain; we’re the sole owner of our money (or wealth), hence we have absolute control on how we use, spend, dispose or disburse it.
The only caution here is how we spend our money or use our wealth without causing harm or psychological distress to other people.
What is Living Stingy By the Way?
Let me begin by saying that to every extravagant person, living stingy means “being ungenerous, miserly, mean, close-fisted and glue-fisted and sometimes penny-pinching”.
Curiously, I’d ask myself and other people “if exhibiting some wise restraints from acquiring what I don’t really need is being miserly?” It is astonishing to hear those who choose to live an extravagant life branding my choice of economic life ‘stingy’. Whichever way others may see it; those of us threading this economic path always enjoy better economic freedom and liberty over any form of lavishness.
Conversely, we view and see those who spend their money carelessly as spendthrifts, prodigals, and squanderers lack total economic wisdom. These people cannot imagine wasting their hard-earned money on ‘irrelevant things’ which they do not immediately have needs for.
If we sweat for earning some bucks, we should be wiser spending it not wasting it.
Hard-earned money that is not picked from any trash-basket needs some economic wisdom, intelligence, some mind searching, and prioritizing before flaunting it on irrelevant items.
Let me delve into the economic side of stingy living and extravagance. Stingy living portent meeting our basic needs which are necessarily required for a good, stable, and healthy living such as food, water, and shelter. While extravagant living is driving us crazy to acquire those things that are not totally necessary or relevant to our survival.
The economic interpretation of NEEDS and WANTS are very pertinent in this case. The interpretation rings a bell in my ears each time I need to spend my money.
‘Needs‘ are basic things that are required for our survival. Needs are essential, easy to meet and very limited in nature. ‘Wants‘ stem out of personal craving, longing, desire for (probably irrelevant) things that have no direct bearing to our stable and healthy life. Needs are satiable, not elastic. Wants are hard to meet, unlimited in nature and very elastic. Wants are practically insatiable.
Sure, we need some pairs of shoes to go about on a daily basis. If we ‘want‘ many shoes more than we reasonably needed, it makes no economic sense. Why should we keep thirty pairs of shoes in our home? This means a pair of shoes per day for a whole month, using one pair of shoes bought for $150 only twelve times in a whole year!
I view this as a colossal economic waste. Even kids that are stingy with their toys enjoy the use of such toys for a longer period than other kids that are too generous and carefree with theirs.
What are the Signs of Living Stingy?
Stingy living is controlling our wants but having our needs met at without stress. This we can reasonably achieve and maintain by taming our wants, sticking to spending less money than we can possibly afford.
Check this! Spending requires our careful planning before we earn the money, setting our personal economic budget right, getting our priorities right on a scale of preference, and not going outside our set target. This pre-spending gauge prevents us from any ostentatious or impulse buying.
We understand that naturally, money reluctantly flow-in through very narrow conduit pipes laden with some resistors. We’re also not naïve to know that money can flow out through a wider, un-impaired outlet. Hence, we devised our own control-valve or gauge-valve to monitor and control the outflow of money.
For instance, some years ago, I worked in a company located several miles away from my home. There are options for using expensive car hire services, boats, trains, or coaches. While other co-workers rushed to take loans for personal cars, considering my wages and monthly expenses, I wisely opted for the coaches, especially the Megabus which are by far the cheapest. This helped me to make some savings to later get my own car without taking out a loan. I enjoyed my economic freedom and liberty. No monthly loan repayment.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Living Stingy?
- Economic freedom and liberty: This lifestyle may seem a bit tense at the on-set, but it guarantees economic freedom and liberty. While those ‘living-larger-than-real life’ runs themselves aground in the mainstream of economic game. Financial stability and freedom from undue financial pressure are what to enjoy.
- Stable and healthy living: Nothing weighs one down than a burden of debts and loans. Loans may be good for investment purposes, but not for ostentatious life. Taking loans to services personal wants is nothing more than digging a lifetime economic grave. Accumulation of loans and loan debts may eat you up faster than cancer.
- Ability to build a strong financial empire: Building a financial empire is not a thing of one day, one month or one year. It is a gradual exercise arising from self-motivation and self-denial. A lifestyle within purvey of one’s financial capacity and capability give a strong-footing to future investment and self-sustenance. I am really thrilled by the story of Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom who recently passed away in faraway Kenya. He shared his story of living stingy to rise to be a financial giant.
- Planning spending before earning: One great working strategy one learns is the pre-planning tool of what to spend on what, how to spend it and when to spend it.This strategy curbs unwanted and unwarranted expenses. I see it working and very useful at taming unnecessary impulse spending. Lavish and showy expenditure is carefully eliminated.
- An absolute sense of value: Understanding the concept of ‘need’ and ‘want’ re-engineered my sense of value. The consciousness of weighing the derivable values of item A which costs almost three times than item B which basically serves the same purposes makes me cherish how vital it can save me from unnecessary showy spending. Many manufacturers play some tricks with consumers by over-rating their products above others, ostensibly claiming and arrogating some values to some products above others. This way of life cautions us to check all manufacturers’ claims before making purchases. Checking the claims against value and cost becomes religious routines.
Even with its numerous pros, it is not without some oversights. In as much as it may sound interesting, there are some underlying factors that make it not totally infallible.
- Society stigmatization: It is almost becoming a societal norm for everyone to flaunt their wealth irrespective of whether they are getting the right values for their lifestyle. Curiously though, why must a second or third party be concerned about what we buy, what dress we wear, and how much our car costs.
- It is not without a cost: It should be our concern to weigh the pros and cons of every spending. There will be times we try to curb or over-curb our ‘wants’ by ignoring some purchases. We should just wave them off saying “I don’t need them” or “I don’t need them now.” But there comes a time when urgent needs arise. The price at this time can be enormous. Either the prices had shot up astronomically, or the items are no longer available.
- Over self-denial: It may lead us to deny ourselves of some good things that we always wanted. Forgetting that our failure to absolutely ‘enjoy’ some things practically to our own detriment. Leaving the fruits of our sweat to enjoy is not a palatable thought. In extreme cases, that may consequently be the result of living stingy.
I have to conclude that living stingy, its attendant pros cannot be waived off. I appreciate the fact that it leads to financial freedom and stability, giving birth and steady rise to financial giants across the globe. I submit that it must be embarked upon with some checks and balances and pursued with caution and moderation.