May 30, 2009

I AM a Frugalista, after all

I received a lot of interesting comments earlier this week from the posts "What do you splurge on?" and "Why are you frugal, or semi-frugal, or resourceful?" These topics will be part of an ongoing discussion about how we are each shaping our lives and responding to individual and global circumstances. Everyone has a lot to contribute based on their own unique perspective.

I'm not sure why I was so hesitant about using the word "frugal" to describe myself. I think it's partly because I have had at least a couple of spendthrift stages in my past, even if they were short. The other thing is I think it does have a little bit of a negative connotation, and some people consider it synonymous with "cheap." But according to Merriam-Webster, the definition of frugal is: characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources. There's nothing bad about that. Not wasting resources is both good and necessary, for individuals and for the collective.

Also, when I said I might hesitate in calling myself a Frugalista, I'd forgotten that I already HAVE called myself that, in a post back in March. Blame it on middle age, or wine, but my memory has some lapses these days. I knew I was a Frugalista when I read this Oxford University Press definition: "a person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc." I don't actually grow my own produce, but I'm starting small with an herb garden, two tomato plants, and a lemon tree. And splurging on travel and spa visits doesn't affect my Frugalista status.

So I say "yes" to everything frugal. In my view, like most things, it only becomes negative when taken to an extreme. Now my only question is: What are we going to call the guys who live the frugal but fabulous lifestyle? Frugalistos? I wonder if Natalie McNeal, of The Frugalista Files and the original Frugalista, would have an answer. I think I'll ask her... In the meantime, what do you think? What's the best name for a male Frugalista? Are you a Frugalista/Frugalisto? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section.

9 comments:

Meg said...

Well...

The Italian ending -ista isn't actually gender specific. For example, a bartender is a barista, whether male or female. So, a guy would be a frugalista, too.

Of course, in romance languages like Italian and Spanish the -a ending is *usually* feminine and we have words like fashionista that generally apply only to women. So, by analogy, we probably will see frugalista considered to be feminine and an alternative like frugalisto for men. Personally, I'd just use something apparently gender neutral like frugalite or just plain frugal (adj.), but I do like frugalista for myself even if it is a bit trendy sounding.

Anyhow, probably more than anyone needs to know about -ista, lol, but I gotta use my degree in Latin & romance linguistics for something!

hiptobeme said...

I say yes, too! Here's to self discovery and living an examined, resourceful life!

calimama said...

The last big man-phase was the metrosexual, so...metrofrugalist?!

Jinger said...

Yes, there is a big difference between frugal and cheap...I feel I live a frugal lifestyle, yet have a warm, cozy, stylish home, and although it cost me little to attain this look, it certainly doesn't look cheap. I think anyone can have great style shopping at thrift and resale shops, recycling and repurposing. You just need a good eye to spot style.

Marylyn said...

I must crow about this: We needed a new kitchen faucet, so I went to the Habitat for Humanity used building supply store and found a lovely white Price-Pfister one-handle faucet (with its innards dangling) for $5. I'll probably have to get a few other parts, but those things NEW are about $175. And this one is METAL, not plastic! There were SO many great things there, including piles of TILES and beautiful arched windows.

Alea said...

What to call a frugal male? A good catch! I appreciate my husband's frugality more each year. I love that while many of his contemporaries are buying sports cars and airplanes, he is building me raised garden beds, repairing my old diesel truck, and installing ceiling fans. He could choose to spend his spare time in much more expensive and relaxing ways than induling his wife's crazy whims...

Angela said...

Meg- Thanks for the language lesson!

hiptobeme- Yes, cheers!

Calimama- Funny!

Jinger- I agree completely about style having nothing to do with how much you spend. In fact, sometimes I've noticed that people with more money to spend actually have much less imagination.

Marylyn- What a score! That's a great tip - I didn't even know that place existed. We will definitely check it out with our version of a "kitchen remodel" that's being done with a lot of labor and very little money.

Alea- I'm lucky enough to also have a husband who's a good catch! He's great at fixing things, building things, finding a bargain, and indulging my whims! (sometimes before I ask)

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

Given the name of my blog, I obviously have no qualms at all about labeling myself "frugal". lol

Betsy Talbot said...

Hmm, trying to decide what Mr. Betsy would like to be called. Besides "dear," of course. :-) Fru-gallant?

And I second Alea - a male frugalista can definitely be called a good catch!