frugal vs poor

trixie111December 14, 2005

you don't have to be poor to realize the value of your money. It would no doubt surprise you how well off most frugal people are. In this economy, how do you think they got that way?

by being responsible for the way one handles one's resources is the mark of a mature and intelligent person.

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Excellent point! It also says a lot about the person's self esteem who doesn't need to have a new car every year to show off, or the Gucci accessories or something like that.

In addition to the maturity and intelligence, it's also a person who respects themself enough to not have to "put on the dog" simply to impress others.

And being frugal, you can treat yourself to something you truly want at times others can't afford it, probably because their credit cards are maxed out and they haven't been able to shift balance to another company who'd give them a higher limit!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 12:16AM
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I do think some people can take frugal to the extreem. For example: I visited my inlaws over Thanksgiving.I could live very well off their stock dividends. I had to sleep in the unheated upstairs. They have a brand new hvac system. They use a small ventless heater in the downstair halway. It uses less gas they say. The upstairs has a door at the bottom of the stairs. Do you think one could leave it open?, No! Also, the toilet was broke.A mere five dollar repair. I believe, if one knew one was having company, all of these things should have been avoided. I even considered the possibilty that I wasn't wanted but they were so adimit about me coming. My father, who is not as well off as the inlaws goes to great length to make his visitors feel comfortable. One year he was having problems with his heating and borrowed a kerasene heater from a neighbor so his guests who slept at the back of the house could be warm. I guess I am like my dad, I'll be frugal day to day but not if I'm having company for a holiday.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 12:10PM
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Hi Lizql - and everyone,

Frugal is one thing.

Niggardly is something else.

Ideally, I feel that I, as one who claims to be Christian, should consult God about my use of the resources that S/He has placed in my hands - whether of money, yes, but also of skill, time, talent, capable hands, brains, connections, etc.

Which I don't follow as often as I should.

Good wishes to everyone for the days ahead.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 1:34PM
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I'm new to this forum but would like to share this thought from an aunt:

"Frugal is when you do it to yourself, cheap is when you do it to other people". Hope that made sense.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 5:23PM
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Great thought, Sue. That is one thing I try to do . . . be generous to others where generousity should be extended. I do not give money to a begger, as I don't know that it won't be misused (many are alcoholics or drug addicts) but I give McDonald gift certificates or even power bars. Things I know will be used correctly. And, yes, regardless of where we may end up financially, I will always be frugal. If I can find a great pair of jeans at a garage sale for $1.00 why would I pay $30.00 at a store? It just doesn't make sense.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 11:43AM
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I think it is about investing yourself (and your money) thoughtfully. People who never went without are unlikely to think as carefully about how they spend money or where they extend their charity. Having served on some true non-profit boards, I know that the term can be misleading in the extreme. Another thread asked about extending "loans"; consensus was you do it once in an emergency, then question subsequent "emergencies". Save your charity for those who really need it.

Sue_in_Colorado's aunt has it right about "frugal" vs. "cheap". Cynic is correct that a lot of misspent dollars are attempts to impress some unknown someone.
I don't remember who said it, but there is a quote about being suspicious of any undertaking that will require all new clothes. (hee hee)

Everyone should be free to spend as he or she pleases, and be responsible for the choices. A favorite saying of mine is: Take what you want and pay for it. DH likes: You can pay now or later (but you will pay).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 12:55PM
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You don't like weddings?

When my daughter got married, she (more or less) insisted Dad have a new suit. Shoes, too.

She didn't get into underwear - as I recall.

Her Dad's marriage lasted eleven years.

Hers about five.

I've heard that everything's speeded up, these days.

Gee - it's great to be retired.

Do what you choose.

When you choose.

As I said to many clients and prospective ones during 20 years being a personal financial advisor, "Give me 10% or your income ... and I'll have you retire early".

Actually, that was less than half of it - I also wanted them to learn how to look after ther own money effectively.

"Learning how money works - an interesting hobby ... that pays well," was another theme song of mine, as well.

Frugal should be fun, a game - not a chore.

Sue in Colorado,

I like your aunt's definition.

Hi bouncing pig,

haven't heard from you for some time. Nice to see your name, hear from you gain.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 3:16PM
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Terms get thrown around and can compliment some and insult others. I'm proud to be frugal, cheap and a tightwad. Because I know *my* definitions of each of those terms. I've purchased new vehicles. A "cheap" person probably wouldn't. However a frugal person would do what I did and drive that vehicle for 15 years! A "cheap" person probably wouldn't put gas in it unless someone else paid for it!

What I have, I worked hard to get and appreciate the value of money and services. I take pride in making not necessarily "the best use" of them but I want good value for my money. There's times it's best to hire a professional to do things and I have no aversion to hiring the needed pro, nor do I begrudge them making a decent rate of pay for their services. I think I deserve it for what I provide and so I can't begrudge it of others. But I also feel I need to give value when I'm being paid to do something. I guess it's a value I was raised with. Not all are so equipped! :)

All in moderation. I took my boss and a co-worker out for lunch today at a nice, but not boorish restaurant. And I tipped about 25% since we had excellent service. What some consider as a "cheap" person doesn't tip. I call them other things since if you're too much of a penny pincher to tip that you shouldn't eat out IMO.

But I do set limits on what I'll spend for certain things. Red McCombs, multi-multi-billionaire, former owner of the MN Vikings said one time "I don't care how much money I have, there's no way I'll *ever* pay a dollar for a bottle of water!" It's one of those things with him and I understand exactly what he's saying.

To me, it's common sense to weatherstrip a house to save a bit on the energy bills. To me it's common sense to turn out lights that aren't being used for the next few days. To me it makes sense to keep the heat at a cooler but still comfortable temperature. I don't need to have the heat set at 80and then have to have a fan blowing on me like my cousin does! To me it's common sense that if I can change my oil in 15 minutes for a cost of $5 in parts, I save $15, which gives me an hourly wage of $60/hour and nets an hourly rate of $80 if a person is in the 25% tax bracket. Few people working at the drive in oil change places are making $80/hr!

OTOH, I didn't have the faintest idea of how to replace the garage door springs and having dealt with them one other time I knew I didn't want to mess with them and be subjected to the potential injuries that could easily happen. So I hired a guy and the parts were $50 (I'd have to pay that or more for just the parts in a DIY job) and the labor was $30 as I recall. Probably took him 20 minutes and he repaired the garage door opener too. OK, so I spent $30 for labor. I made that up on less than two oil changes. Some call changing my own oil being cheap. I call it being frugal and rational. Plus I enjoyed doing it so it was a frugal hobby.

I don't like gardening. It would be work for me to do it. I'll pay the extra to buy the stuff. It's all priorities, common sense and preferences.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 6:27PM
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I agree with Cynic about buying bottled water -- as long as the quality of your tap water is good, and ours is. I bought an ice & water through-the-door frefrig/freezer knowing I will drink more healthful, filtered water and zero soda pop. That soda and snack aisle at the grocery contains the worst nutrition in the world.

Joyful -- Yes, I did buy a new dress for my own wedding and our son's, 40 and 6 years ago respectively. (All parties are still married.) I did shop carefully for both occasions. I think it may have been a quote from Lord Chesterfield to his son in the 18th century that concerned casting a leary eye on "dress-up" occasions. He was referring to pretense.

DH and I are evidently trend-buckers. One car in a two car garage ever since he retired. I think we've had to rent a car two or three times due to schedule conflict. You can rent a lot of cars for the cost of a second car, its maintenance and insurance.

Was it Rockefeller of whom it was said, "He throws dimes around like manhole covers,"?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 12:52PM
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I think if you are frugal, you won't be poor. Which is entirely different from "cheap", I suppose. I like to think of living frugal as being "creative", actually.

Someone once told me that if you make a million a year and spend a million and one a year, you are poor. If you make forty thousand a year and spend thirty thousand a year, you are rich. (I didn't ask them which one they were, though.) Personally, I prefer to live on less money and not work too much. If you spend money, you usually have to invest time to get it and that is a finite resource!

I find that if folks are less exposed to mainstream advertising, it is much easier to live frugally. I can't tell one new car from another and don't really care. I don't want one myself mostly because of how they smell and I've just gotten my old truck arranged the way I like it. I haven't a clue about fashion and don't really care. I already have a pair of shoes I like and don't need any more. Fortunately, in Hawaii, one can wear one's rubber slippers (flip flops) anywhere. Last year's muumuu is just as good this year. If anyone notices it is the same one, that's their trouble. We have just about everything we need and since we don't watch TV, we don't get into the media blitz of "BUY! BUY! BUY!". Things are much more comfortable this way, too.

Live UNDER your means and be comfortable!

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 11:40PM
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Without telling my whole life story, the summary is that I grew up in an upper middle class family, but as a result of an abusive marriage, ended up a single mom on welfare.

Turned my life around, but kept the lesson of raising a family on $500/mo. Remarried to a wonderful man, and came almost full circle...we have a lovely home and lots of amenities, but we paid cash for all the toys and extras (we do carry a mortgage, but it's one we can actually afford!).

I still shop at thrift stores and GS. We do a lot of things ourselves, and don't think it's's smarter.

Frugal is not buying what you don't need, reusing what you can reasonably reuse, and knowing when to spend the money to get it done right in the first place.

Cheap is being miserable while you kid yourself that you're being so smart by being frugal.

We live by the motto Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...THAT is frugal!

Ole DD is getting married, and I found her GORGEOUS wedding gown at a GS for only $50. It's an $800 gown. I'm so lucky that she's my kid...she's agreed to do everything in our RRR mentality! Everything we're going to use must be either borrowed, recycled or bought cheap and passed along.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 3:21PM
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"Frugal is not buying what you don't need, reusing what you can reasonably reuse, and knowing when to spend the money to get it done right in the first place.

Cheap is being miserable while you kid yourself that you're being so smart by being frugal.

We live by the motto Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...THAT is frugal!"

Pesky1, *That* quote is being saved! Well said!

I was telling a friend the other day that frugal is two people splitting a large meal when neither can handle a whole one themself while a jacka** is the one who orders a glass of water and eats the crackers from the salad bar to avoid paying for lunch! And guess which one will stiff the waitperson? :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 5:13PM
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I've been reading this thread with great interest. The title of the thread is "Frugal vs Poor" not "Frugal vs Cheap". Frugality is a choice. Cheap is a choice. Being poor is not. That being said, I have been poor in the past, but I've never been cheap. When I did start making great money I was, at first, foolish with it, but I strive now to be more conservative and frugal each day so that I am able to spend it in the ways I choose. One thing I noticed that when you do have money, others with less than you will automatically consider you cheap if you do not spend it or lend it to them!
I enjoy good wine, gourmet food, well made stylish clothing, I use the dishwasher to wash the good china and crystal which gets used, I go to a good hairdresser once a month, I feed my pets the better dog foods, I drive high end vehicles and I drive them for years, I go to the dentist every six months and the doctor for a physical once a year, I buy whenever possible, from local farm stands fresh veggies, organic and wholesome foods.

on the other hand,
I color my own hair, we eat home cooked wholesome meals from scratch at least 6 days a week breakfast, lunch and dinner, I never buy convenience foods, I buy large quantities of paper towels, detergent, etc. from Sam's Club and I grocery shop every two weeks to save on gas, I use a cheap Pay-As-You-Go $7.00 a month cell phone and I only use it in emergencies. I do my own taxes, clean my own house, do my own plumbing repairs, painting, press my own clothing and try never to buy "dry clean only" anything.

I guess my point is, long as it may seem to get to it, I like the option to choose where my money goes. It's about choices, isn't it? If it's important to you to save every single dime and you don't feel deprived doing so, then by all means do so, more power to you. It certainly doesn't make you better, or more intelligent and I'm sure your family will be quite pleased with the nice inheritance you leave them. I plan to save where I can so that I may have the things that make my life more enjoyable, like high speed computer connection, air conditioning on a hot day etc. because life is short and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 12:46PM
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Right - you can't take it with you.

I can't take mine with me, either - though we used to kid rich old step-uncle, who never had kids, that we figured that he was trying to figure ways to accomplish that.

Didn't hear you mention anything about assisting folks who, through mental, physical, emotional or other relative handicap, find themselves very hard pressed to develop the kind of income that many of us able-bodied enjoy.

Or who, through having been driven from their home and community, or just because they live in a disadvantaged area of the world, lack the necessities of life, including a home, adequate clothing, decent food and clean water.

Plus a decent education for their kiddos, (as well as themselves) and even rudimentary medical care when they have need.

Yes - we can't take it with us - but if we don't share ...

... it might be that we won't be able to enjoy it ourselves through all the days of our own lives.

The mills of the gods grind slow - but they grind exceeding small.

All of us in the world inhabit this one small canoe.

Good wishes for an enjoyable week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 1:33PM
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ole joyful,

Yes, I did not mention assisting folks less fortunate then myself in the post above. Hopefully this lack of mention does not make one assume I do not help where I see help is needed. If your choice is to live frugally so that you may share your savings with those less fortunate, then you are truly a decent individual with a compassionate heart and I hope that it was money "well spent".

One of the things I discovered while being poor myself were the things that meant the most to me had little or nothing to do with money.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 2:53PM
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How true - many meaningful situations in life have little to do with money.

When I was young, there was a song titled, more or less, "The Best things in Life are Free".

Sorry - can't remember the words, included something about moonlight, etc.

They were interviewing a guy on the radio this morning who was the first non-U.S. guy chosen to judge the Best in Show at the Westiminster Dog Show in Madison Square Garden, the creme de la creme (sorry about the missing accent marks) of dog shows).

He made a comment that I wish I'd written down, cause I can't remember it exactly, something like, "The only/best love that money can buy" being ...

... a dog.

Actually, if you know someone living in a rural area near a city, they'll likely either have, or know a neighbour who has, one or up to a dozen former pets "owned" by city folks who found them too much to handle - so dumped them in the country.

That they'd give you free.

But if you go to the animal shelter - that adoption gets costly.

Up front.

Having a pet usually gets costly, ongoing and rather regularly.

Have a good week.

ole joyful

P.S. It's my opinion that should the U.S. choose to carry out something like the Marshall Plan to Europe after World War II in a number of dreadfully poor areas of the world, the possibility of Al Qaeda finding new recruits among the hopeless youth might well be much reduced.

I said some time ago to a person rather familiar with U.S. foreign policy that it has become increasingly my opinion that had the U.S. been more even-handed in their treatment of Israel and the Palestinians over the years - granted, not an easy task, and one in which many others should have shared - that those planes almost certainly would never have hit the Towers in New York.

He looked me in the eye, asked if his reply were "off the record", and, on my assurance that it was, said, "I agree with you - 100%".

o j

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 5:47PM
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P.S. It's my opinion that should the U.S. choose to carry out something like the Marshall Plan to Europe after World War II in a number of dreadfully poor areas of the world, the possibility of Al Qaeda finding new recruits among the hopeless youth might well be much reduced.

IMHO, that's how the "war on terrorism" should have been waged in the first place. As long as young adults in largely-Muslim countries feel there is no greater service for them to perform in this world than blowing themselves up in crowded places, the "war" will continue. It's shameful that Washington chooses not to recognize this reality.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 8:43AM
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I'm sorry to the OP, but I can't keep from saying it. Ole, any chance of *Canada* coughing up a dollar or two for our Marshall Plan? Easy to say it, harder to use your tax dollars, especially when you know should anything happen to our neighbors in the north, we'd use our expensive military to help you out.

Blaming the victims of terrorism gets my blood boiling.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 6:32PM
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I also read this topic with great interest. Luckily, I have never been poor, but dh grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood, where his parents had very little. However, they managed to buy a home (albeit 50 years ago) and put two children through medical school. I always admired that. They scrimped, but dh never complained that he missed any of the extras in life.

Dh never made a great living practicing medicine, but he his not cheap. He is willing to pay for what he wants, but will not waste money on unnecessary things. He does feel that money is to be enjoyed, not wasted.

As for me, I tend to be on the frugal side. I am a nut about saving money, but not to the point of obession. I live in what would be considered an affluent area, but sometimes I am a bit uncomfortable with the excess I see around me. We pretty much live here for the local school system.

Neither of us drive particularly expensive cars; I clean my own house (can't see having someone do it since I am a SAHM); shop for most of my clothes at Wal-Mart or Marshall; stock up on discounts at the food store; don't take really fancy vacations (would rather be fishing on Lake George than anything else).

On the other hand, I am a gadget freak and do spend money of pdas or other electronics with, what I feel, is impunity. Thank goodness dh has a sense of humor about these things.

I like living this way and part of the reason is that I want my kids to see that you can live nicely and have a good time without a ton of frills. They don't get everything they ask for. If they want something in the "off holiday" season, they can pay for it with their savings. They help around the house and get good grades in school. I can't ask for more. However, as they get older, I did, and will, provide each with a cell phone (I consider this almost a necessity today).

I admire those that have a good take on money and how to have balance in using it.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 8:12AM
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I didn't mean to blame the victims of terrorism.

All that I said was that that there would have been a much better chance of those planes never hitting those towers had the U.S. been more even-handed in supporting the Palestinians to develop their lives as they have with Israel, for the last almost 60 years.

After all - the Palestinians were there first, with only a few Jews in their midst, prior to 1948.

And some who were leaders of Jewish militant groups (let's not use the word "terrorist" - such concepts get in the way of clear thinking, and in such crucial days as we live, clear thinking is vital) that carried out some rather nasty enterprises prior to and about 1948 ...

... later went on to be Prime Minster, President, or whatever, of Israel.

Some of the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries could have helped, but didn't - more or else wanting to rub Israel's nose in the mess, possibly.

There's enough blame to go around, for sure.

It seems to me that we need to take a much longer and more balanced view of life and history.

The United States has been badly injured by foreigners only three times during its history ...

-the British burned Washington, way back when,

-Japan attacked Pearl Harbour - in 1941, but World War II started in 1939 and

-some Middle Easterners flew some civilian airliners using civilian jet fuel to destroy two large towers in New York.

Which pictures we have seen over and over, hundreds of times, till those pictures are etched on the screen of our minds.

At a cost to them of, what - some say something like half a million?

Resulting in the U.S. spending billions to build a big security fence. Going deep into debt to do so, to which they are adding huge annual deficits.


The death toll there was something under 3,000.

Which happened getting near to five years (over 1,600 days) ago.

As it is, they say that about 25,000 kids die of poor water, poor nutrition, malaria (of which we don't have much in our part of the world, so drug companies with their eye on sales in this area aren't deeply concerned about it) and other diseases, with little medical help and without the necessary education to learn how to cope effectively with some of those issues ...

... every day.

Something near 25,000 die ... every day: 1,600 X 25,000 is ... how many?

As it is, I am ashamed of my country's lack of concern to help people in other parts of the world get ahead.

Our government said years ago that we were going to aim at spending 0.07% (less than 1%) of our GNP to support such projects.

We have never come near that (modest) goal.

We've fallen back from what we did achieve, a few years ago, when our country was running large deficits.

Some of us who feel that such action is needed if we are to develop a healthy world down the line have sought to have our government, supported by the people, honour that commitment.

Our country has been adding more to pollution in recent years, rather than cutting back on it, as well.

And, as my Dad moved 60 years ago from this area of the country, where he was having breathing problems, to a cleaner area where he enjoyed 40 years go good health (prior to his death, 20 years ago) I have a personal interest in working on those issues, as well.

And I'm very thankful that, at age 77, I am enjoying the good health that enables me to work harder at it.

Believe me - it's an uphill battle.

But we keep at it.

Smiling as we go.

After all - God's the general ... I'm just a foot soldier.

Seems to me God loves the various parts of the world, and the people who inhabit those parts, equally.

So - shouldn't I, as well?

And - for those who don't believe in God ...

... taking an interest in the welfare of needy parts of the world is a matter of our continued survival.

Maybe not for me - but it surely will affect our grandkids.

We were surprised by what happened to those towers.

Do we feel that we are immune?

We aren't.

Do we feel that we can build a wall around ourselves that'll be successful in keeping the unwashed horde out?

Forget that, as well.

The Russians couldn't in Berlin ... Israel can't ... and we can't, either.

China doesn't need to throw missles at us.

All that they need do is ask us to pay all of those U.S. (and other) bonds that they hold.

Which will scuttle the U.S. Dollar.

This is a multi-pronged issue. To focus on one portion of it, even though that is a temptation ... is a mistake.

Could be a fatal one, for people in our part of the world continuing to enjoy our privileges.

History is fluid (and getting more so): civilizations come - civilizations go.

Ours isn't carved in stone.

Hope you enjoy your weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 3:58PM
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Again, apologies to the OP for the serious off-track nature of this thread, but a decade of competitive debate followed up by law school makes it nearly impossible for me to let these arguments go. Joyful, I know you mean well, but you're still blaming the US for 9/11---the old, "had you done X for Palestinians" business. Two things: for someone who's encouraging a longer scope of history, it's interesting that the history of that little bit of land now called Israel apparently started in 1948?

Whose land is it? It belonged to the Jews thousands of years before 1948 (remember Abraham? remember Moses? remember the Temple?), of course, so is it rightfully the land of their heirs? The Jewish occupation of the land pre-dates that of the Philistines, (hence Palestine), but since the Jews were conquered variously by the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, etc, perhaps we should give it to those ancient nations' decendants? Not sure I could find a Babylonian though... No one has lived on that land, as a distinct group of people, longer than the Jews. None.

That being said, as a result of the atrocities in Europe, many of the surviving Jews fled to *their* ancient homeland to be with family already there. The so-called civilized world couldn't be trusted and many Jews realized they needed their own political state in order to survive. The UN gave Israel to the Jews. [What's interesting is that it wasn't the US State Dept's choice, as they knew the bloodbath would continue.]

I'll grant you that there were some Jewish "leaders of militant groups" who used questionable tactics, but consider the context: Begin's bitterness and ruthlessness may have been caused by the fact that of the 30,000 Jews in his hometown, only TEN survived the holocaust. Your back against the wall may change you as well. Still, even he was on record against the terrorism perpetrated during the battles with British troops, troops which engaged in terror as well.

Still, history aside, how do you deal with people who refute your right to merely exist? Treaties? Negotiations? Similarly, should the US negotiate with the Bin Ladens of the world, who want us exterminated? BL's issue with the US isn't a *lack of aid* to his homeland of Saudi Arabia or the reemergence of malaria, etc. It's that we exist and worship differently from him. *Aid* doesn't solve *that*, and a lack of aid from the already generous and decent people of the US
isn't why 3000 innocent people were incinerated. So to tell me that we could have averted this with aid is what continues to set my blood aboil. I'm not Jewish, but I obviously sympathize with their similar plight: hated because of their religion.

One last thing. If the mere presence of money would cure the ills of the world, I'm sure we'd pony up. Unfortunately, just providing more money often makes things worse. Corrupt regimes have no qualms in using it for armaments against their own people, or vast quantities of shoes for their first ladies. Bare aid not only doesn't solve more complex problems of global poverty, it can make it *worse*. So please don't equate quantities of money with intelligent and useful aid to the poorest of the poor.

I could go on but won't, surely to the happiness of most who have made it this far! P.S., don't worry about China calling in our debt. Who would buy their junk? The dependency goes both ways: our debt keeps us safe.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 11:56PM
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One last thing. If the mere presence of money would cure the ills of the world, I'm sure we'd pony up. Unfortunately, just providing more money often makes things worse. Corrupt regimes have no qualms in using it for armaments against their own people, or vast quantities of shoes for their first ladies.

I can think of few people nowadays who are doing more to combat poverty than the U2 singer Bono, and even he is not in favor of "handouts," but, rather, of targeted aid to accountable governments. I think that's the way to go. Certainly we have had enough experience in the past with corrupt governments skimming or completely absorbing such aid; how can we continue that practice and expect a different result?

P.S., don't worry about China calling in our debt. Who would buy their junk? The dependency goes both ways: our debt keeps us safe.

I agree that countries that have good financial relationships with each other usually are smart enough not to torpedo those relationships. And China may well put up with a riskier investment or some U.S. "meddling" in their internal affairs to keep the economic peace. It will be interesting, though, to see what happens when the U.S. elects a President who isn't as beholden to business as the current Administration is and China starts hearing some tough words they don't want to hear. In a few years, China won't need us so much as they'll be able to sell to the rest of the world. Multinational corporations from all over are in China now; it's not just a far-flung American maquiladora.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 11:23AM
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These posts are just getting too political. Remember to look at the title, frugal vs. poor.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 3:45PM
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But what makes people poor? In North America, political decisions determine tax rates, which services are offered to the poor or sacrificed to budget commitments or campaign promises, which countries are considered "most favored nations", and how companies may employ or dismiss employees. The price of gasoline and, by extension, the prices of most other goods and the cost of doing business, is affected (negatively) by political swagger and bluster. Across the world, allocating foreign aid and loans is a political issue, not a private-market or individual issue, and choosing to allocate aid or loans based on the accountability and democracy of the government receiving it also is a political decision.

I'm not denying that some poor people make decisions which perpetuate their poverty. They do. Some of those decisions are deep-rooted and money is not the answer to those problems. But the U.S. has been knocking the pegs out from under poor people for a couple of decades now while it subsidizes richer people and corporations lavishly. Those are political decisions. There is no denying that politics can either help eradicate or perpetuate poverty.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 8:43AM
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The comment "if you earn a million dollars and spend a million and one dollars you are poor" is so true, I know plenty of people who cry poor. One friend in particular complains on living on one wage out of which her DH pays maintenance for his children. She is always crying poor but he earns more than we do on 2 wages. I wonder about the $30 shoes she buys for her one year old, chiropractor for the baby because it's "the in thing to do", going away 2 or 3 times a year, her gym membership, their two cars, eating out etc etc etc. We live comfortably on our wages, much more comfortable than when DH had a high paying job and we spent, spent, spent.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 11:02PM
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"Poor" is a state of mind, isn't it?

Depends quite a lot on one's perspective, it seems to me.

And experience.

Living amongst thousands of refugees who came away from home with nothing but the clothes on their backs and now have almost nothing, and quite often can't find a job (cause there aren't any to be had, following the massive disruption of war), sure changes one's perspective on what constitutes "poor".

Especially if one's perspective prior to that time was based on North American lifestyles.

We have a lot to learn.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 1:17PM
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After reading all these posts I associated more with Kimba00. I watch my money but am not afraid to spend it on what I truly want. I have a nice house with an affordable mortgage, I drive a nice car, I even took a vacation to Hawaii a couple months ago. But I don't own a cell phone or get cable or satellite tv. I just don't WANT them enough to pay for them. I'd consider them a nuisance.

One time a friend and I were going to go out to eat lunch. I reached into my car visor organizer and pulled out a handfull of 2 for 1 coupons to help make the decision. She was mortified! Let me tell you this girl gets her nails done constantly, shops at the most expensive stores in town and has real jewelry on 8 of her 10 fingers. She also lives in the most run-down area of town (no kidding!) and commplains non-stop about her credit card bills.

This friend was worried about what the waitress would think when we showed the 2 for 1 coupon. I said, she's probably a high school kid at her part time job, thinking that we're smart because we're getting two meals for the price of one when most of her customers are paying full price. My friend told me she'd never use a coupon because she would be too embarrassed. Thank goodness I'm not that self-concious. But then again, look at her with her fake nails, fake hair, supposedly "real" jewelry living in that rat-hole of a house. She probably wants people to think she lives in Beverly Hills. False impressions.

I'm very happy where I'm at and with who I am.

BTW, I do my own nails and dress nice, I just shop the sales and I'm not embarrassed to say so.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 3:17PM
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I think it comes down to the quality of living. If you're frugal, you're enjoying a lifestyle (for whatever reason- need or preference) that's not bent on spending lots, but rather saving a bit but still living comfortably. Cheap implies that you're cutting corners, depriving yourself or others just to save a buck.

I love life, I like good things. But I -hate- spending lots. I also can't help but enjoy the thrill of a good deal or inventive solutions.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 2:03PM
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