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What Does It Mean to Be Frugal When You’re Wealthy?


I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately. I don’t plan on being a starving law student for the rest of my life. My goal is to one day become wealthy. But what happens to my frugality when I get there? I’ve come up with three possible responses.

Frugal born, frugal bred, when I die I’ll be frugal dead.

One response to a frugal person finding themselves with lots of wealth is to not change their lifestyle at all. For me that would mean, I would still live with my in laws, I would buy new clothes once every 3-4 years, I eat out only once a week, I don’t buy CD’s, books, or video games, only have one care between me and my wife, ect. There’s other stuff, but you get the point. I don’t know if I could do this. What’s the point of having all that money if you’re not going to use it? I can see someone doing this if they gave their money to charity. Then maybe there would be a point to having all that money.

I’m frugal… for a rich person.

This response would entail making more splurges. You might go on more exotic vacations and have another car, but you would still use coupons, by generic brand, still not buy expensive clothes, ect. If the Millionaire Next Door is right, this seems to be the way most Americans become millionaires. This probably would be my response if I were to ever become wealthy.

Frugality? What’s frugality?

This scenario would entail ditching any frugal habits that you developed on your path to get wealthy. You buy new gizmos every time they come out without comparison shopping, new clothes all the time, you don’t care of the stuff you have, you buy new cars all the time, ect. This response is a quick way to bankruptcy. I don’t think there are too many frugal people who become wealthy who would respond in this way. Habits are a hard thing to break.

What do you all think? How would you respond if you were plunged into wealth?

[tags]frugal, wealth, shopping, personal finance[/tags]