Frugality is all about saving money, pinching pennies, scoring deals, using coupons, being tightfisted and agonizing over every dollar you spend…. right?!
Frugality has no room for generosity.
When you’re working your way out of debt you are fighting the good fight! You put every cent towards paying off money you owe to someone else. There is no room for giving!!
When you’re saving for retirement you cannot risk distraction! Cost of living is rising every year. You need more to retire on than your parents. You have to take care of yourself!!!
I’ve been there. (I still can struggle with being a Frugal Snob)
Frugality without Generosity can be Selfish
When I was paying off my student loan for an education I never completed nor used for a career, I was living the frugal life. I was working two jobs, throwing all my money at my debt, fretting over buying anything and not having much of a “life”
One of those jobs was a server at a family restaurant. It wasn’t the fanciest or busiest place, but I faithfully served my customers as well as I could and worked hard for the tips people left. At the end of each shift, I begrudgingly handed over a percentage of my tips to the kitchen and non-serving staff feeling as if I solely had earned those dollars and that no one else deserved them.
I gave to my local church, but I wouldn’t call it a tithe… more like a one-the.
Without generosity, this way of frugal living was turning me into a miser. Living with a closed hand did not bring me joy.
But is there room for generosity in a frugal life? When you’re living paycheque to paycheque? When you need to take care of your future and the future of your family?
In the middle of financial stress it’s easy to get focused on ourselves. When we are worried about finances, we work so hard to make and protect our money that we miss out on the blessing that comes when we give it away.
Before I was a server, I worked at the same restaurant as a hostess. As a hostess, I worked just as hard (and maybe even harder) than the servers. I did all of the dirty work cleaning up after each server’s tables and doing my best to keep their customers happy.
At the end of a busy day, there was one server in particular who would give me an extra $5-15 out of her tips (in addition to the amount she had to tip out to the kitchen/other staff). I was always so blessed by her generosity.
So, in those miserly moments as I (now a server) was working at paying off my student loan, I was reminded of this other server from years before that had been generous to me and God changed my heart. (I know not all of you believe in God, but since Jesus is a big part of my life, he’s bound to come out in my writing from time to time… I don’t want to be preachy, but it’s simply part of my real life.)
Generosity is Self-less
Being a generous person causes us to look beyond our own situation and gives us a heart ready to give more than expected or required. This isn’t necessarily easy!
Generosity does not mean giving away all the money you have. And, by no means does it mean that you go into more debt to be “generous”. (Debt is using other people’s money and giving away other people’s money is not an act of generosity). Rather, being generous is living with an open hand ready and willing to use your money in the best way possible. (Remember: the more money you have, the more abundantly you’ll be able to give!)
Generosity leads to Wiser Spending
When we start to be generous with our money, it helps to keep perspective of what really matters. When you’re able to buy a $5 sandwich for someone who is hungry, you quickly realize the difference between a need and a want. When we realize what a need vs a want is in our own lives, we tend to make better decisions about how to spend our money.
Whatever your current financial situation, being generous can help keep your spending in check. After paying your $40 a month to sponsor a child to ensure he or she receives clean water, healthy food and an education, those $5 lattes don’t seem quite as important. It can also encourage you to become debt-free faster in order to be even more generous!
In order to be frugally healthy, we must strive to be generous people. Our generosity should reflect where we are in our financial journey.
If you don’t have much, give what you can. (Perhaps you can’t give much money, but you could give time.)
If you’re in debt, keep giving (even small amounts) as you fight to pay off the rest.
If you’re saving for retirement, don’t forget to look up long enough to notice other people in this world who don’t have the privilege to financially take care of their futures.
Take a look at the current expenses in your life. Take a look up at the world around you. What are some ways you may be able to live more frugally in order that you may bless someone else?
How are you able to live both frugally and generously? Do you have a story about how someone’s generosity impacted your life? Or maybe you were the one able to be generous?! Please share your stories with me! I would love to hear them!