Thursday, March 27, 2008

* Do you Have The Frugal Gene

As I've branched out from my normal investing blogs to some more general personal finance blogs, I've noticed that many people have to work at being frugal. On the surface, this struck me as odd since I am naturally frugal (my wife says cheap). Sometimes I have to remind myself it may be me that has the defective "frugal" gene.

An interesting observation (albeit non-scientific) I've made over the years, is that opposites really do attract. It seems that in many, if not most, marriages there is one relatively frugal person and one person that, well, likes to spend a little more freely. It is not a male/female thing, but seems to be evenly dispersed with maybe a slight lean to females being the more frugal ones. I guess this is the way the good Lord takes care of us. Consider the other combinations:
  1. Frugal + Frugal: This would be an awesome wealth building machine. Taken to the extreme this would not be good for the economy. In a world made up of people like me, there would be little spending on consumer goods. There would be no upgrading of houses, cars, appliances, etc. Eventually, the economy would grind to a standstill.
  2. Spender + Spender: It doesn't take long to see where this one is going. Can you say 'bankruptcy'? Like Frugal + Frugal, taken to the extreme this too would not be good for the economy. If everyone spends themselves into bankruptcy then retires with nothing, our financial system would collapse trying to care for the broke retirees. Also, if you are bankrupt, you can't spend so once again the economy would grind to a standstill.
It appears that balance is what keeps us moving forward. It is not only my wife that is keeping the economy afloat, but I am doing my part by trying to slow her down. I wouldn't want the economy to overheat and implode. Now tell me again dear why you needed that enormously expensive mini-van?

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