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Frugal living

I want to extend my last post about “becoming a better person” by adding “frugality” to the list.

Today Forbes magazine released their list of the riches people in the world. Warren Buffet is number one, and Carlos Slim is number two. The striking similarities between these two men is their frugal life style. It is said that Mr. Buffet stills live in a small house and drive a modest vehicle. Carlos Slim also lives in a “comparably” modest home and complains when his travel accommodations are too extravagant. Another rich man, Sam Walton (who would probably be the one of the richest person, if he was still alive) also lives by this philosophy. I heard a story that he used to cram his employees into small hotel rooms whenever they travel for business, because he did not believe in wasting money on such needless expenses.

Frugality has always been a struggle and a cause of embarrassment in my life. Growing up poor, being frugal is no exactly a choice. And it’s not called being “frugal” when you are poor, it’s called being “broke”, and as some will insist “lazy”. That is why in my adult life, I find it very awkward to be frugal, forced or not. It makes me feel unaccomplished and stupid. In the world of BMWs and Paris Hilton, sometimes being frugal can be misinterpreted as being “poor”, which then becomes an issue of mockery and shame.

But I thank these amazing men for making frugality a cause for celebration. Their enthusiasm for living a modest life, even when they are at the top of the rung, validates the honestly and humility of living a frugal life.