Sloganeering posted a response to my recent story about allowing yourself to splurge. The author makes an excellent observation:

There are two ways to wind up living a frugal life-style: because you want to (middle-class slumming and self-esteem boosting), or you need to (you’re just fucking poor). If you are the former, then yes, it’s okay to splurge now and then. Splurge away! But if you are the latter, then even the most occasional and modest splurging could snowball into a disaster in which you could lose everything.

While I agree with the premise here, I doubt many people in the middle-class participate in frugality for “self-esteem boosting”. Often these people earn a decent wage, but also spend a lot. It’s more likely that their frugality arises from a desire to cut costs in order to accumulate wealth. (This is certainly true in my case.)

But it’s true that those with low incomes don’t have a choice whether they’re going to live frugally or not. Their frugality is forced upon them by their circumstances. Living cheap is not a choice if you’re earning minimum wage. The only way to escape forced frugality is to attack the other side of the wealth equation, to increase income. That’s a subject for future entries — many of them, I hope.

Sloganeering’s response is a nice example of how to disagree with somebody. It addresses the arguments and doesn’t resort to name-calling. I’ve been criticized in the past because what I write isn’t applicable to the poor, but never with as much class.

[Sloganeering: Luxury]

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