As this is the final article in the Frugality chapter; let’s get serious for a moment. Many people mistake being frugal for going without or being miserly. This isn’t the case, or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Being frugal means making smart decisions while not being caught up in the hype and message of consumer markets. Buy what you need, only when you need it, and invest appropriately to prepare for emergencies. This likely means wearing out what clothing you have instead of going out and buying a new pair of jeans on a whim, or new shoes, or what-have-you. This likely means not going out to eat, and preparing an actual meal at home (something those of us with families should be practicing more of anyway: the family dinner). This means walking where you can instead of driving, looking for sales and deals when you do have to make purchases, and budgeting for your future care. This does not mean that you cannot enjoy life by occasionally going out to eat, going to the movies, an amusement park, or otherwise indulging a little in entertainment. This does not mean that you cannot participate in charitable donations, or make sure that what you own is beautiful and well-cared for. There’s plenty a person can do with their property to keep it in good repair and serviceable for years longer than the everyday societal norm. Just get creative.
Brother Benjamin Franklin was a master of this craft. He also claimed that the previous virtues all helped contribute to the cause of frugality. I can certainly see how temperance can help. After all, if you practice temperance you won’t desire the bigger, better, newer model, and thus can save money. Resolution is also easy to fit into the formula for frugality. But what about silence and order? How do they fit in?
I contend that through the practice of silence comes the ability for introspection. A reflective analysis of one’s needs and behavior can conclude that more than likely all requirements are being met without excessive spending—without purchasing that new car. Thus, someone who has mastered the virtue of silence should be better prepared to practice frugality.
Order is a little more challenging to fit firmly into the formula, but not impossible. Consider for a moment that where there is order in your life, you are more capable of recognizing the care that something takes. For example; oil changes, tire rotation, checking the other fluids in your car, air filters, furnace care, water heater care, etc. If organized in your schedule, the property is better cared for and usually lasts longer. So, we can keep ourselves from having to spend in emergencies as much (which, invariably, cost more than regular maintenance).
There you have it, Brothers. A diagram of frugality charged by the previous virtues. In what other ways can the last virtues aid you in being frugal? How can all of these virtues assist you in becoming a better Freemason, in furthering your oath and vows? How can they assist you in your community responsibilities? Mainly, how are they helpful in your lives?