Is life harder for frugal people? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Bernie Klinder, EMBA, Entrepreneur, Investor, Consultant, on Quora:

Living frugally is much, much easier. The majority of people live paycheck to paycheck and couldn't put $400 together without going into debt or selling something they own. Living like this is miserable, especially if you hate your job and can't afford to quit because you can't miss even a week without pay.

If you live below your means and save 10% of every paycheck, you'll have a very good cushion for emergencies within a year. In 5 years, you'll have roughly 6 months salary saved - that takes away a lot of stress and worry.

Once you learn to live frugally, it becomes a bit of a game. I know where the cheapest gas in my area is (saves $4/week), which store has the cheapest staples (paper towels, cleaning supplies) and which store saves me the most on groceries. I take out cash at the beginning of the month and see if I can stretch it for the whole month. I drive a well maintained 7 year old Subaru that looks brand new. I invest the savings, and earn even more. As a result, I can also quit my job and not work for several years and be just fine. (8 Frugal Habits That Will Make You a Millionaire)

However, I am not "penny wise and pound foolish" - I value my time and don't take things too far. I'm frugal - not cheap. I tip well at restaurants, and happily pay for quality items that will last for years. I just enjoy not paying full retail for things. Part of this mentality comes from being an investor - I know how hard it is to make a 10% return so if I can stretch my money by 10% or more that's like getting a tax free gain. If you spend $10,000 year on gas, groceries, household items, etc. you'll gain at least $1,000 if you look for discounts, sales, etc. I try never to pay full price for anything and I never impulse buy.

There are quite a few posts from frugal millionaires on Quora - the "quiet money" that will pay for quality, but not pseudo luxury brands. (Bernie Klinder's answer to Why are some wealthy people so frugal?) Many people who look rich have a lot of debt and are just "pretending" to be wealthy. One small crisis, and they would lose it all. (You'll find some great bargains at their garage sales).

Being reasonably frugal helps you build a cushion for the inevitable emergencies in your life. You won't make smart financial decisions when your back is against the wall and you have decide which bills to pay or what possessions to sell to make ends meet. The larger that cushion, the more peace of mind you'll have. And that as they say, is priceless.

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Published on: Sep 5, 2017