Saturday, May 23, 2009

La question

So, was the question answered? Is it possible for Americans to adopt a more frugal Euro-French lifestyle? I think we can agree, that oui, c’est possible! And, it appears that adopting a frugal Euro-French lifestyle has little to do with sacrificing and taking away, and more to do with adding to our life.

Every post submitted by readers suggests something that adds value to life: riding a bicycle, walking more, preparing fresh food, enjoying free time, drinking champagne! But it's not about adding things, but adding experiences to our life; perhaps that is the key. This point was illustrated by Isabel’s post when she wrote about sitting in a Paris café; she still carries that experience with her.

I wonder if Americans confuse frugal with cheap. “Frugal,” derived from the Latin adjective frugi, meaning “economical, useful, proper” is further derived from the dative of frux, meaning “fruit, profit, value.” Frugal does not imply that we must deprive ourselves; in fact, it seems to imply the opposite. On the other hand, cheap implies an absence of quality, as in “cheaply priced” or “cheaply made.”

I’ve enjoyed reading this week’s posts and want to thank everyone who contributed. I also enjoyed connecting with readers via email and want to thank all of you for your kind words about my My French Corner. I’m taking a few days off from writing to celebrate the long weekend, but look forward to returning next week.

Bon weekend!


  1. I really enjoyed this series. I think of being frugal as chic. That's what finally clicked with me. To stop buying all of the low quality junky items just to have quantity and to save up for quality when I do purchase something.

  2. You know, I was talking with my aunt yesterday about my desire to have less stuff but more experiences. Things come and go but I will always have my memories. I agree with you about frugal vs. cheap too. I strive to be frugal, choosing only those things which I need or will add something to my life.

    This has been a wonderful series.