I have been around frugal people all my life, with many in my immediate family. I have also sought out and read books and articles about frugality, savings, and all kinds of info about saving money and spending less. Especially in the last couple years since I have decided to work specifically toward financial independence.
I noticed pretty quickly that most of these super-savers had a lot of things in common when it came to attitudes about money, behaviors, and techniques. I'll most likely do a post later talking about all the specific attitudes and behaviors of the frugal person, but there is one trait in particular that stands out that they all share. And in my opinion it is the most important:
They all have a complete lack of shame.
Whether it's John Hoffman dumpster diving for most of his earthly possessions, the "America's Cheapest Family" using walkie-talkies at the grocery store, or an extreme couponer rolling up to the register with 100 coupons, they all care very little what other people think about what they are doing.
You can call it self-confidence or whatever else you want, but this is the most important trait you need to be successfully frugal. You simply cannot worry about what other people think about your endeavors or you will be in a constant struggle and will bypass a lot of amazing money-saving opportunities just because you are embarrassed.
You have decide why you are trying to save money, and determine right at the start whether that goal is more important than your 'keeping up with the Joneses' image or not wanting to appear 'cheap'. If not, you will never be as successful at saving money as you need to be to reach financial independence.
Personally, I think don't care what a bunch of mindless, consumer-zombie wage slaves think about my life. What about you?
The Money Monk