Something that people who follow YMoYL note from time to time is that if you don’t spend much, you don’t need to make as much to become financially independent. You can choose to do jobs that don’t pay as well, to follow your muse, save the world, that sort of thing.
One thing that is noted is that you can make a big sacrifice by choosing a career that helps people and makes you feel warm and fuzzy rather than one that rakes in the big bucks… teaching in an inner-city school instead of in a highly paid suburban district, for example.
Should you settle for a smaller salary just because you can? That depends on what your trade-offs are. If you’re really into something that a lot of other people are into and doesn’t pay well… like art, then yes, settling for feeding your muse may be worth it. (Though note: Scalzi doesn’t think a person should get paid less than 20cents/word for freelance, but he’s also not beneath taking technical writing assignments!). If a smaller salary means you get something tangible like a more flexible schedule or the ability to work fewer hours per week, sure.
However, if living frugally means you’re allowing yourself to be exploited… no, we don’t think that’s a good idea. Obviously, you do have agency, and you are allowed to make that decision to be exploited if you’re conflict-averse, if you don’t mind the negative spillovers being a doormat has on other people who don’t want to be doormats and so on (we’re ambivalent about choice feminism here at Grumpy Rumblings)… But we’d like to remind you that money buys goods and services. Living frugally means that you can use your extra money that you deserve by being a productive person to help make the world a better place. You don’t just have to spend it on yourself. There are better ways to make sacrifices than by accepting a lower salary just because you can.