a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Being "Cheap" is Priceless!

Those who live "high on the hog" often view with disdain those who are careful with their money. 

Ironically, and often, these same big spenders are the ones "low in the wallet."

We are in the season of being assailed from all sides to engage in spending frenzies.
Advertising 's purpose is to have us believe that the amount of stuff we give to others and the amount of money we spend on said stuff equates directly to how much we love others.

Pure hog wash!

I happened on an archived post yesterday from Trent of The Simple Dollar blog---- a "cents-able" source of (most often) simple ways to make the most of your money. It is timely and I am sharing parts of it.You may want to read the full post:  http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/02/07/accused-of-being-a-cheapskate/

      "A few days ago, I was giving a phone interview about The Simple Dollar and general frugality and personal finance topics when the interviewer threw me a bit of a curve ball. ...asking if he can be honest with me. He then tells me that from his perspective, the things that I do are cheap. He would view me as a cheapskate and he wouldn’t think of me as a fun person to hang out with.

      "I was caught off guard by this, because most interviews that I do are with people who are either genuinely interested in frugality and money management in a positive way, or are at least feigning positive interest.

      "First, people assume that since I write about frugality, I must be a complete cheapskate. Most of you who have read this site for a long time know that I struggle with balancing my desire to minimize my spending with my desire to, well, spend. Quite often, I come down on the side of spending more – we don’t eat as inexpensively as we could, I still hold on to some expensive hobbies (like video games), and I’m also quite willing to invest in expensive equipment in my home – like appliances and the like.
       "Another interesting conclusion I came to from this conversation was the immediate assumption that making frugal choices is a negative. The implication seems to be that I must have some sort of social stigma because I actively seek to spend less money. I must not be any fun to be around because I don’t spend money with reckless abandon, right?

      "If you believe that, you’re being sold an advertising myth. We’ve all grown up in a society in which advertising has constantly told us that spending money and buying products will bring us happiness and beauty and social success and career success.

      "Here’s the amazing part: if you truly believe this mythology, then you likely believe the reverse: not spending money and buying products will bring you sadness and ugliness and social failure and career failure.

      "Think about that statement for a moment. To me, it’s a conclusion that seems simultaneously like a reasonable conclusion and the most outrageous thing I’ve ever read. I can see clearly where the logic comes from, yet when you consider what the statement is actually saying, it sickens me to my stomach.

      "Yet, reflecting on my earlier life, I can honestly say that to some degree, I used to believe it. I had been trained over the years to look upon spending as a positive – and thus upon not spending as a negative. Looking at it so nakedly, though, makes it seem ugly and empty. Just as ugly and empty as any other broad negative generalization.

      "Part of the reason I write The Simple Dollar – and I’m so open with big parts of my life on it – is that I want to show to as many people as possible that such negative generalizations are completely false. 

      "Frugality is not boring. It’s not cheap. It’s not lonely. It’s not a sign of failure.

      "It simply means that I’m interested in working a little harder to find better solutions in my life, solutions that cause me to spend a lot less of the money that I earn. It doesn’t mean I spend all of my time living miserly without any fun at all – in fact, I look at it as a way of living that brings me substantially more fun. I don’t worry about bills. I have career freedom. I don’t sweat whether I can afford something I actually need.

      "In the end, I’ve come to feel that being called a “cheapskate” in a derisive fashion doesn’t really matter at all. It’s just another word people use to feel better about themselves by demeaning someone else. It may be ugly and empty, but in the end, the only person truly hurt by it is the person who is locked into the negative mindset."

Over 100 comments followed this post. I am including two of them. 

#4 Jeff    Frugality is not about being a cheapskate or being boring or a thousand other negative arrows shot our way. It is about freedom- freedom that brings peace of mind, nights filled with restful sleep instead of worry, and, as you said, career freedom. Those who denigrate being frugal are the ones losing out. I suspect this recession has affected “cheapskates” somewhat less than spendthrifts.

#12 Kat 
Reminds me of a story I read recently on the Early Retirment Forums. I’m not sure I could find it again, so I’ll paraphrase.
The poster said he knew full well that at work he was widely regarded as the “cheap ______” but just let it slide as he and his wife were saving to retire early (early 50s as I recall). One day the big kahuna called everyone into a meeting to outline the big next project, give assignments, etc. etc. The poster listened to all this and decided the time had come. He puts his hand up and says to the boss, “Before you give me my assignment, I just wanted to let you know that I’m retiring in 2 weeks.” Jaws dropped to the floor. He pulled the resignation letter from his pocket, signed and dated it, gave it to the boss. As he walked out the door, he turned to his co-workers and said, “You all confused cheap with frugal”.

We, "davengail",  believe having our priorities in proper order is the key to peace and happiness. We have been called cheap to our face more than once and wouldn't even hazard a guess as to many times behind our backs. We have no problem with that. We made the choice 49 years ago to live simply. And, those 49 years have been simply wonderful --- tough times and all!

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