I am cheap, thrifty, and frugal – and proud of each of them. I honestly enjoy and appreciate the way I live and the way I ration our funds and spending. Reading, Frugal for Life’s post, Frugality isn’t Voluntary Poverty, my frugal passions rose up and got a little defensive.
I’m often treated, by family members, as being poor, miserly or stingy. We’ll be invited to do something and after all the polite excuses are ignored, we’ll simply state that we don’t want to spend the money on it. Then we’re cheap (in my mom’s eyes) or broke (to the partner’s mom). I don’t want to be viewed either way and it bothers me more to have the “oh, they are always broke” sympathy when the reality is that we have money but don’t want to waste it.
The partner also views frugality as voluntary poverty and will often cringe at my statements and preferences. For example, after covering gifts with our fancy wrapping paper, I declared that I didn’t want to buy wrapping paper ever again. I insisted that our recycling bin is full of possibility and I’m certainly artistic enough to make it look just as good. “Wrapping paper is cheap,” he countered. It isn’t just about the price – I don’t want to be buying items that serve a purpose for just the moments before being ripped to shreds and discarded.
When it comes to grocery shopping, I’ll often construct menu plans that will make use of leftovers in a progression of dishes. I’ll also alter my listif something is priced exceptionally high or isn’t on sale. He thinks this is pointless, “we need to eat so buy food.” Again, it isn’t only about the price but also about living intentionally and making use of everything we buy.
I’m tired of the disposable society and want to be reusing where appropriate and make sure the things we buy are worth the hours spent at work to afford it. The idea of use and reuse and making things from nothing makes me happy and isn’t a scroogish plot to amass piles and piles of money. No, I want to know that I’m living as lightly on the earth as I can and saving money is just a logical byproduct of those efforts.