Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cheap or Smart?

Have you ever noticed what a negative stereotype there is on being frugal?

If you order water at a restaurant, you're cheap.

If you buy clothes at yardsales or thrift shops, you're a tightwad.

If you don't keep up with the fashion trends and spend like there is no tomorrow, you're miserly, a penny pincher, a skinflint.


Why is that? Why is it if you're a smart shopper, it's a bad thing? Now, admittedly frugal is the new "Cool" among some groups because of the bad economy, but there are certain lines people draw in the sand- ordering water and buying secondhand clothes being a biggy that I've noticed.

Tim cringes to order water in a restaurant because he feels "cheap". This is because people have made him feel that way in the past, whether it be the cashier, waitress, people he was with- whatever.

Coupons are fine. Growing your own garden and eating out a little less- not a problem. Anything beyond that and you cross back in to "super cheap".

Our culture is so fixated on stuff. Bigger stuff, better stuff, MORE stuff. BUY BUY BUY. We've done it with every holiday. Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween- you have to buy things. Candy, cards, gifts.

Every commercial on tv- NEW AND IMPROVED items. Kids, ask your parents to buy you THIS. You need Fruit Loops, not Froot Circles cereal. Buy Sketchers! Cool= Expensive.

Think about New Balance shoes. Those things were awesome. $20, they looked a bit like the Nike and Adidas shoes- now they are $50!

So,all of us cheapskate, skinflint, cheapo tightwads stand up and say NO, I will not be manipulated! I will not let a movie, a commercial or the opinion of someone I barely know force me in to debt and make me spend to be cool. I will not sacrifice my child's college education, my retirement, a house, so that I can eat more expensive meals twice a month and wear designer clothes that will be out of style in a week.

I say we aren't cheap. We're SMART. We can see beyond the RIGHT NOW, RIGHT NOW glitter of our culture. Most of us have goals and we're willing to go against the grain to realize them.