Putting the Stereotypical Notion of a Tightwad on its Tush

Frugality Still Not “Acceptable”

by a.b.

Thank you to Automatic Finances for making this post an Editor’s Pick in this week’s Festival of Fruality. Check out the carnival for more great articles!

Apparently the first rule of frugal club, is you don’t talk about frugal club.

Like many others, I was hoping that this “Great Recession” we are in would level the playing field between frugalists and retailists. Since so many people were forced into Goodwill stores, Savers, and Deseret Industries, one would think that money saving techniques could become common ground. Not so, according to “Cheap Chick” Lesley Mitchell of the Salt Lake Tribune. A portion of her article for the Salt Lake Tribune, “Thrifty Shopping Comes into Vogue” states:

“…a number of shoppers, including the Lexus owner, said they don’t want their name in the newspaper because they don’t want ‘everyone to know’ that they are shopping in a thrift store. The prospect of being in a photo sends another shopper scrambling to the opposite part of the store.

For some, secondhand goods still have a stigma attached to them. Several teenagers shopping at the Deseret Industries store with their parents said they wouldn’t want anyone at school to know where they had bought their clothes and shoes.”

It’s sad to think that somewhere in the West Hills there’s a housewife hiding her generic peanut butter in the bottom of the grocery bag, and waiting until midnight to check The Simple Dollar for fear one of her friends might find out.

This is nothing new for me. When I was 13, my favorite dress was a double-breasted, navy blue, Anne Klein, that I bought at Tickled Pink, a thrift store at the end of the street, for eight dollars. And I bragged about it. My mother made me budget back to school shopping, and so I went to Woolworth’s (don’t say anything, I’m not that old) to get reams of binder paper for 39 cents each. My exhilaration at my good deals was so contagious that I did get some of my friends involved, but that was always in addition to their regular shopping, never as a substitute.

What’s sad is this reiterates many of the fears that pf bloggers have been expressing, that the newfound joy of frugality is a passing phase. In all honesty, there are some things I have cut back on that I would return to when the economy stabilizes or I’m employed again. I would buy heartier breads, Great Harvest is a luxury for us. I would encourage my husband to buy the newest Bookworm Adventures because I know he loves it. I would buy some more premade foods to have in the house for “I don’t feel like cooking” emergencies.

What I will not change is the joy I find in purchasing a quality product at a second hand store, garage sale, or on craigslist. I will also not stop sharing my “great find.” I am, however, preparing for a change from raised eyebrows and accolades, to one raised eyebrow with the, “Oh, that’s nice.” Kind of like the old days.

Photo Courtesy of David Jackmanson

2 Responses to Frugality Still Not “Acceptable”

  1. My hubby was out of work for 364 days one year – one day shy of a year.

    During that time we survived on severance, unemployment, and then our savings and the grace of our family and friends.

    During that time we rarely bought potato chips or candy or olives or things like that. Once he got a job again I found myself buying potato chips occasionally, or some convenience foods as you said.

    But I too have the joy of finding a good deal or finding something at the thrift store!

    I have one friend who doesn't like thrift stores. They make her uncomfortable and she would never buy clothes or shoes that someone had worn before.

    However, she'll buy clothes in a store that other people have tried on before her, lol!

  2. What I find amusing is the automatic assumption that if one is frugal, one must be poor.

    My husband and I are very careful with our money not because we have too little (although we have gone through tough times before) but because we enjoy the challenge of spending as little as we can in order to do as much as we can. We also enjoy the safety of having a healthy savings account so save a fair portion of all income.

    So, I only shop the sales for clothing and groceries and choose to use only budget cellphone plans etc. But, we are about to go on our third international holiday in 18 months. Peoples reaction is always
    "wow, we didn't think you could afford it". They don't realize that because we don't spend lavishly on every day things, we can afford to travel and do other things we enjoy.

    Tracy, South Africa

Leave a reply