I’ve been thinking about Frugal vs Cheap lately, and on that topic read a Quiz on Moolanomy. I guess I don’t have too much to worry about as I didn’t even pass as frugal on the quiz, perhaps it was the big tv purchase that threw me over, until then I had a 10 year plus TV.
So maybe the quiz is just a start. I’d suggest that part of drawing that line is to understand the impact your decisions are having on your life and those around you.
Years ago, I found myself at a dinner, a dozen people who had just all met and decided to head over to dinner together. The waitress comes by and one person asks for separate checks. Twelve of them. I though the waitress was going to cry. I spoke up and said I really didn’t care if I paid for an extra drink or two, that just splitting the bill evenly was fine by me. Well, I was out voted, and the waitress had to juggle 12 tabs for one table. I’d call the avoidance of a couple extra dollars cheap, and it made for a pretty frustrated waitress.
Buying the store brand of generic soap when my wife or daughter has a preference for a particular brand – cheap. So, instead, I follow the sales and stock up when the bargains present themselves. Fortunately, we have enough closet space to handle the inventory of soap, shampoo, toothpaste, TP, etc. The stocking up also helps avoid the emergency trips for an item that’s run out, wasting both time and money.
This past week, the local supermarket had my favorite soup (Progresso) on a sale that if you bought 15 can for $20, you’d get a $5 coupon good for your next supermarket trip. Jane (as in JaneTaxpayer, my wife) was heading in that direction and I asked her to pick up the soup since she was passing by anyway. Later that day, I asked for the $5 coupon, and she told me that two cans were dented and she left them with the cashier, so no coupon. That’s when I needed to ask myself if it would be worth criticizing Jane, or, as I decided to do, let it go, as no good would come of it. That’s the risk I take by asking someone else to do me a favor, and even without the coupon rebate, the sale was ok. The sale was frugal, making Jane feel she let me down would be plain stupid.
Just my thought this week.