Jun 15 2009

Keeping up with the…cheapskates?

I saw an interesting article in the Washington Post this weekend about the trendiness of being a tightwad and how some folks are almost viewing it as a competitive sport.

Since many people are cutting back on their discretionary spending, they’re finding new ways to entertain themselves. People are staying in more and having game and movie nights instead of spending money. The consumer-driven culture is taking a turn as frugal living becomes acceptable and even idealized idolized.

People, en masse, are spending less on frivolous things. They’re making food from scratch (or at least eating at home more often). They’re socking away more money in the bank than in recent decades. This is great!

And friends and acquaintances are inspiring one another to live on less. Some are taking it a bit to the extreme and treat saving money as a competition.

Well ya know what? It shouldn’t be. If someone pays $40 a week to feed their family and their neighbor harvests bushels of vegetables from their own garden, who wins? They both do!

If one mom buys disposable diapers when they’re on supersale, has a coupon for them and also earns Extra Care Bucks, and another mom diapers her babies in second-hand cloth diapers, who is more frugal? They’re both frugal. They’re making a conscious effort to save money and do what’s best for their individual families.

The frugal community can do well to inspire one another and teach each other new ways to save money. That’s why most of us frugal/pf bloggers blog — we want to share what we know and learn from others. We figure if everyone can save a buck here and there, that’s more money that can be used to build savings, pay off debt, give and live a better life.

We have to be careful that we don’t turn frugal living into a race. That’s not what it’s about.

I think the lovely Meredith said it well in her post here as she poses the question: “Which is more important–what actually fills our shopping carts, or our common commitment to live within budget and belief?”

Have you seen a change in people’s money mentalities?



6 Responses to “Keeping up with the…cheapskates?”

  1. I think that a little healthy competition in this area is not such a bad thing. After all, as you point out – if both people are trying to become more and more frugal, they are both sitll doing the right thing.

    On the other hand, the competition of “keeping up with the Joneses” just took us down into debt and a horrible national savings rate.

    As with all things, there are limits – but I say – more power to them! (the people being frugal).

    Great post.

  2. It’s okay to be frugal, especially nowadays. The standard of living has changed now that we’re experiencing financial crisis. But I think what’s important is that we still go for the quality of the products we purchase, not just because it fits the budget.

  3. I like this title and this post. Let’s hope that the cheapskates become the new Joneses. It will take some time though to change habits. – This reminds me of a quote I read recently, “First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” Rob Gilbert

  4. I compete with guys at work for “Biggest cheapskate”. I’m winning because I’ve discovered the formula for spending only $10 a week on lunch.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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