Surfing around one day, I stumbled across a discussion board on frugality. As I am always looking for ways to save money, I popped in to look around. With the economy as it is, who could use a couple of creative ways to save a buck?
I began scanning the discussions, even if I found only one or two tips, it certainly is time well spent.
Unfortunately, instead of finding helpful tips I found a bunch of people trading I can top that stories about their families' frugality.
The stories fell into two categories. The first type of story was more nostalgia then advice, usually with an amazed "Gee, I can't believe we did that "tone. This story usually finished with the storyteller admitting that they now understand and appreciate what their parents did for them.
The second category was more mean spirited. These storytellers were neither nostalgic nor sweet. In fact, this group resented every cost saving measure their families employed and refused to see that there was any benefit to saving money. Not one story in this later group showed any sign of appreciate for what their families had done for them.
After I read several stories that fell into the latter category, I made the painful realization that we have turned into an incredibly wasteful society.
At some point we stopped using every last bit of food and using an appliance or piece of clothing until it disintegrated. Instead, we are perfectly willing to throw away edible food simply because it is "leftover", and toss a serviceable pair of pants away because the cuff requires hemming.
It also appears that there is an entire generation of people who can't imagine making a tiny sacrifice like forgoing an overprice coffee in the morning, let alone anything more substantial.
In fact, this particular group had decided that their "depraved" childhoods gave them the right to be as wasteful and as consumption orientated as possible.
With a tone, bordering on revulsion several members discussed how their families would save soap slivers, to make a larger bar of soap.
This is a great little tip, one that I myself, employ. It is just plain foolish to throw away those little slivers.
Apparently, these people, based on their comments it appears they use a bar of soap once and then drop it in the trash. All to make up for the horror of having to use a giant soap sliver ball during their childhood.
The complaints were endless; families forcing their children to eat leftovers, families forcing their children to wear hand me down clothes on and on it went.
Oh, how did these people ever manage to survive these horrid conditions? Honestly, what family doesn't eat leftovers? Moreover, I can't imagine any large family that does not hand clothes down from one kid to the next.
I seriously could not believe what I was reading.
The list went on and on things that we should all be doing to stretch our money further, being pooh-poohed by a bunch of people who claim to want to live a more frugal lifestyle.
Well, how exactly are they being frugal? Well, according to one person their frugal step was to ride their bicycle down to Trader Joe's instead of taking their gas guzzling sport utility vehicle.
My, my how frugal is that? I imagine their next big cost saver will be to cut down from five Starbucks Venti Mocha Lattes a day to only one.
Sure, we all have something we can't live without, whether it is our morning coffee or a trip to the salon for a dye job. For the record, I can live without the salon dye job Feria does just fine by me. Still, if you really want to be frugal you have to be willing to make sacrifices.
I know some people are extremely brand loyal and no matter what the cost savings cannot imagine using brand X detergent. Although, maybe now they will consider switching to brand X, especially if they are serious about being frugal.
Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.
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