I don’t make any excuses for being frugal. I am both by circumstance and by choice, and I’ve learned to some extent to curb my acquisitive side in order to feed my thrifty side. I like saving money more than I like buying stuff.
I’m sure my family is horrified by my thrifty ways. I shop at the Goodwill, discount stores, I’ll take free things, and I’ve been known to trash pick from time to time. I pick up pennies (and dimes and nickels and quarters) I find on the ground, and I check the change slot on vending machines. I save my change, stray dollar bills go into my secret fund, and I take pop cans to the recycling place every so often. Here in Iowa, there’s a five-cent deposit on cans and bottles and I’d rather get that money back, and have some added to it with anything I might pick up along the way, than throw money away. All that squirreling away helped pay for a vacation two years ago, my car, a doctor’s visit or two (I have no insurance so just an office call is spendy), gifts, and on and on. Little things add up.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about following The Compact to see how hard or easy a prospect it might be to pledge not to buy new for a year–with a few exceptions, of course–because it would both be an interesting experience and because I suspect I follow it fairly closely anyway. I didn’t buy much new last year–some clothes I was in pretty desperate need of, gifts, shoes, that kind of thing. And yarn. Oh dear. There was yarn.
I’m still in the thinking stages on this, but I’m leaning toward giving it a go, and have mentally prepared a list of the things that would be exceptions. Food and medications, of course, along with home and personal care items, whatever the cat needs, socks and underwear, and shoes. I just can’t bring myself to buy used shoes. I’ve tried it and it creeps me out and really, there’s no amount of Lysol spray that can de-cootify used shoes. Clothes, bedding and the like can be washed before use and it’s good as new, so that’s not a problem. All of my current bedding came from the Sally Ann or was given to me and I sleep just fine.
Should gifts be exempt too? I’m not opposed to giving something used if it’s an item the recipient would appreciate and use, but I am opposed to giving some craptastic junk just because it’s cheap. Thoughts?
I’d be interested in hearing of your thrifty ways, if you have them, so please respond with your experiences. Until then, I’m off to pinch some pennies.