Are you Frugal like me? by Bill Storie
I don’t recall ever using the word frugal much in my earlier years. Mind you I don’t recall my earlier years much either to be honest. However, these days, in retirement, I seem to use the word frugal two, sometimes three times a day.
I find myself saying that “I’m retired now and I’m very frugal” a lot. The fact that no-one cares whether I am frugal or not is neither here nor there. Most sales people just want to know if I’m buying or not. I admit it gets ridiculous when I haggle over a small coffee or a medium one. A large coffee is way outside my budget. Even if someone else is paying I still tend to stick with the medium coffee. This frugality really becomes an obsession.
I don’t see the point in paying extravagant prices for the simple things in life. I look at newspaper articles where they always want to tell me what the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing and how much it costs. Surely the point of the story is that she attended and opened the fair or whatever and not that her dress was a Mackintosh (must have been raining I guess) and cost $825 in the high street store. Or that some lady is seen with a handbag costing thousands. I’m not impressed ladies, I’m sorry.
They do say that if you have it you should flaunt it. Maybe so, but not my style. Truth I when it comes to clothes or accessories I’ve never had stuff that I would ever want to flaunt.
Although I admit that one day many years ago I was in Sante Fe, New Mexico and friends drove me over to Taos. On the way there we stopped at an Indian trading post and they had this gorgeous leather jacket – a cowboy thing as I recall. I tried it on and loved it. The fact I couldn’t wear it in this hot climate escaped me, but I did want it. I asked the price in that nonchalant style of the super-rich, ready to say, “Oh that’s not expensive at all. I thought it would be more.” That was me trying to show off. When the Indian squaw in the shop (I think that’s the right word) said $1,200 I smiled and ran like hell out of the shop. This was 1979 I think and my monthly salary was slightly more than that, but only just. No jacket.
The next day I was in a square in downtown Sante Fe and saw this cowboy boot shop. There was a magnificent pair of boots in the window. I sauntered in and looked like I knew what knew all about cowboy boots. I asked the price and believe it or not they too were $1,200. I had this feeling that everything in the State of New Mexico was $1,200. I declined gracefully.
Ever since then I have rarely if ever seen the need to buy uber-expensive everyday things such as shoes and jackets. And these days I don’t go anywhere that a quality jacket would be needed to impress people. I saw Rod Stewart get his knighthood at Buckingham Palace a few days ago and he wore tartan (plaid if you like) trousers. They looked horrible and I reckon they would have cost a lot of money. The moral being that lots of good money doesn’t always buy lots of good taste.
So I firmly believe that my frugal lifestyle suits me perfectly. If I don’t want to spend the money, but I do need the thing, then I shop around to get it cheaper. After all I have the time to meander or go online and surf the night away. Savings a few dollars is really a great achievement in my mind these days.
The best part of it though is that no-one scolds me for being frugal. They see my age and accept that I’m an old “geezer” so they leave it alone. They know that their granddad does exactly the same thing. But more to the point, on the one hand they don’t care while on the other hand I care even less.
You will note that I’ve deliberately avoided using the word “cheap” instead of “frugal. I got stung once many years ago when I bought a budgerigar (a budgie if you must) which went cheep. Get it?
So cheap isn’t a word I use at all. I’m just an old “frugalskate”.
Saving a penny here and a penny there soon adds up to two pennies in the pocket. Don’t ya just love this retirement living. You can get away with this nonsense so easily.
See you next week.
By Bill Storie