Being a Penny Pincher Even if You Don’t Have To by Bob Lowry
Voluntary simplicity, frugality, simple living, down-sizing….all have their genesis in trying to cut expenses. Less harm to the environment is another motivator, but the financial aspects are usually key.
Certainly, for many of us, spending less money, living within or below our means is necessary. A faltering, or failed pension from work, a job loss at the wrong time, unexpected medical, housing, or caregiving expenses can force our hand.
For others, money isn’t the overriding concern. Sure, we worry the money will run out before we do, and we can’t predict some future financial disaster. But, overall, we are in good shape. There is something else that motivates us to reduce.
Interestingly, being in the first or second camp doesn’t seem to be a solid predictor of our urge to cut expenses, pinch pennies, and find a less expensive way to accomplish a goal. Maybe it is a gene many of us carry. Maybe it is lesson we learned from a parent. Or, a rough patch in our past has left us with the desire to be more of the master of our own financial fate.
Whatever the reason, I find that posts that deal with frugality (or penny pinching, to use an older expression) usually prompt some good comments and interaction. Certainly, I always learn something new to consider as I review my budget.
There are those who view cutting expenses as sort of a challenge: how low can I go? You have heard of extreme couponers who can buy hundreds of dollars in food and supplies for just the loose change in their pocket. Besides savings lots of money, these folks probably get a thrill from using the system to beat the system.
A while ago I wrote about people who have cut their wardrobe down to a few dozen items of clothing. They haven’t seen the inside of a dry cleaning store in years. Their clothing budget is almost non-existent. Others have joined the tiny house movement, slashing housing and utility costs in the process.
I have written about replacing cable or satellite TV with a mixture of various streaming choices, over-the-air television, or Sling TV. Some remove the television completely, figuring their time is better spent in other ways.
One car instead of two, using the library instead of Amazon or Barnes and Nobles for your book fix, always cooking enough of one recipe for at least two meals, shopping for clothing or household needs when a store has a BOGO sale, realizing that Goodwill has some amazing bargains…the list is endless.
Being frugal or a penny pincher is different from being cheap. You don’t save small slivers of soap, reuse aluminum foil, or figure out a hundred uses for a rubber band. Maybe you buy a high quality product or item of clothing, but you know it will last much longer than a poorly made one and it makes you happy. The cheapest choice isn’t often the best one, but a frugal choice may be.
So, my question to you is, are you a penny pincher (either from necessity or by choice)? No one likes to waste money unnecessarily, but how many of us look for ways to shave a budgetary corner here or there, or feel a thrill when we figure out how to pay less for something then we once did?
What ideas and tips can you share with us?
By Bob Lowry