I've been searching for a refreshing subject this week, and I think I may have found one. What is the difference between a frugal person and a cheapskate? Are there times people are forced to move from the frugal front to the cheapskate front? What makes up a cheapskate?
All interesting questions to me after watching a number of 'Extreme Cheapskates' on yoo toob. Without the benefit of a dictionary definition I would define frugal as a chosen way of life that utilizes the resources a person has to the fullest degree. As an example, being conscious of using power and water. Both of these are resources that are at our finger tips to be used at will.
The cash flow into the home is the biggest resource we have. How much we get to keep in our pockets is up to us. We have choices in this area, as well. The choices we make need to be made with the other family members in mind.
I learned that lesson when my husband became agitated when he was refused any goodies in the grocery store. To say he was agitated is putting it mildly. Since I was the one who controlled the grocery money, it was my responsibility to change my methods. At the time we were on a limited income so whatever I came up with had to be frugal. I added five dollars to the grocery budget for him to choose any goodie he wanted each week. I took the five dollars from my allowance money. It was worth it to see him satisfied.
Some frugal hacks that have become a normal for me:
Washing the clothes with a wash ball. I am in love with the fresh smell the clothes hold when they come out of the wash.
Using dryer balls in the dryer.
Hanging the wash either outside or in the bathroom, depending on the weather.
Using solar lights in the evening to save on the power bill.
Cooling the house (in summer) at night so the air conditioner doesn't run during the day.
Cooking from scratch in large batches and freezing foods for future meals.
Growing a garden.
Canning from the garden.
Dehydrating veggies that are bought on sale for winter soups and stews.
Making bread, but not eating a lot of it at one time.
I have a single serve coffee machine that I use reusable pods in. I fill a pod and use a large coffee cup. I run the machine on the normal setting, then run it on the lowest setting to fill the cup to the top. Being single, this routine works well with no waste. However, I would not insist anyone else do this when they visit.
Boxed prepared foods are something I rarely purchase - even on sale. I try to take care of my health by using fresh foods or making foods with fresh ingredients. Since I'm older, I do have a couple of health issues, so I do everything I can to stay healthy. This saves big dollars on health care. My biggest fear is that my children would have to take care of a body that's worn out in the years to come. There are a couple of prepared foods I use such as cake mix. But not the frosting on a cake. Although, I have been known to buy a can of frosting to eat from a spoon as dessert.
I have recently begun to use rinse water from the dishes to water the house plants. Just to reduce waste.
I use coupons on health and beauty items or fresh foods. The fresh food coupons are far and few.
I utilize the dollar store, the real dollar stores.
It's now time to talk about cheapskates. A cheapskate will save a penny in any way they can, not taking into account the other family members. They want it their way - the end. Family members have been known to be traumatized by their actions in public and at home. They grab water from public parks in bottles and cover the faucets at home so no one can use the house water so the bill is low. Or insist that all clothing comes from charity shops, just to save money. Not because the clothing funds are short, just for the hunt of a bargain. I have no problem with a single person buying clothes like this, the problem begins when a teen is forced to live like this - all of the time. There are plenty of bargains in the stores at the end of a season.
Pretty much the actions of a cheapskate are self centered and uncaring of family members. That sums it up in a sentence.
There may be times of hardship when some cheapskate measures must be upheld. However, when the crisis is over going back to the frugal norm for a family is an appropriate move.
Being a good steward of our resources is important today more than ever, but so is being a good steward of the people in our lives.
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