Frugal freak, nifty thrifty, or cheapskate

By Melissa Martin

Are you a saver or a spender? Do you budget before you buy? Are you a coupon queen or an impulse buyer? Do you desire to be frugal and thrifty? Do you want to learn to live with less?

My mother and her sister could stretch a dollar and make it holler. My maternal grandma could squeeze a dime out of a penny. I come from a long line of frugal females. Garage sales R US.

Tips for Frugality

Create a “Do I need this?” list and a “Do I want this?” list. Are you mesmerized by shiny objects and new items? If so, then calm your fine self and step away from the bargain. It’s not really a bargain if you don’t use it and it stays in a bag or box in the basement for months and years. Learn to say “NO” to things you don’t need.

Take the “Simplify” challenge and downsize stuff. Give away, sell, and throw away stuff that sets around and takes up space. And don’t replace stuff with more stuff.

Unplug and make it a goal to try family activities that are no cost or low cost. Spend time in nature: hiking, bird-watching, fishing, identifying types of trees and wildflowers. Leave technology at home and reintroduce your kids and grandkids to the great outdoors in Scioto County and Ohio. Attend local festivals but make a budget first with how much each family member can spend.

Reuse and repurpose things. Every few years I repaint the same flowerpots, watering cans, and birdhouses a different color. Shazam! How nifty and thrifty is that?

Consider a water-saving shower timer for that teenager who stays and stays and stays in the bathroom too long. Teach your kids to turn off the water faucet while brushing teeth. Be a practical parent, but not a nagging one. Praise your kids when they conserve water—guilt is not a positive motivator.

Plan for frugal holidays. Americans are well-known for shopping gorges during Christmas. Just stop it! Quit stressing your bank account and credit cards. Change your holiday spending habits. I’m not telling you to become a Scrooge but to be more mindful with money.

Manage your urge to splurge. The short-term adrenaline rush is not worth financial strain.

Avoid compulsive shopping and purchasing on the Internet. And learn to pass on a good deal if you cannot afford it.

Stop being envious and jealous of others with more stuff. Stop comparing your stuff to others’ stuff. Be proud of being thrifty.

Practice Daily Gratitude

“Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for instance, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants or thinks they need.”

What are you grateful for? Tell others. “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things,” penned Robert Brault.

Avoid Being a Cheapskate

A person with a cheapskate mentality obsesses over the exact amount when splitting the dinner check with friends. A cheapskate can be known for being stingy and annoying.

Be frugal and thrifty but not a cheapskate. Being frugal is about conserving resources and saving money. Frugal is not cheapskate.

Avoid Hoarding

Your closets, cabinets, and garage are chucked full of broken stuff and old stuff: old appliances, electronic gadgets, toys, plastic bags, egg cartoons, and things you can’t part with because someday you might need it. Get rid of junk. Simplify.

Turn down free stuff that you don’t need. Stay away from dumpster-diving and free stuff on curbs. Be aware of renting storage space for more stuff that you won’t use.

Being frugal does not mean that you hoard things you may never use.

A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist. –Franklin Jones

By Melissa Martin