So nickel had an interesting article, comparing the definitions of frugal and cheap. Unfortunately, the examples are rather lacking.
So let’s take it up a notch – instead of HotOrNot why not “frugal or not?”
Take for instance, store brands. We know Del Monte, Chiquita, Pepsi, Coke (once Ohio State’s savior, now a harsh reality check), Jif (the choice of choosy moms) and a number of other brands. Can you taste the difference?
Honestly, there are a few choices that I have “gone frugal” on, and never will again. One of them is Peanut Butter. I bought generic once – and never again. It still amazes me that the taste can be so different. Vegetables, however, I can’t tell the difference – as with canned fruit. If it’s not fresh from the farmer (I’m working on it!) – it all tastes the same. I buy cheap.
Another recognition that “image from purchase” problem – I was once told that low-income families would be envious of the family that fed their children formula. Breast feeding is better, and recommended. Why do they go the more expensive route?
For the appeal of being seen buying and using formula. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t better, but to be seen spending that extra cash makes you look “rich.”
The point is – we’re presented with options all the time. Name brand this vs. generic that. The “appeal” of being seen wearing (or buying) that name-brand item or hottest fashion, instead of the functional, or the old or the worn. C’mon – sometimes, it’s okay to splurge. Sometimes, that endorphin boost is worth the price tag for those new shoes, that new shirt, whatever. Moderation is key!
It’s important to recognize that you don’t need to give up everything in difficult times – but recognize where your money is going, and why you’re buying it.
Blueprint For Financial Prosperity has an excellent write up about his prior addictions – from soda to bottled water, and how it’s important to not get hooked on “the higher end items.”
This is one of those areas that my wife and I are often at odds about – she prefers bottled water, expensive meats, and Jif peanut butter, along with other items that are more expensive (but are they necessarily worth it?) I, for one, enjoy eating the leaner cuts of beef, and made the mistake of buying cheap peanut butter once. I can’t recall the brand, or where it was from, but it was the most disgusting peanut butter I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted military peanut butter, which isn’t half bad!) Water, on the other hand, I prefer to drink cheap. Until my last apartment…
Where we once lived, the tap water tasted like chlorinated pool water. We made spaghetti with it, and it tasted like chlorinated noodles. Brita water filters did nothing, so we took up to buying bottled water (.59 cents a gallon from Kroger’s). We drank a ton of water at the time (we were on Weight Watchers), so this caused a huge dent in our budget, up until we moved.
Thankfully, our current water off the tap (ran through Brita) tastes excellent – although my wife swears by country water, which makes me think of Homer Simpson – and in honor of bottled water “If it’s brown, drink it down, if it’s black, send it back!” – and in honor of Smashing Pumpkin’s new Album, Zeitgeist, here’s one of my favorite clips.
CSA is an attempt to eat and purchase locally grown food (veggies – and meat in some cases). I blogged about looking into this the other day, and behold, I find a friend asking questions and finding this answer! Local Harvest has an array of local options and price ranges – we’re going to look into options.
I’m going to have to further my research in this area.