I remember six years ago, walking into a grocery store to use coupons for the first time. I didn't just have one coupon, I had a handful of them so it was a big deal at the moment. Hands down, I think I was the youngest person in the store and for sure, the youngest person in there with a stack of coupons. I remember sweating. A lot. I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen but I can tell you that I was a nervous wreck and I didn't want anyone to see me.
I get mad at myself today for thinking that way. Now I will say, there is a great deal of confusion between what it means to be cheap and what it means to be frugal.
Frugal living is a lifestyle and if you remember my post about couponing only being one piece of the puzzle, you know that saving money is about much more than coupons. After I began this business, those 'cheap' looks were a little bit more obvious to me. I don't like people thinking I'm cheap. I'm not a fan of someone getting a gift from me then asking if I got a deal on it. That is one question that really bothers me because I know I am not a cheap person.
Frugal literally means "economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful."
I don't waste money. I do spend it, I just don't waste it. There's a difference.
A cheap person to me is someone who will do whatever it takes to get a good deal even if that means ripping someone off or smoozing with someone to get a free lunch. I'm not that person.
I make my own laundry detergent not because I can't afford 'real' laundry detergent but because it is more economical for our family and it is free of the chemicals that I don't want on our skin. I go to garage sales because they are just plain fun and I can find furniture to redo that I don't cry over if it doesn't come out right. I grow my own veggies so my children can understand where their food comes from and so I can again, stretch our money a little bit further than before.
Yeah, I'm frugal but I'm not cheap.
I believe we have a new generation of money savers rising up in this country and we are giving frugal a facelift. We are the new face of frugal living, a lifestyle that actually encourages our children to save money and rather than spend it. I also believe we are raising our children up knowing what it means to give back. As we save money and give groceries to those in need, we are showing our children that there is more to life than us and much more to life than just 'things.'
For those of you who back away from coupons or saving money because you feel 'cheap,' shake that off! Stand strong and refuse to leave a legacy of debt and wasteful spending to your children. I say we ROCK this frugal living thing and show our kids that they can enjoy life without worry and debt!
Here's one of the new faces of frugal. Yeah, I can live with that.