Are you ever embarrassed by your cheapness? Are you shy about telling what you serve for dinner or pack in your kids lunches? Do you ever turn down invitations to the mall or out to lunch/dinner because you haven't budgeted the expense? Do you avoid visiting friends or family because you're limiting your gas consumption? Do you ever look in your closet and think, "man, I really need more than two pairs of jeans" but then find it difficult to rationalize buying more until the others are worn out?
My answers: yes, yes yes, yes and yes. Perhaps this surprises you, a girl with a blog all about being cheap and now she's feeling bashful? Again, yes, sometimes it is hard being so frugal, even for me.
Sometimes I really wish I could go out to eat every night, drop a few hundred on new clothes, and drive off into the sunset to wherever the road may lead. Sometimes I wish I could throw out a head of lettuce, socks with holes, plastic grocery sacks, or a mostly gone tube of toothpaste without feeling guilty. Without feeling like I was throwing away money better spent on something else. Sometimes.
It doesn't happen often. Maybe when I'm feeling overwhelmed, or frustrated I'll feel like this. Occasionally upon meeting new people I'll notice it too. Perhaps they've got beautiful clothes or an immaculate house or shiny new cars or whatever it is, they seem effortless.
Being cheap is not effortless. Saving money is work. My determination to stretch a buck, my frugalness (that's not a word but you know what I mean), my frugalness allows me to live a higher standard of living than my pocketbook says I can afford.
By being a good steward of the money I do receive I am able to provide three healthy, well balanced, though sometimes humble, meals a day to my family and yes, deserts too. By carefully budgetting I am able to go out on several nice dates each month with my hardworking hubby. By watching my gas consumption and every other kind of consumption in the household I am able to live in a good house in a nice neighborhood with great playmates for my kids.
When I live by the age old mantra "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" I am happy, I don't have to worry whether or not I'll be able to pay bills at the end of the month. I have enough to buy the clothes and shoes my growing kids need. I have something left over in case of emergencies like a car breaking down or a window being broken or a family member needing medical attention. I have no debt, ok, a student loan and a mortgage, but no consumer debt. No credit cards, no hospital bills, no car payments.
There is no way I could live the life I live without being cheap. If I wasn't so frugal there would be no gas money for waterskiing all summer, nothing left over for my painting, redecorating and gardening adventures, no motorcycles, no new books, no movie rentals, no fun!
Sometimes I am embarrased by what I do have, what being cheap provides me. I have so much, I feel so blessed. I am so proud of myself!