With food, I try to buy the best price-per-oz, (thanks, Walmart) and I buy off-brand for most things. I have to buy real brands for the MOG's stuff, since he's a little bit of a diva, although Marshmallow Mateys have made it onto the list of acceptable substitutions.
So I'm thrifty. I'm frugal. Win.
Except... there is a line between frugal and cheap, and I'm afraid I've crossed it.
When it comes to clothes, I think I'm mostly okay. I mean, the used stuff I buy always looks new and that's just smart shopping. Until it comes to the point where one of us really needs something specific and I just.can't.stomach.it. And there I stand, agonizing over spending 10 bucks on a pair of kids jeans, or whatever. I stand there and waffle and process and worry and it's so ridiculous.
Or, when I realize that all of our pillows are flat and all of our comforters are bunchy and all of our towels are torn, and I don't do anything because... that stuff's expensive, y'all!
Or when I realize that I make soup all the time. Soup, stew, maybe a casserole here or there because I am spazzy about the price of meat.
Or when the second ice cream scoop purchased from the thrift store breaks, because it's probably circa 1996.
Or, to get really honest about the neurosis, folding Kleenex a million times or watering down the dish soap or reusing dryer sheets. Cheap.
I can feed a crowd for cheap, and I do, every week. I can dress my kids in really nice stuff for pennies. I can buy furniture that's sturdy and works, even if it's a little ugly. That's good. What's starting to freak me out is when I read about these Dickensian cheapskates with their chintzy hospitality and recognize my house. Yikes.
We've been living on a missionary budget for like, going on 8 years now, so some of this came from necessity. Not all of it, though. I want to figure out how to do it right, to make a soft and welcoming home for family and guests that's not "just getting by". First, I am going to have to talk myself out of some cheap ideas... my brain is kind of exploding with the concept.