Thursday, April 8, 2010

I am a cheapskate, and other self-discovery

I'm a thrifty type. I love to spend a couple of hours finding bargains and then come home and gloat over my $12 worth of treasures. Sometimes I Google and find out what the thingamajig would've cost if I had bought it at the "real" store. Even at the "real" store, I can't handle paying full price for anything. I mean, like clothes and whatnot. I need to buy clearance stuff and even then, it needs to be dirt-cheap. 

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' 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. 


  1. Jess...this is hilarious because I'm super cheap too! Jason often jokes I'll end up making six figures living like I'm half-way homeless. ha! Oh well. What do 150.00 pants do for me that the 5.99 ones at Goodwill can't?? I don't get it. I do, however, buy mostly new for Joseph..with a few prize finds here and there to try and sway him the resale shop way. ;)~ I think it's a decision we make in our life - we either dig it or we don't. Give me a shovel.

  2. I'm with you! One of my life goals is to not feel guilty about using Ziploc bags. Don't let them sit in the drawer forever unused! Don't re-wash them then have little plastic bags drying all over your sink!

  3. I'm cheap too. I have just been in survival mode...well my whole life. EXCEPT ON HAIR PRODUCTS! DON'T ASK ME TO SKIMP ON THOSE!

  4. A prudent wife is a gift from the Lord
    -somewhere in proverbs

    That is what I tell myself when I think I am too cheap-G


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